Review: Another Crab’s Treasure is an accessible soulslike you’re sure to love

another crab's treasure

It’s funny how things work. When game publications started talking about accessibility within the soulslike genre, some of the people who are hardcore about those games went apeshit. “How dare you want to interfere with our games?” was among the paraphrases we heard back then, and I can only try to imagine what they would say about developer Aggro Crab’s Another Crab’s Treasure.

With unobtrusive gameplay that allows you to fully customize your level of challenge thanks to a menu full of tweaks, from player health to the general speed of the game and even more obvious “tells” for strong boss attacks, it’s a game that even those who are not into soulslike can enjoy wholeheartedly. That along with a great setting and a fantastically current storyline add this to 2024’s ever-growing “biggest surprises” list.

The premise to the game is deceptively simple: playing as Kril, a hermit crab who was more than happy to live off his days in a distant desertic stretch of the sea, you’re suddenly thrust into adventure when his favorite shell is taken away. That journey takes him to the furthest reaches of the ocean where he’ll meet a colorful cast of characters and learn that there’s more to life than he thought.

Another Crab’s Treasure brilliantly criticizes humanity’s sheer irresponsibility towards nature by having trash be one of the game’s central story beats. Sea creatures make do with the tons and tons of crap that we throw into the waters that are their homes, with it serving as their literal houses and even clothes. Microplastics too come into play as Kril continuously grows stronger by spending that as currency, much like souls do in From’s games.

another crab's treasure
Come at me bro!

What’s even better, the story doesn’t merely stop at making trash its main pillar: it evolves the theme into an end of the world narrative that does well in avoiding the ciclé of making our crustacean hero into the “chosen one”. He’s merely there as someone who just wants to get back to his old life but has no choice but to be another horse in the race to the ultimate, all-powerful treasure before what’s thought to be the main villain does.

The game is also a pretty decent platformer. While it doesn’t get nearly as involved as say, Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, there are stretches in Another Crab’s Treasure that can get really hairy, and those are usually the ones with the best rewards. Without spoiling the best one out of the bunch, safe to say it’s a hilarious homage to Miyazaki and co’s work in the genre.

Among the ridiculous amount of options at your disposal to make the game even more accessible is a freaking gun which Kril can use to kill just about any enemy in one hit. It acts as one of his numerous shells, and while it certainly breaks the game, it’s a hilarious way to spend your time trophy/achievement hunting. The host of other shells that the protagonist runs into all serve distinct purposes, as they all involve some sort of special skill, such as rolling like a ball, popping off as a distraction for enemies, or even an all-powerful ground pound, Mario 64 style!

Speaking of skills, Kril can learn a number of those by defeating bosses or simply exploring. Some act as tools to break open hidden paths, while others are there for show or come in handy during pinches. Among them are the talent trees that help specialize your character to match your playstyle. Luckily, if there’s something you like at each of the branches, by the time you are close to the end, you’ll have more than enough currency to spend on all.

another crab's treasure
A one, a two, and a three!

Visually, Another Crab’s Treasure can seem deceptively childish due to how saturated it is at first, but after a few hours playing, you’ll start running into areas which are just plain scary to navigate, providing a sense of ambiance that helps set the mood for the game’s story beats. There’s one in particular that extends for a little longer than I would’ve liked that really shows the sad reality of sea pollution, an industrial monstrosity that is intentionally a pain to navigate, which you’ll breathe happily once you’re finally through.

The game’s script is absolutely full of play on words and jokes that help balance the otherwise pessimistic mood all throughout Kril’s adventure. I couldn’t help but chuckle at some of them, something I wouldn’t expect to do in a soulslike of all things. The voice acting is also great, with plenty of performances that are delivered in a way that makes them sound like aural callbacks to genre staples like Demon’s and Dark Souls.

But perhaps the best part of the game’s sound is the music. It’s well done in a way that works into permeating the mood of Another Crab’s Treasure, making it even more effective. There aren’t any particular tunes that will stick in your mind and make you whistle them, but they work in reinforcing what the game does best, making you feel absolutely awful for being a human. 

There are parts of Another Crab’s Treasure that aren’t all that great, sadly. One is the technical end, which rears its ugly head when transitioning from areas, where the loads lock up the game for a few seconds every so often. Then there are the bugs, most notably the holes in environmental geometry that act as precipices. These are likely to be patched soon on PS5 (the system with which we reviewed this), but even so their existence isn’t enough to muddy the otherwise ingenious design of the game as a whole. This is Aggro Crab’s second game, and it shows their talent at tackling established genres and adding their own flavor to them, like they did with the irreverent Going Under and roguelikes.

another crab's treasure
Might not be Bikini Bottom, but it’s sure busy!

Another Crab’s Treasure is an amazing effort in making souslike more approachable to those who either hate the genre or simply have never tried it. I would go as far as saying that it paves the way for more games to attempt to make their difficulty more palatable with entirely optional tweaks to those not willing to deal with their hard nature without taking anything away from players who bask in the challenge otherwise. 

This is a condensed delivery of a soulslike with a story you’ll care to follow and see through, and there’s not a moment within its 15-hour run time where you won’t be thoroughly entertained. I was pleasantly surprised by Another Crab’s Treasure and how it subverted my expectations in one of my favorite releases so far this year and frankly, in quite a while. If you’ve ever wanted to get into soulslikes or are just curious about the game for any other reason, don’t miss out on giving this a go.

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