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Another Crab's Treasure screenshot

Another Crab’s Treasure review — Accessibility highs, buggy lows

Forgive me readers, for I have a confession: until now, I’d never played a soulslike. As much as the adventure and exploration of the likes of Elden Ring and Dark Souls appeals to me, the punishing combat never has. I’m not a wait-patiently-and-make-my-move type of player, nor do I manage to pull off dodges and parries very well: when trying to time button presses, my fingers become jelly on the controller, fumbling over everything and massively failing. Woe is me, and damn my hands. But when Another Crab’s Treasure was announced last year, its cutesy aesthetic and underwater world instantly called to me.

“But it’s a soulslike!”, my partner cried. “There’s no way you’ll want to play it!” He might have been right, if it wasn’t for Aggro Crab’s accessibility options built right into Another Crab’s Treasure menu. Finally: a soulslike game that even jelly-handed, uncoordinated fools like me can enjoy.

Yes, those accessibility options really are a gamechanger, allowing players to make the game as lenient as they like. You can make enemies hit just a little lighter if you prefer, or essentially make yourself invincible. You can change the longevity of your shell, too, or turn your shell into a loaded gun, allowing you to simply shoot your way through every enemy you meet. But optional is the operative word here. Leave Another Crab’s Treasure at its default settings and you shan’t be fooled by its charming, cutesy aesthetic: this is a punishing and challenging experience that wants to be taken as seriously as the best soulslikes out there.

It doesn’t take you long to find that out. Your first encounter is with a very basic crab, but fail to block and dodge their attacks, and you’ll be dead in a couple of hits. With some seriously tricky foes waiting to hunt you down as you progress through Another Crab’s Treasure, learning how to deal with incoming attacks is an absolute must.

Another Crab's Treasure screenshot
Screenshot: GameSpew

Your shell helps a great deal, of course. In fact, your shell is pivotal to the entire game and is the sole reason this crustacean-filled adventure even exists in the first place. You see, protagonist Kril has had his shell — his lovely home, the only thing in the world he cares about — stolen by a loan shark. His whole life has so far been spent peacefully in rockpools, but if he wants his shell back he’s going to have to venture into the ocean. And in doing so, he ends up biting off more than he can chew, becoming embroiled in a mission to uncover secret treasure, located in the deepest depths of the ocean.

Without a shell to protect him, then, Kril can use a wealth of random objects found in the ocean as a temporary abode. Things like bottle tops, medicine bottles, shot glasses, yoghurt pots and more can be worn, offering protection in combat. None of them are permanent, and they all have a varying amount of armour: once they break, you’ll have to find another. What is nifty, though, is that each one has a special ability, too, offering you an edge in combat.

Related: The best games Like Dark Souls on PC

You’ll never want to be without a shell in combat, because without one, you’ll find yourself taking a lot of damage. Thankfully, they’re plentiful around the world of Another Crab’s Treasure so you’re never very far from one. There are always several dotted around a boss’ lair, too, which I’ve been very grateful for.

There are numerous ways you can improve yourself in Another Crab’s Treasure and, theoretically, by the time you’re in the final stretch of your adventure, you’ll be the hardiest hermit crab in all the ocean. Each time you kill an enemy you’ll be rewarded with scraps, the main currency of the game, which can be spent directly on upping your attack, your health, your resistance and your ‘umami’, which powers up your shell’s unique ability. You’ll also get upgrade points, which can be spent on unlocking new moves and abilities — like being able to use a grapple to pull enemies closer to you, or pulling off a dash attack.

Another Crab's Treasure screenshot
Screenshot: GameSpew

You can also adorn your shell with up to three ‘add-ons’, which have a range of uses. Some offer you a resistance to, say, electrical attacks, whilst others bolster your health or attack power. Finally, finding relics as you explore the ocean will allow you to upgrade your weapon directly. You won’t find new weapons: you’re stuck with a fork throughout. But with multiple upgrades to unlock, it will get more powerful as you progress.

Despite all of those things, though, combat in Another Crab’s Treasure can still be frustrating — even if you have some of its accessibility options enabled. Find yourself in a situation where you have multiple enemies attacking at once, and it’s easy to get stuck in an attack loop where you’re not given enough time to block or attack yourself. I’ve also been knocked through walls, got stuck in the environment and, perhaps one of Another Crab’s Treasure’s most annoying quirks, off platforms to my deep blue demise below.

Bosses, thankfully, are a little more exhilarating — and successfully taking one down feels like a true victory. When it’s just one-on-one, the odds feel much fairer, even if your adversary is towering above you. Bigger enemies have attacks that can’t be blocked, so you’ll need to be swift on your feet to truly get the better of them, making full use of the entire arsenal of skills available to you.

My favourite part of Another Crab’s Treasure, however, has been — unsurprisingly — exploring its world and discovering its secrets. With 60-odd shells to collect, trying them all on and aiming to complete the collection has been a secondary goal of mine, and wandering off the beaten path will often reward you with various treasures: new add-ons for your shell, or bits of junk that can be traded in for currency. There’s plenty of platforming to be done, too, which is enjoyable enough — as long as there aren’t enemies around to throw you off a platform.

Another Crab's Treasure screenshot
Screenshot: GameSpew

It’s just a real, real shame that Another Crab’s Treasure is, in its current state, laden with bugs and issues that are detrimental to the gameplay. I’ve been playing on PS5 for review and while for the most part it runs buttery smooth, at certain locations of the game I’ve encountered bouts of extreme slowdown. It’s usually when moving from one area to another, but it’s also occurred at key gameplay moments like when trying to make a particularly tough jump, making it almost impossible to get right.

Other bugs are present, too. As I’ve already mentioned, getting stuck in the environment is a regular occurrence and, with one particularly egregious bug, I found myself unable to use any button prompt. Attacking, jumping, dodging; none of it worked. The worst part? I was fighting a boss at the time. The only fix was to die and start again.

It’s likely many of these issues will be ironed out with patches in the coming days and weeks. But they have made playing Another Crab’s Treasure less fun than it should have been. I have had a good time adventuring through the oceans with Kril — and I can’t praise the accessibility options enough, making this a soulslike adventure playable by all. But seasoned players of Darks Souls-inspired games are likely to find its combat not quite as sharp and responsive as it needs to be to truly shine. Even with the difficulty lowered, some frustrations can’t be erased completely, either.

This review of Another Crab’s Treasure is based on the PS5 version of the game, with a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.

Another Crab's Treasure review - GameSpew's score

Another Crab's Treasure
7 10 0 1
There's a lot to like about Another Crab's Treasure. Its underwater setting and cutesy premise makes this a unique Soulslike, and its accessibility options means this is one of only a few games in the genre that can truly be played by all. But there are bugs and issues galore, stopping this crustacean's adventure from being quite as enjoyable as it should be.
There's a lot to like about Another Crab's Treasure. Its underwater setting and cutesy premise makes this a unique Soulslike, and its accessibility options means this is one of only a few games in the genre that can truly be played by all. But there are bugs and issues galore, stopping this crustacean's adventure from being quite as enjoyable as it should be.
7/10
Total Score

We like...

  • Fun and unique premise
  • Exploration is great
  • Multiple rewarding upgrade paths

We don't like...

  • Combat needs to be tighter for those playing without assists
  • So many bugs
  • Regular instances of slowdown

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