South Park: Snow Day! Review (PS5)


The South Park franchise has an eclectic history of genre choices, trying (and mostly failing) everything from FPS to kart racer. 2014’s South Park: The Stick of Truth and its comic-book-themed follow-up redressed the balance with an excellent comedic spin on the old-school RPG. Now it takes another genre pivot, becoming the latest property to wade into a heaving pool of co-op roguelikes.

Developed by Question Games, this latest Colorado adventure keeps the narrative setup from the last two titles. The grown-ups have declared a snow day and school is out, so it’s time for the children to wage war on one another. Having previously had their fantasy and superhero role-playing ruined by “some asshole that got too OP”, the kids choose a different format. The Grand Wizard King (Cartman) introduces a card-based system that favours random abilities and unpredictable player builds.

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Rather than an extended quest to obtain a mythical item, this latest campaign is more a series of arena skirmishes.

Like previous entries, you play one of a seemingly endless supply of New Kids, enlisted to join the latest humans versus elves war. The Wizard King sends you out on missions to take territory outlined on his war map. Starting off with an objective as basic as “go kill Kyle”, the story soon takes a turn into mystery as the kids try to figure out who is behind the snowstorm.

Snow Day swaps out old-school, turn-based fights in favour of free-flowing 3D brawling; it loses a lot of the novelty and invention in that transition. Big set-piece battles are now just damage sponges. Fighting Princess Kenny is still a fun time, but pales in comparison to that same encounter in Stick of Truth. Later stages also throw so many enemies at you that it becomes a slog.

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Each run generally has a central task that serves to string together several action sequences. Up to four players work together to violently murder preschool-age role players on the way to a boss encounter. There are different objective types to break up the hack-‘n’-slash, all of which are generally ludicrous. Retrieving a Taylor Swift CD for Jimbo so he can sell it for toilet paper is a particular highlight. As mentioned before, the combat is overly simplistic, but a card collection element attempts to add variety and depth.

You have a core arsenal of melee, ranged, and what could be called magical abilities (farting, cat urine, the usual). After each battle, Timmy offers a choice of randomly generated cards. These serve to buff equipped abilities, adding things like stat boosts or additional damage types. Only one card can be chosen each time, though they can be re-rolled and even have their rarity raised for a fee. Your builds are reset after each run, so there’s plenty of room for experimentation.

Cards can also be upgraded with foil packs scattered around the levels. Ritual cards provided by Henrietta Biggle will nerf your existing power set for bonuses or ability recharges. Finally, at the beginning of each run, the Wizard King lets you draw one “bullshit card”. These are devastating abilities with limited charges that can change the tide of any fight. Enemies also can, and frequently do, use bullshit tactics.

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Outside of cards, the new kid can also upgrade their stats using dark matter gathered throughout levels. Increasing health and stamina, as well as augmenting the effectiveness of getting pissed off. That’s right, abilities and spells aren’t powered by mana here, you unleash them by getting angry and filling up the pissed-off meter. Keep attacking and this meter is topped up, powering your damage and healing utility.

A wealth of customisation and play styles emerge from these systems, but fights will almost always play out in a similar fashion. Waves can assume offence and defence roles, but most of the enemy types are susceptible to the “hit with weapon many times” strategy. Bosses have invulnerable phases that require some puzzling to get through, but the tactics are hardly Destiny raid-level.

The shift to 3D brings us further away from the aesthetic of the source material as well. Environments have some nice details but are mostly bland areas to contain fight sequences. Parker and Stone are on writing duties again, so it’s still a treat for fans, and genuinely funny throughout. It’s just a shame that, while it sounds like South Park, it no longer feels like it.

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The lifespan of Snow Day will depend on how much entertainment you can mine from these levels alongside friends. Solo play is viable with decent bot AI, but the campaign doesn’t offer much playing alone.


A sporadically fun co-op brawler, South Park: Snow Day is a step back for the franchise. Card collecting and gag-filled combat will keep fans entertained, but there are plenty of better ways to have good times with weapons.

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