I’m going to preface this review by saying that I began this game with absolutely zero knowledge about ‘The Snack World’ and its affiliated media. It wasn’t until I was researching just what the hell was going on with this wacky world that I discovered the (apparently) successful anime/manga series and toy line based on the first incarnation of this game, which launched on the Nintendo 3DS way back in 2017. With that in mind, let’s see how the ‘expanded port’ of this strange little dungeon crawler stacks up when it comes to the Switch.
If like me, you are a stranger to the Snack World universe, I’ll give you a brief overview. All of the typical fantasy tropes are there; swords, shields, magic, monsters, etc. However, there is also a splash of modern-day in the land of Tutti-Fruitti, with things like convenience stores, pop idols and mobile phone-like devices. Also, everything revolves around (mostly food-based) puns. Everything. That being said, although primarily aimed at a younger audience, the writing is surprisingly decent in parts, throwing out pop culture references and double entendre jokes to give older players a genuine chuckle.
Live out your food anime fantasy!
You start Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold by creating and customising a brand new character, who wakes up outside the city of Tutti-Fruitti with no memory of their past. You are swiftly introduced to the King and his lovely daughter (Princess Melonia) who tasks you with attending to her every whim. With monsters plaguing every corner of the land, you quickly realise that dark forces are mobilising and you have to stand against the nefarious deeds of Sultan Vinegar.
The core gameplay loop is essentially taking on and completing quests in various parts of the map to progress the story. Each bite-sized quest will have you exploring small regions filled with monsters, completing objectives and finding treasure. To defend yourself against the bad guys, you’ll need to equip ‘Jaras’, which are pretty much key rings that magically turn into weapons when needed. In true RPG fashion, you’ll gain experience, gear, gravies (money) and Jaras for your troubles, slowly turning into the hero you need to be. You’ll eventually unlock a randomly generating dungeon for the region, which of course houses a big bad boss fight.
Jealous of my feathered fedora and toe bean shield?
Since combat is fairly basic and quests can be repetitive, rarely lasting longer than 10 minutes, Snack World is the most fun to play in short bursts. You can wander around and engage the constantly respawning enemies at will within each quest, switching up your arsenal of Jaras as you go. Most quests are either; Kill X amount of enemies, collect these items or fight this slightly bigger enemy as a bounty. Each enemy type has a weakness to certain weapons (for example some take more damage from swords, others from bows, others from magic, and so on) and you can easily change to one of your six equipped Jaras on the fly to suit the situation. Each weapon has the classic light attack/strong attack/charged super attack setup, so it’s easy to pick up and play straight away.
After a while you’ll also unlock the ability to capture certain enemies and turn them into ‘Snacks’, powerful summons that take the place of your character in the fight, delivering devastating attacks or providing stat boosts to the party. To even the odds against the hordes of monsters in Snack World, you can also bring one of these guys along as a party member for each quest, who can provide healing, soak up damage as a tank or straight up beat the crap out of their former comrades.
Of course! A Gorgon’s natural weakness is an ice cream sword!
If all of this sounds simple, that’s because it is. However, there are some pretty interesting RPG mechanics at play, most of which aren’t explained all that well, unfortunately. For starters, although quests may advertise loot rewards for completion, there is no guarantee that you’ll actually get it when you finish. You earn rewards chests at the end of the quest for certain achievements (most damage in party, no one KO’d, etc.) and each chest has a chance at dropping the advertised reward. The better you perform, the more chance you have a good reward.
Alongside your equipped utility gear, which is your armour and accessories; you can also equip ‘style gear’, which can also increase your reward chance. The hot styles are rotated daily so it’s up to you to make sure that your armour, bling, and weapons all have the correct brand, colour, and style before heading out, otherwise you might not get the cool new sword you’re after. Maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention at the start of the game but it wasn’t until I dove deep into the tutorial section of my menus that I started to understand this quirky mechanic.
You can also create new gear and improve your old stuff but to do so you’ll need to buy recipe books at vendors and collect materials out in the world. To get better Jaras though, you’ll have to find idol cards out in the wild and trade them with the snarky robot at the weapons shop, or find duplicates of your current gear in order to boost them up. I think that when the game originally came out on the 3DS there was a line of toys that could be scanned in (like amiibo) to make this process a bit easier, but as far as I know, they are no longer supported.
Snack World can also be played with friends, you can team up with up to three other people (locally or online) to take on side quests together and trade Jaras. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to assess this aspect of the game, as I don’t have the Nintendo Online service, which is needed to access this content. Either that or a friend nearby.
Pictured: Me and all the friends I played this with
I don’t actually have many bad things to say about Snack World. Other than the fact that it’s a bit too repetitive and could do a better job at explaining its systems, it’s actually pretty well put together and quite fun. There is one thing that really bugged me though, as petty as it is. Every time you kill an enemy, they each have a really obnoxious death rattle, which I was never able to turn off. It’s obviously quite minor but once you hear a baddie say ‘GoOoOoOoD ByEeEeEe’ for the 100th time in ten minutes, it becomes an issue.
If it ain’t food puns, it’s innuendo
It took me a while to make up my mind about Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold. The most confusing part was that I didn’t really know what kind of audience it was made for. The short and repetitive quest system leans toward a casual pick up and play market, but the complicated rewards system, gear management and attention to writing would be more expected in an RPG that requires more dedication. Overall I enjoyed my time with it and would recommend you check it out if it sounds like your thing. Plus, you can never have enough food puns!
Reviewed on Switch // Review code supplied by publisher