Home Tech South Park: Snow Day! review – a crude, enjoyable playground tussle

South Park: Snow Day! review – a crude, enjoyable playground tussle

by Elijah
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South Park: Snow Day! review – a crude, enjoyable playground tussle

TThe snow is falling hard over South Park, Colorado, and little Eric Cartman sees an opportunity to miss school. Tucked into bed, he clenches his fists, closes his eyes tightly, and wishes for the snowstorm to worsen to biblical levels so that the schools can call the next morning a snow day. He wakes up to a city in panic: countless deaths, an outbreak of panic buying of toilet paper, and weather conditions so unprecedented that many fear it is a sign of the end times. Of course he is delighted.

The titular snow day that follows is the bright white canvas on which the neighborhood children paint a fantasy war, with elves and humans battling according to rules that can change in an instant when a ‘bullshit’ card is deployed. South Park has always been great at capturing the pieces of childhood that we forget as we grow older, and with Snow Day!’s premise, developer Question Games finds just such a nugget. Give some kids a day of freedom and some cardboard swords, and they’ll build an entire universe and then squabble over its exact mechanics.

What this means for the player is a co-op action game with roguelike elements that completely removes South Park’s previous two 2D turn-based role-playing games, 2014’s The Stick of Truth and its 2017 sequel, The Fractured But Whole .

You may have some regrets about that departure. Those story-driven games brought us countless jokes too vulgar to sully this fine publication, and in moments like the abrupt shift to retro 8-bit graphics upon entering Canada, they found ingenious ways to use the medium itself for comedy. Honestly, writing Snow Day! not so sharp. But what it does have in its favor is pick-and-play accessibility and unexpected depth as a roguelike.

As you fight through the ‘burbs against little kids in rickety Tolkien cosplay, using your basic melee and ranged attacks, you collect toilet paper (the new gold, since panic buying started) and modifier cards. These do extra damage to bleeding enemies, increase your farting range, that sort of thing. The further you get into a run, the more you can specify a specialist playstyle, and the more interesting each battle becomes.

Especially when the bullshit card falls. This gives you and your enemies ridiculous abilities, like laser eyes or meteor showers. They’re used sparingly and always get just enough outrage from Cartman and co to remind you that these lines are supposed to feel like 10-year-olds are improvising.

It doesn’t always feel great to control – in fact, it rarely does, as the attack and movement animations are ruined by floatability that robs you of proper weapon feedback – but Snow Day! keeps your brain busy by letting you plot increasingly efficient builds. There’s always a tougher encounter around the corner and a boss fight at the end of the run, so every card you choose has a consequence. That won’t keep you and your friends in South Park’s eternal winter for as long as co-op gaming’s favorite hangouts, like Fortnite. But it will make for a fun weekend of fart-inspired mayhem for anyone who misses the days when snowfall meant freedom.

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