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  • Writer's pictureJames Stephanie Sterling

Another Crab's Treasure - Dungeness Crawler (Review)

Another Crab's Treasure

Released: April 25, 2024

Developer: Aggro Crab

Publisher: Aggro Crab

Systems: PC (reviewed), PS5, Xbox X/S

Copy provided by publisher

We’re at a point where Soulslikes really need to start differentiating themselves from the pack of medieval wasteland adventures. Much as I love them, unless they’re of standout quality, I’m likely not to notice yet more bleak mimicry of From Software’s entire aesthetic. 

If any kind of game has crabs in it though, it’s guaranteed to automatically have my full attention. 

Another Crab’s Treasure is a colorful, spirited, satirical adventure about a socially isolated crab and the perils of undersea gentrification. With a witty script and a cast of fun characters in a world that isn’t a desolate husk, it does a lot to stick out on a smaller scale. 

It’s not quite a diamond but it’s certainly in the rough, a game that’s hard to dislike while nonetheless beset by a notable number of flaws that hold it back from the potential that’s clearly there. 

As a contentedly solo hermit crab trying to get back their repossessed shell, players will take up a fork and use all manner of ocean garbage to jam on their back for makeshift defense. There aren’t different weapons, but instead a large variety of “shells” with unique abilities tied to them. 

Simple melee attacks are performed with the fork, and an upgrade can unlock the ability to stab shells with it to create a temporary hammer. Defensively, the crab has access to a rather ineffective dodge and a very effective shell retraction that blocks pretty much anything. 

Shell spells are fired off by expending charges (regained via melee attacks) and are themed to the object in question - wearing a soda can lets you fire homing bubble projectiles, while a shot glass is fragile as heck but can be used once to create jagged shards that punish enemy attacks.

There are quite a few shells with some really fun properties. Some are quite clever too, such as banana skins that can be eaten for health, or a coffee cup that provides caffeine for increased hit speed. Sadly there isn’t a unique spell for every shell, so most of what makes them stand out individually is cosmetic. 

Taking damage wears down your shell, and blocking damage does so at a faster rate. Once a shell breaks, the most viable defense is gone until you stick your ass in another hole. 

While I’m no fan of durability systems, Another Crab’s Treasure scatters good shells everywhere and makes sure boss arenas have plenty. As well as that, you’ll be able to purchase shell insurance to always have your favorite ones available at rest points, and there are upgrades allowing for shell repair and even a one-time fix upon breakage. 

If you must do durability in a game, this is an example of doing so while still making the breakable objects feel more than disposable transitory items. Considering one of the shells is a dead crab that flops around on your back, the commitment to shell preservation is a game doing something morally right. I never want to not have a corpse flopping around on me.

While lots of fun in a less-than-polished sense, moments of “difficulty” come off more cheap than challenging, largely as a result of troll-quality enemy placement . Crustacean fuckers (in all senses of the term) are constantly positioned on ledges explicitly to jab you as you try to pull off platforming, or they're otherwise littering the landscape with terrifyingly ranged projectile attacks. 

The speed of some enemies, particularly the aggressive bosses, can feel a touch too fast relative to the player character’s slower response times. Between these issues and the ambushes, at times I didn’t feel guilty for going into the accessibility options to activate the gun shell and one-shot my way through certain areas.

Accessibility options are great here overall and include a few life quality features that honestly just make the game better - chiefly, increased shell health and a bigger invincibility window while dodging to make evasion worth attempting. Alongside a suite of other options, Another Crab’s Treasure does a laudable job of proving a Soulslike can be accessible and enjoyable.

Oh, and if you think the gun is cheap? Don’t use it. Simple as that. 

ACT’s biggest problem is all of its aforementioned jank, which is slightly worse than, say, the kind of game you’d expect Focus Home Entertainment to publish. Locking onto enemies frequently risks placing the camera behind walls, while walls and floors both have moments of incorporeality that may see a player clip through surfaces and take fall damage.

Little flaws of this nature are a consistent issue, none of it enough to ever break the game, but present enough to give the whole thing a generally unpolished feel. The somewhat basic graphics don’t help, though it must be said character designs and inventive atmospheric visuals do a great job of ensuring it’s still a pleasant game to look at. 

Although far from the highest quality Soulslike, Another Crab’s Treasure is an original, intensely likable one. Its sharp script is backed up with a fun gameplay conceit, wrapped up in a package with a whole lot of character. We did the whole review without a shell pun either, so that's also a positive point!



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