A good carpet can do a lot to spice up the aesthetics of a room. It can throw in a splash of colour, provide some a necessary flow to the lounge and maybe give the cat something to scratch on that isn’t your lovely new couch. The one thing a good carpet can’t do is cover a hole. The sort of hole you could fall into and disappear forever, never seen again by either friends or family.
Sure, it can cover the hole and from a passing glance you might even believe there isn’t a hole there at all. Yet the second you step onto said carpet, you’ll be falling, deceived by the pleasant colours and false surface tension. It’s a similar experience to playing Snack World: The Dungeon Crawl – Gold. It’s a game that takes a great deal of pride in its presentation but doesn’t go the extra mile to convince you that playing it is actually worth your time.
You know what Snack World is by just reading it’s name: A dungeon crawler and very little else. It’s a tried and tested formula of playing and replaying contained levels to gain experience points, level up and maybe find some cool items along the way. Snack World’s take on the formula is nothing original, but it is at least competent if not a little thin. Given the aesthetic of the game, I think it’s fairly easy to figure out that this is meant to be your child’s first dungeon crawler because while it has all the usual hooks and loops of a Diablo or Path of Exile it’s far more simple. As an introduction to the genre, it works very well.
Yet the best parts of a dungeon crawler are usually the more in-depth mechanics, the tinkering and experimenting with builds and abilities to maximise your efficiency at gathering piles of gold and assorted junk. Snack World does the latter very well but lacks in the former category; I might even argue that it does the latter a little too well.
The other aspect of good dungeon crawler is the loot. See, the combat can be tedious and the writing can be dreadful but one can often overlook those if the loot is good. The reward at the end of the quest that justifies why you spent ages running the same dungeon repeatedly. Snack World has loot in abundance but none of it is especially interesting. Most of the items you’ll pick up are crafting materials that can be used to build or upgrade your weapons.
Running a dungeon over and over again to find one specific ingredient to upgrade a sword I already own will never be as satisfying as actually finding a new and better sword. While there are plenty of weapons to unlock and purchase none of them felt especially impactful or fun to use. Every weapon class has a light attack, a heavy attack and a special attack and it just feels soft. Like smacking a knight with an inflatable hammer.
It’s a pity that the gameplay loop is so tired because given the bright and vibrant aesthetic of Snack World, in a different genre I could have seen myself enjoying it far more. The story is very thin and the characters nothing more than one note tropes, but the general look of the world and impressive variety of enemy designs makes it feel like there could have been a really interesting game buried underneath it all. There’s even a certain pizzazz to how the game presents it all with flashy introductions for bosses and important characters. Hell, even the overly twee writing sometimes landed on a decent pun every once in a while. There’s definitely something in there.
Those interesting moments are just buried under piles of uninspired mediocrity. Which is really upsetting because I like the idea of “Baby’s First Diablo.” I believe that distilling the dense mechanics of a dungeon-crawling RPG down to the most basic and accessible aspects is possible and it shouldn’t be this boring. Games of this kind are built on repetition but if the actions being repeated are boring than the whole loop becomes poisoned, even if the game looks good while you’re grinding. It’s the good carpet over the hole in your lounge. It looks great, it seems like it’ll be functional but the second you put any significant weight onto it the whole thing just collapses. While Snack World starts off with the premise of being a fairly decent dungeon crawler the longer you play it the quicker you realise that Snack World is only that: A premise. A competent yet flat premise.
Last Updated: February 13, 2020