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Another Crab's Treasure Is This Year's Lies of P

A shell of a time.

Another Crab's Treasure
Aggro Crab Games

Another Crab’s Treasure is the quintessential underdog story, a game about a little guy thrust into a dangerous world where nearly everybody wants to erase him from existence. It’s also one of the most inventive takes on the Soulslike genre that I’ve ever seen: a tough-of-nails action game, a cartoony romp through a colorful world, and an insightful reflection on the dangers of pollution and climate change. Last year Lies of P proved that a unique story and aesthetic can make a Soulslike game flourish, and in every regard, Another Crab’s Treasure feels like the next step after that. It’s simply a must-play title that pushes the genre forward in imaginative new ways.

In Another Crab’s Treasure you play as Kril, a tiny hermit crab simply living his life in the shallow pool. That is until one fateful day, when one of those shark grabber toys steals your shell and runs away with it. With no home and nothing to his name, Kril sets out on an adventure to get his shell back, taking him through a SpongeBob-esque world where trash is seen as treasure.

The world of Another Crab’s Treasure is delightfully bright, filled with colorful characters and plenty of secrets.

Aggro Crab Games

The narrative themes of Another Crab’s Treasure are obvious, but the game surprisingly has a meaningful message about said themes, not just using them as a punchline. The environmental message shines through clear as day, but there are also some interesting story bits on corporatism and worker rights, all accentuated by a colorful cast of characters. What really makes the story shine, though, is consistently fantastic writing that’s never afraid to throw out an ocean pun or two.

That’s perhaps the biggest difference between Another Crab’s Treasure and your typical Soulslike, there’s a much greater emphasis on storytelling. While there are some fittingly cryptic elements, Another Crab’s Treasure doesn’t ask you to piece its narrative together, it wants to tell a specific story while using the gameplay trappings of the genre. But it’s also the general aesthetic and sheer amount of detail in the game that makes it feel so refreshing.

It cannot be overstated how much that SpongeBob aesthetic works in the game’s favor. Weird anthropomorphic fish bemoan their place in life or talk about how much they crave their favorite food, items from the human world sink down to the depths and look like hulking monoliths, and monstrous sea creatures can feel genuinely terrifying. The world of Another Crab’s Treasure is simply a joy to explore, uncovering little Easter Eggs and details around every corner. It’s not afraid to poke fun at every opportunity too, like an area named “The Sands Between,” that’s a clear spoof of Elden Ring’s Lands Between. Or an entire plotline that revolves around characters thinking a lost cereal box is pointing the way to a treasure.

Another Crab’s Treasure has a wealth of visually distinct areas. Yes, that even includes the notorious poison swamp you find in every Soulslike.

Aggro Crab Games

All of the story and aesthetic details are enough to warrant giving Another Crab’s Treasure a try, but it even has the gameplay chops to back everything up. Despite its appearance, this is a Souls game through and through, with crunchy combat that’s all about timing, dodging, and parrying. The key mechanic that differentiates it, though, is the shell system. Kril can pick up dozens of objects to wear as shells, which boosts his defense and also grants the use of a magic “Umami” spell. There are over a dozen different spells with wildly different effects. For example, a soda can lets you create bubbles that home in on enemies, while an ink cartridge lets you send out a huge cloud of ink that disorients enemies. The sheer variety packed into the shell system is astounding, letting you create a wide array of different approaches to combat.

The Umami system also adds a bit of classic collect-a- thon DNA to the game as well, with crystals scattered throughout the world that you can collect. These are used to upgrade Kril and provide new abilities, like giving him the ability to stab a shell with his fork and have a more powerful hammer weapon. The catch, of course, is every shell has durability and can break.

The further you get into Another Crab’s Treasure the more its combat opens up and starts to really shine, but there’s another crucial piece to it, the assist options menu that allows you to fine-tune difficulty. Soulslikes are notoriously difficult, and Another Crab’s Treasure fits that bill, but its developers were well aware that the game might attract first-timers to the genre.

Combat in Another Crab’s Treasure is crunchy and challenging, but the shell system gives it a unique identity.

Aggro Crab Games

The assist menu lets you tweak a variety of options, like lessening enemy health, giving you more shell durability, increasing your damage, etc. There are nearly a dozen options you can turn on and off at any time, all of which let you fine-tune the difficulty. For any experts in the genre, you can ignore the menu entirely, but it’s fantastic to see a Soulslike take such an active stance on being approachable. This is a game that anyone, of any skill level, can play, and that’s fantastic. At the same time, there’s absolutely no downside to enabling these options, no content or trophies that you’ll be locked out of.

The only caveat with Another Crab’s Treasure is it has some rough edges, which is understandable for a more indie take on the genre. Performance on PS5 can occasionally be a problem with freezes or framerate slowdowns, and the combat, at times, doesn’t feel as tight or responsive as other big hitters, like Dark Souls. Most of these are issues that can eventually be patched and fixed, and hardly matter in light of the core vision and experience that’s so strong.

What’s truly remarkable is how the developer, Aggro Crab Games, has managed to hit above its weight. The small team has created an expansive Soulslike with a captivating world, deep combat, genuine humor, and a heartfelt message. Another Crab’s Treasure is unlike any other Soulslike out there, it feels fresh, like a fish market first thing in the morning. It has elements of platformers, collectathons, and Soulslikes, but manages to deftly combine all of those into its core vision. The dreary melancholic worlds of FromSoftware are fantastic, but Another Crab’s Treasure proves that the Soulslike genre still has plenty of room to grow.

Another Crab’s Treasure launches on April 25 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

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