South Park: Snow Day review: Not worth the low price

Winter has already come and gone, but the new South Park hack-and-slash game seems stuck in 2014.

South Park: Snow Day review: Not worth the low price

Key Takeaways

  • Snow Day offers little innovation, relying on old jokes and graphics for a lackluster experience.
  • The game falls short of the humor and charm of its predecessors, lacking originality and depth.
  • Simplified gameplay and isolated multiplayer make Snow Day a disappointing addition to the South Park gaming universe.

The concept of an epic RPG based on South Park once sounded like a joke, but fans were pleasantly surprised by Stick of Truth and its acclaimed follow-up, Fractured But Whole. Having been a South Park fan for 27 years, I naturally had high expectations when a new game that continued the story was announced.

Although South Park: Snow Day is technically a sequel to those games, it has very little to do with them. The kids have switched their Marvel Avengers-inspired superhero personas for decade-old costumes from season 18. The role-playing elements have been dropped in favor of traditional hack-and-slash mechanics. And, most notably, the graphics have received a three-dimensional overhaul.

Knowing all of that, I was still willing to give Snow Day a chance. Besides, the low price tag made it seem like too good a deal to pass up. So, was it worth it?

South Park: Snow Day review: Not worth the low price

South Park: Snow Day review: Not worth the low price

South Park: Snow Day!

The long-awaited follow-up to Stick of Truth and Fractured But Whole, South Park: Snow Day trades RPG rules for traditional hack-and-slash mechanics.

Genre(s) Action-Adventure Platform(s) PC , PS5 , Switch , Xbox Series X , Xbox Series S Released March 26, 2024 Developer(s) Question Publisher THQ Nordic $30 at Amazon$30 at SteamSee at PlayStationSee at Xbox

Rehashing old gags

New ideas are few and far between

South Park: Snow Day review: Not worth the low price

As a deadly winter storm ravages South Park, all Cartman and company care about is school being canceled. To celebrate the long-awaited arrival of winter, everyone breaks out their Game of Thrones-inspired costumes from Stick of Truth and gets ready to party like it's 2014. Once again taking the role of the New Kid, you must defend Kupa Keep against Kyle's elvish forces.

After the opening scene, the series' signature humor is largely absent. There aren't many original jokes or creative tie-ins to the show. The number of characters you can interact with has been drastically reduced, and you can't play as any of the show's main cast.

The game doesn't even follow the show's continuity. For example, Mr. Hankey makes an appearance, but fans know he was banished to Springfield years ago. While previous games made tons of references to recent episodes, the jokes in Snow Day are several seasons stale.

South Park: Snow Day review: Not worth the low price

More dimensions shouldn't mean less charm

Snow Day fails to capture the style of the show

Close

Snow Day starts off promisingly with an intro that looks exactly like an episode of the show. However, once you take control, the graphics transition from familiar construction paper cutouts to boring 3D renders for no apparent reason. While the visual style of the last two games made players feel like they were really inhabiting the town of South Park, Snow Day's environments are bland and repetitive. It's just snow, snow, and more snow.

You can no longer freely explore South Park. Instead, iconic locations are sectioned off into levels that you must play through sequentially. Most of the time, you're just following a green arrow, so the joy of discovering new locations that made the other games fun is gone.

South Park: Snow Day review: Not worth the low price

Hack, slash, and repeat

The RPG elements have been stripped to the bone

South Park: Snow Day review: Not worth the low price

Snow Day's gameplay is somehow simultaneously too simple and too complex. For the most part, you'll be mashing the same button over and over again, hacking away at endless hordes of the same enemies. There are cards you can equip that grant special bonuses, and there's a skill tree where you can enhance specific attributes like your strength and health, but it all seems somewhat unnecessary. Truth be told, there's not a lot of strategy required.

For each level, you must team up with three other friends, strangers, or AI bots. Objectives are fairly simple, ranging from defeating waves of elves to finding keys that open doors. The online multiplayer element doesn't involve much interaction with other gamers, so playing Snow Day feels oddly isolating. If you're looking for intense squad-based battles, your money would be better spent on Helldivers 2.

South Park: Snow Day review: Not worth the low price

Verdict

Snow Day deserves a check minus

South Park: Snow Day review: Not worth the low price

The creators of South Park have a lot on their plate, having just opened a Mexican restaurant in Denver while producing original episodes for two different networks. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough creative energy left to make another good video game on top of it all.

Snow Day brought back memories of the original South Park game for the Nintendo 64, and that's not a good thing. Video games based on TV shows have come so far since then, so it's sad to see the genre take a step back. I can't even recommend Snow Day to the most hardcore South Park fans.

Calling Snow Day a rehash of its predecessors wouldn't be fair. In fact, that would be a compliment. While the last game had enough content to keep players engaged for 20-30 hours, you can plow through South Park: Snow Day in less than five hours. Since Snow Day is less expensive, it's fair to expect less content. However, it's also fair to expect some effort, and it pains me to say that Snow Day feels like a cold-hearted cash grab.

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