Key art for Another Crab's Treasure
(Aggro Crab)

‘Another Crab’s Treasure’ Sets a New Standard for a Familiar Game Genre

The “soulslike” genre of games have a very specific vibe commonly associated with them. Enter Another Crab’s Treasure, which has all of the quintessential gameplay hallmarks of a soulslike, but instead of being drab and grim, it’s cartoony, colorful, and goofy.

Recommended Videos

Named after Fromsoft’s pioneering games Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, you typically imagine soulslikes entrenching you in a gloomy, serious world. (Not that Fromsoft games are devoid of humor. Far from it—remember the Turtle Pope?) Still, you imagine a brooding main character inhabiting a world dominated by a grayscale color palette.

But those characteristics aren’t what actually makes a soulslike. What makes a soulslike is the extreme challenge. It’s the extra-hard bosses you need several attempts to defeat, the scarcity of save point and options for health regeneration, and the anxiety of losing your resources upon death and having to retrace your steps to reclaim them before you die again and lose them for good.

Another Crab’s Treasure, a new indie game from developer Aggro Crab that came out in April, shares that gameplay despite its friendly vibe. Ahead of its launch, developer Aggro Crab was even petitioning fans to get the Steam store to list more soulslike in the similar games column, instead of easy, cartoony games.

In the game, you play an adorable crab with a boyish voice and green kerchief, traversing the ocean—highly polluted, yet mostly beautiful and bright. Information on game mechanics asks that you confirm you “acknowledge knowledge.” Bravely, against the well-known oceanic slang established by SpongeBob SquarePants, you’re immediately introduced to new world-specific curses like, “Crab! Crab! CRAB!” Then, a giant lobster captain completely destroys you as he screams at you about the law.

As such, Another Crab’s Treasure offers something completely new. In the same way that, for example, One Piece Film: Red asked, “Why can’t shounen be a musical?,” Another Crab’s Treasure asks, “Why can’t a soulslike be bright?” It breaks apart gamers’ expectations and opens up an exciting new world of possibilities for the future of soulslike gaming.

F*** the Loan Shark

As opposed to Elden Ring and most other Fromsoft games, Another Crab’s Treasure gives you an obvious mission from the get-go. This might be its greatest deviation from the hallmarks of soulslike gameplay, which typically give you the teeniest morsel of story before dropping you off in the world and letting you wander around to slowly pick up environmental clues as to where you are, what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.

Personally speaking, I welcome this deviation wholeheartedly. I remember well my first hour or so of Elden Ring, and it was incredibly disorienting. I remember yelling at my TV at some point, “WHAT AM I DOING?”

By contrast, Another Crab’s Treasure immediately gives us a story that most players can deeply empathize with. Our hero, Kril the hermit crab, is minding his own business when a Loan Shark pops up and informs him that a duchess now owns where he lives and he must now pay taxes. Since he can’t pay up, his shell—his home!—is confiscated. Kril’s adventures begin as he does whatever he can to get his shell back.

It’s not that there’s a complete absence of dark themes in Another Crab’s Treasure. The themes get darker as you go along. For one, you’re immediately beset with the direness of oceanic pollution. You’re not even an hour in before you can talk to a young crab eating a cigarette, saying they’re the new hot snack in Big City. Pollution is actually a major driver of the game—and can cause the once-colorful environments to look more like a “conventional” souslike.

A wonderful adventure in the sea

It would be one thing if Another Crab’s Treasure were simply testing new waters about how a soulslike can look and, environmentally and tonally speaking, feel to play. But the main reason it works is that Another Crab’s Treasure is just a good game.

I’ll be honest—I got hooked. All the anxieties of Elden Ring about getting my resources back before I died came flooding back to me, but in addition to the thrill and excitement of wanting to see what happened next in Kril’s tale. Add an inviting world with some solid-but-easy-enough platforming, and you’ve got a phenomenal combination.

What’s more, the combat is excellent. I usually dodge instead of guard in games like this, but Another Crab’s Treasure makes hiding under Kril’s various makeshift shells such a joy. The shells’ special abilities—which are hilariously called “umami”—are a delight to try out.

As such, Another Crab’s Treasure isn’t just open an entirely new realm of possibilities for future soulslike games; it’s also an excellent first soulslike. Elden Ring allows you to take things at your own pace, but is also gigantic. By contrast, Another Crab’s Treasure can be beaten—at least in theory—in under 15 hours. I also found it “approachably difficult.”

In other words: holy crab, I’ve found one of my games of the year.


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
related content
Read Article Former ‘Dragon Age’ Writer Likens Bi/Pan NPCs to ‘Sex Dolls’ in Wildly Misguided X Thread
Dragon Age The Veilguard Rook mage promotional image
Dragon Age The Veilguard Rook mage promotional image
Dragon Age The Veilguard Rook mage promotional image
Read Article When Does ‘Yakuza 0’ Take Place?
Majima Goro as the King of the Night in Club Cabaret from Yakuza 0
Majima Goro as the King of the Night in Club Cabaret from Yakuza 0
Majima Goro as the King of the Night in Club Cabaret from Yakuza 0
Read Article The ‘Dragon Age: The Veilguard’ Reveals Gave Us a Lot To Process!
Dragon Age The Veilguard promotional image
Dragon Age The Veilguard promotional image
Dragon Age The Veilguard promotional image
Read Article ‘Honkai Star Rail’ 2.3 Release Date Confirmed
Version 2.3 of Honkai: Star Rail featuring Jade and Firefly (Sam)
Version 2.3 of Honkai: Star Rail featuring Jade and Firefly (Sam)
Version 2.3 of Honkai: Star Rail featuring Jade and Firefly (Sam)
Read Article Sony’s Next PSP Could Run PS4 Games
Sony PSP
Sony PSP
Sony PSP
Related Content
Read Article Former ‘Dragon Age’ Writer Likens Bi/Pan NPCs to ‘Sex Dolls’ in Wildly Misguided X Thread
Dragon Age The Veilguard Rook mage promotional image
Read Article When Does ‘Yakuza 0’ Take Place?
Majima Goro as the King of the Night in Club Cabaret from Yakuza 0
Read Article The ‘Dragon Age: The Veilguard’ Reveals Gave Us a Lot To Process!
Dragon Age The Veilguard promotional image
Read Article ‘Honkai Star Rail’ 2.3 Release Date Confirmed
Version 2.3 of Honkai: Star Rail featuring Jade and Firefly (Sam)
Read Article Sony’s Next PSP Could Run PS4 Games
Sony PSP
Author
Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.