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Another Crab’s Treasure review: finally, an approachable Soulslike

The crab holds an item in Another Crab's Treasure.
Another Crab's Treasure
MSRP $30.00
“Another Crab's Treasure utilizes its charming setting and assist mode options to become one of the most approachable Soulslikes ever.”
Pros
  • Sharp climate satire
  • Colorful aesthetic
  • Creative shell system
  • Great accessibility
Cons
  • Hit-and-miss humor
  • Unrefined combat
  • Hard to read enemy patterns

How much of an impact does a game’s aesthetic have on how it feels to play? That question was consistently at the forefront of my mind as I played Another Crab’s Treasure. Aggro Crab’s latest game is a Soulslike, a style of game known to be quite frustrating as players slowly learn how to overcome challenging combat encounters. It’s also colorful and funny, something that visually doesn’t feel too far off from SpongeBob SquarePants: The Cosmic Shake.

Typically, I bounce off Soulslikes hard if I hit a difficulty wall. But during the first tough boss fight of Another Crab’s Treasure, I felt more motivated than usual. It was against a corrupted crab named Duchess Magistra who had taken my shell. She was aggressive, spraying gunk that could drain protagonist Kril’s health and power attacks with the ball-and-chain she wielded. It was tough, but I stuck with it, learned her attack patterns, and overcame the fight.

Something about how Another Crab’s Treasure looks and feels made overcoming this challenge seem more possible, giving me the mental fortitude to finish a difficult boss fight. And if the visuals didn’t provide me implicit confidence, I still had plenty of assist options to lean back on. It’s not the most refined Soulslike, and its writing may be hit-and-miss depending on your sense of humor, but this is one of the most approachable stabs at the genre I have ever played.

This crab is feeling blue

Another Crab’s Treasure begins with Kril, a hermit crab living in a tide pool, getting his shell stolen by a loan shark (a literal one) who comes to collect his taxes. This kicks off Kril’s adventure to get his shell back, but things get increasingly out of hand; the queen is corrupted and killed by Kril, but his shell gets taken to a bustling underwater city. In order to get enough money to get his shell back, Kril then sets off on a treasure hunt that brings him up against the megacorporation that runs that town.

Another Crab's Treasure
Aggro Crab / Digital Trends / Aggro Crab

Aggro Crab uses this narrative backbone to tell a story about the current climate crisis, how corporations are content with watching the world burn if they’re making a profit, and how our anger toward those things should be applied in a way that helps our communities. As Earth’s real-world climate crisis worsens, I’m sure Another Crab’s Treasure’s themes will become even more relevant.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Another Crab’s Treasure is a colorful game with all the vibrancy you’d expect from an underwater adventure. While the undertone of trash was always present, I generally felt that the game’s more colorful palette made me feel more confident while playing than I typically do in the dark and dreary worlds of Dark Souls or Lies of P.

Another Crab’s Treasure lets people know that it’s OK to be angry at and see the dark humor in the climate crisis Earth faces.

If the aesthetics weren’t enough to put you at ease, Another Crab’s Treasure is also a comedy. The project garnered attention prelaunch because of its developer’s hilarious X account. And while Another Crab’s Treasure can get serious when it wants to, its characters still frequently crack jokes and are hilariously ignorant of how the ocean is being polluted.

A lot of its comedy is puns, like a boss being called an Intimidation Crab instead of an imitation crab or saying “coddamnit” instead of “goddamnit’. That kind of humor is funny the first couple of times, but by the end of the adventure, the hacky stand-up routine gets old. Still, I appreciate that Another Crab’s Treasure lets people know that it’s OK to be angry at and see the dark humor in the climate crisis Earth faces.

Go to shell

Just as Another Crab’s Treasure balances comedy and darkness, its gameplay finds a balance between high skill Soulslike gameplay and accessibility. If you’ve played a game by FromSoftware, you know the gist. Enemies are very strong, so learning to expertly block, dodge, run away, or parry is as essential to overcoming an encounter as attacking is. On that front, Another Crab’s Treasure only does little to shake up the genre mold. Those who have played a darker Soulslike will know the drill despite its unique setting and art style.

Kril with a coconut shell
Digital Trends / Aggro Crab

However, the more cartoonish and aquatic enemy designs make it a bit tougher to figure out the best time to roll out of the way or parry. Thankfully, this is a Soulslike that wants you to block. Its most unique gameplay feature is a shell system that’s used offensively and defensively. Because Kril’s shell is stolen, he has to use a variety of trash as temporary shells. Each can block a certain amount of damage and let Kril cast a shell-specific ability.

One of my favorite things about arriving in a new area was seeing what kind of shells I could find and what abilities they had. Particular favorites of mine include sushi rolls that heal Kril at the cost of their shell health and a boxing glove that let me slam down and deal a lot of damage to enemies. Typically, a wealth of shells are strewn about each area. Kril’s mobility is more like that of a 3D platformer than a Soulslike, which makes it easier to escape an encounter and find a shell if a situation gets tense. That’s yet another way this game feels more welcoming than its genre peers.

It felt possible to overcome any challenge the game threw at me if I played smart.

Over time, skill tree upgrades even let me regenerate shells and attach them to Kril’s weapon to create a hammer. On the spectrum of Soulslike difficulty, Another Crab’s Treasure is on the easier end. It sometimes get quite challenging, especially with bosses that can take out a ton of Kril’s health bar with a single blow. Still, it felt possible to overcome any challenge the game threw at me if I played smart, used the proper shells, and learned bosses’ moves and animation. There are also some fantastic assist options to fall back on.

Soulslikes can be approachable

The idea of a Soulslike having an “easy mode” or accessibility options has become a controversial subject because some purists think difficulty is an inherent need of this action game subgenre. I’ve never agreed with that sentiment, and I was happy to see that Aggro Crab didn’t either. At any time, players can go into an assist menu and toggle a variety of options to make Another Crab’s Treasure more approachable.

Are you having trouble nailing the dodge and parry windows? You can make them more forgiving by tweaking a setting. Does the health difference between a boss and Kril feel too disproportionate to you? Adjust that to your liking. Hilariously, you can even choose “Give Kril a gun,” which does exactly what it says. By including all of these options, it’s possible for anyone who plays Another Crab’s Treasure to see it through to the credits — and that’s an appreciated rarity for a Soulslike.

Kril has a gun
Digital Trends / Aggro Crab

I’m the kind of person who bounces off Soulslikes when they get too challenging. I’d rather just play something else than not enjoy an unforgiving game. But something about Another Crab’s Treasure kept me hooked even when I didn’t enjoy the humor or find its combat that unique or polished. I credit that to the charming aesthetic and the knowledge that I could turn on an assist mode option at any time, keeping me calm throughout the entire adventure.

If you play Soulslikes for their dark and dreary worlds, engrossing lore, and brutal combat that can be overcome by player skill alone, then Another Crab’s Treasure might not be for you. But if you’re looking for a “first Soulslike” and don’t want to put in the time commitment needed to master games like Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, or Elden Ring, Another Crab’s Treasure offers up a good time.

Another Crab’s Treasure was tested on PC.

Editors' Recommendations

Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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