Another Crab’s Treasure Review

I’ve always had a soft spot for indie games, including the weird and wacky versions of the genre. It’s an incredible pleasure to watch passionate developers bring their ideas to life, especially when players can enjoy games like Another Crab’s Treasure, the most colourful Souls-like I’ve ever experienced. Playing as a young crustacean low on cash, the world’s politics have decided that even sea creatures should pay their taxes, and Kril, our lovable protagonist, loses his beloved shell. A mission to retrieve it leads to undiscovered communities, terrifying zombie crabs and all manners of evil looking to make fish food out of our hero.

Stop, it’s not yammer time…

 

A Watery Grave

What’s the first word we all think of when we hear the term ‘Souls-like’? Difficulty. Countless attempts to defeat that one boss that we’ve been stuck on for days and spamming the dodge-roll button are staple examples of all video games in the genre. Thanks to the genius minds behind FromSoftware, developers worldwide have been inspired to craft gorgeous worlds with tight, gritty combat that might give the most veteran Souls-like players sweaty palms. Now, as this is true for most games in the genre, Another Crab’s Treasure differs by actually offering accessibility options to make the game that little bit easier for everybody. From reducing damage, slowing down the game and even giving Kril a fully-loaded pistol that kills everything in one shot, the Aggro Crab developers clearly understand that being stuck in a challenging area for an eternity is not the most fun gaming experience.

Bonfire lit…?

 

Something Fishy Going On

As somebody who plays Souls-likes daily and obviously for review purposes, I decided to play the game normally. The ocean setting is a vast, dangerous place, and Krill has only ever been used to the surface, floating on his little island of safety. At first, Kril runs around stark naked, desperately seeking his shell before finding a suspicious-looking crab facing a rock. Kril’s kindhearted nature gets the better of him, and the crab, infected by the Gunk, charges him, leading to a chase scene where we find our permanent weapon: the rusty fork.

Kril’s brand new (and only) weapon makes crab meat out of any foe he faces, especially in the later stages of the game. At first, Kril uses simple swipes and stabs, but after meeting a special NPC, he unlocks a skill tree that can be implemented to further enhance combat. For instance, Kril might be able to drop from up high to plunge his weapon into unsuspecting enemies or make fish fingers out of the opposition by turning the fork into a hammer that flattens anything that moves.

This isn’t Bikini Bottom…

 

Please, Wear a Helmet

Forget the days of swords and shields that used to exist on the surface, as when we venture under the sea, our hero decides to don a familiar type of protection: shells. Kril is a hermit crab and would love nothing more than to tuck himself back into his old shell that was stolen from him, but in the meantime, he will have to take cover inside of plastic cans, rubber ducks, shot glasses and even doll heads. These makeshift shells have their own health pool and can be broken, the rate of which depends on the type of shell. Certain rare shells have massive health pools, giving an overpowered opportunity to tank damage that trivialises boss fights. For example, shot glasses may only take a hit or two before breaking, whereas plastic cans could take a considerable beating.

Shells also have their unique powers that can aid Kril in combat. For instance, plastic cans have a Fizzle ability that pushes enemies away and greatly increases their poise meter that, when depleted, allows Kril to jump in with a critical attack. However, some shell abilities do more harm than good, like the Drunken Claw, which provides increased damage but under the setbacks of lower movement speeds and a worse dodge roll.

It’s behind me, isn’t it?

 

Better Down Where It’s Wetter?

Another Crab’s Treasure takes place under the sea, meaning Kril must face a whole host of underwater critters to fend off. The open ocean is home to zombie-like killer crabs, armoured lobsters, manic eels and pesky prawns. Once defeated, these foes will leave behind bundles of microplastics, the in-game currency that allows Kril to purchase new shells and stowaways, the latter granting passive effects to Kril, including the ability to negate damage from pitfalls or increase microplastic earnings from defeated foes. At first, Kril can only hold a certain number of stowaways, but when travelling to the city of New Carcinia, the various shops in this bustling crab-opolis might offer just the upgrade for players looking to maximise their loadouts.

That’s more like it…

 

Final Thoughts

What makes Another Crab’s Treasure such an enjoyable experience is the passion that the developers injected into the project. It has all the mechanics of a Souls-like, minus the depressing world design and unfair PVP fights. Instead, it revolutionises the genre by adding plenty of flair and charm. Only a fair few boss fights stand out in this love letter to FromSoftware, but alas, the lesser entertaining variants do not detract from an otherwise mostly enjoyable indie video game.

Developer: Aggro Crab

Publisher: Aggro Crab

Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, PS5, Windows PC, Nintendo Switch

Release Date: 25th April 2024

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