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GAME ON | OPINION: Another crab treasure starts crab looking for shell | The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

In an age where AAA video game developers have released poorly received, microtransaction-filled games that abuse customers’ time and trust (Do we really need a new Modern Warfare game every year? Should we be bombarded with addictive, predatory loot boxes and subscriptions to games we already paid $60 or more for?), it’s great that indie developers and publishers have made an effort to release high-quality original works.

Enter the lighthearted, beautifully executed Another Crab’s Treasure.

Another Crab’s Treasure, created by Aggro Crab, is an action-adventure game in the Souls-like genre, starring Kril the hermit crab, whose precious shell is abruptly repossessed by a loan shark. And to begin a long, long chain of puns and hilarious satire: the loan shark isn’t really a shark, but one of those grabby toys with a shark head on the end. It screams Kril’s shield and now he must embark on an epic journey across the seabed, with a rusty fork in hand and all kinds of trash as a temporary grenade.

The Souls-like genre, with its roots in Demon’s Souls and the Dark Souls series, has inspired a number of games such as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Lords of the Fallen, Nioh and many more. And usually these games are set in a gritty, dark fantasy setting. Another Crab’s Treasure stands in stark contrast to this, with its vibrant colors and whimsical, imaginative aesthetic. It’s more like a “The Little Mermaid” setting (notably, that main character also had a habit of collecting trash from the surface).

Move over, microtransactions: in this underwater world the economy runs on microplastics. Defeated enemies drop microplastics, which are used as currency to level up or purchase items such as grenades and grappling hooks. Where can you spend your hard-earned plastic? In the shrimp shop of course. It is actually possible to skip the game the traditional way by grinding on microplastics. I don’t know how many hundreds of hours it would take, but if you earn a billion microplastics you can skip the game and buy the shell back from the loan shark.

There are 69 imaginative grenades to collect with dozens of grenade skills. Some of the options include a ‘red solo cup’, the ‘F’ key of a keyboard, a banana peel, an ink printer cartridge, a Lego and an empty spam can. Each grenade’s unique ability can be powerful against a particular boss or enemy, or simply be a player’s preferred method of combat. A matryoshka doll used as a shell can be thrown away and serves as bait, while a can of soda lets you shoot fizzy bubbles at enemies, opening up a ranged attack option. Some grenades (a term used quite loosely in this game) are great against certain enemies. One boss happens to be allergic to bananas, and forcing him to swallow the peel of the banana peel will immediately drop his health to a critical level.

Both allies and enemies are incredibly imaginative, such as a lobster wielding a pair of chopsticks as a samurai sword or a seemingly undead lobster wielding a bicycle lock as a crushing weapon.

And just as important to the combat, the game features a well-written story and an excellent voice-over script. It may take place underwater, but Another Crab’s Treasure is a breath of fresh air.

Fans of the Souls-like genre will no doubt be familiar with many of the mechanics, such as dodging or executing perfect parries, as well as solving various puzzles and jumping from platform to platform. A warning to veterans: Another Crab’s Treasure isn’t as difficult as the FromSoftware titles it’s inspired by and it has around 16 hours of gameplay.

However, the fairly forgiving nature of the combat makes Another Crab’s Treasure an excellent way for someone unfamiliar with the Souls-style games to dive into the genre, and while there are still dark undertones of rampant pollution and the dark side of predatory capitalism and outright theft The lighter version only earned it a Teen rating from the ESRB, making it more suitable for younger audiences.

After more than a decade as a reviewer, Jason Bennett has an unhealthy love for roguelike survival games and terrible puns. Questions or suggestions? Contact him at [email protected]

Another treasure of a crab

Platform: Xbox, PC, Nintendo Switch

Cost: $29.99

Rating: Teen due to blood, violence, language and crude humor

Score: 9 out of 10