Another Crab’s Treasure Review (PS5)


Another Crab’s Treasure might not look like a soulslike action RPG, but it is one. Take out the dark, oppressive nature of FromSoftware’s output and replace it with SpongeBob, and you’re more or less there. Purposely juxtaposing the established tropes of the genre, this title offers a fresh, more lighthearted experience without sacrificing the level of challenge you’d expect.

Playing as Kril, a small hermit crab living a simple life in a cosy tide pool, the journey begins when his shell is unceremoniously taken away by a suspicious-looking shark. This forces the cute crustacean into action, delving into the ocean proper to track down the thief. What you’ll discover is an underwater world full of aggressive aquatic life — mostly crabs — and locations littered with, well, litter.

Indeed, there’s an environmentalist theme woven into the game, providing a dark (and slightly too real) edge that means it shares the doomed world through-line with other soulslikes. A poisonous gunk plagues certain areas and enemies, and human objects are everywhere you turn; in fact, one environment is a literal garbage heap.

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So prevalent is all this trash that it’s become this world’s economy. Microplastics are the equivalent of souls, and are used not only to level Kril up, but also to purchase items from vendors. However, trash plays right into the game’s combat system, which has you hopping in and out of makeshift shells.

From bottle caps to banana skins, tissue boxes to tennis balls, there are dozens of shells Kril can inhabit. Each one has its own stats, weight, and special ability. You basically don’t have a defence stat unless you have a shell equipped — that’s how important a role they play. The differing levels of protection and abilities means you’ll want to experiment, trying out new shells as you come across them throughout the adventure.

Combat is a tense ebb and flow that’ll be familiar to anyone who’s played a soulslike before. Starting off, Kril has a basic combo and a charged stab, and can block by hiding in his equipped shell. When you block, your shell takes damage on its own meter rather than your main health bar. A shell’s ability can be offensive or defensive, but they all use up Umami charges, which you gain back by landing attacks.

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It feels at first a little limited, but as you unlock more skills on the skill tree, combat opens up with various new options, like a mid-air downward swipe, a backstep, the ability to pull enemies towards you, and much more. Many of these will become fundamental parts of your arsenal, especially the first skill you unlock: the parry, which you perform by releasing block right as an enemy strikes.

Parrying, along with most of your attacks, build up a balance meter that, when full, will capsize your foe, leaving them temporarily vulnerable. This aspect of the combat means Another Crab’s Treasure can sometimes feel more Sekiro than Dark Souls, and actually, the fact you have just one main weapon that you upgrade over time reinforces that.

There are more layers to the gameplay, too — Stowaways are items that, when equipped, provide Kril with additional passive perks. You’ll pick up Adaptations along the way, which are powerful abilities that are very useful in a scrap, but some also help to explore more of the world. The game is, honestly, a lot bigger in scope than we were expecting, not only in terms of its large, complex environments, but also its range of mechanics.

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We will say, though, that there’s definitely a bit of jank in both the combat and the platforming. Hit detection can occasionally be a little iffy on both sides; sometimes we’d get away with something we probably shouldn’t, and vice versa. Meanwhile, there are some quite fiddly platforming sequences that’ll frustrate, owing to a camera which doesn’t always play ball. Enemy placement can also be the bane of your progress, forcing you to fight near perilous edges. We suppose that’s no different to FromSoft games, mind.

Despite nearly all your enemies being other crustaceans, there’s a good amount of variety in who you’re fighting. We’d say that the bosses are perhaps the most creative; these are some great battles with lobsters wielding chopsticks, a huge crab with cutlery taped to its pincers, and much more besides. With well over a dozen bosses to defeat — some optional — this is a tougher game than appearances suggest, but it’s a very satisfying challenge to overcome in much the same way as other soulslikes.

While the gameplay is rock solid, enemies are imaginatively designed, and the varied environments are at times beautiful to look at, the game does sadly unravel with some uneven performance and a handful of bugs. As you walk between one major area and another, the whole game locks up for a few seconds as the new zone loads in. The Sands Between is a large, open expanse that sits at the heart of the game’s map, and is where you’ll likely run into this issue as you travel around it. We did also run into some frame rate dips when the screen gets too busy, and we ran into some nasty bugs along the way. We imagine these lingering issues will be dealt with in post-launch patches, but our experience was somewhat inconsistent.

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Even so, the game’s fun combat, rewarding exploration, and some entertaining moments throughout the story meant the rough patches faded into the background. It’s an ambitious indie game that gives a fresh take on the contemporary action RPG. Speaking of which, we’d be remiss not to mention the range of accessibility options. The assist mode menu allows you to tune the difficulty to your liking, such as reducing damage taken, increasing the parry window, and even going so far as to giving Kril a gun that literally one-shots any enemy. We enjoyed the challenge provided by default, but it’s great to see various ways to tone it down if you prefer.


Another Crab’s Treasure is a refreshingly different take on the soulslike action RPG. Its more lighthearted presentation, stronger emphasis on story, and sense of humour don’t take away from the genre’s core, however — this is equally a stern, challenging adventure with fun combat to master and lots of secrets to discover. Unfortunately, it’s let down by some frustrating technical troubles and occasionally janky moments. Despite its flaws, though, we came away having quite enjoyed the adventure; we can already feel the carcinisation setting in.

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