Backlog Review: South Park: Snow Day! (Switch)

Authentic South Park humor held back by repetitive gameplay!

By Alexia Huizar. Posted 04/22/2024 11:41 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Fun in bursts, especially with friends; authentic South Park humor and characterization; customization for combat is pretty engaging
Poison Mushroom for...
Not too many options for character customization; hard to set up multiplayer; no proper pause menu; gameplay can become repetitive

Welcome to another Backlog Review, where we take a look at an older game that fans might have sitting waiting to be played or are still considering giving a purchase. This time we’re looking at South Park: Snow Day!

I’ve always been a fan of South Park’s unique and challenging style of humor, so when I heard about getting the opportunity to play South Park: Snow Day! on Nintendo Switch, I jumped right in to play. The game is the third installment of the South Park game series, set following the events of the previous games South Park: The Stick of Truth and South Park: The Fractured but Whole. While the game certainly delivers on the humor and charm that fans love, I will be honest that it falls short in several areas which left me feeling a bit disappointed. If you don’t want to be disappointed or be spoiled for the game, then I probably suggest not continuing further with this review.

Developed by Question LLC and published by THQ Nordic, South Park: Snow Day is an action-adventure game set in the snowy winter season of South Park, Colorado. You play as the new kid in town (just like the previous two games) chasing tail behind the original four main characters of the show—Eric Cartman, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCormick. The player participates in fantasy style fights using weapons such as staffs, bows and arrows, or swords, all with special powers and  effects. From battling enemies and making your way to final bosses in order to complete missions, interacting with beloved (and annoying) characters, and causing mayhem around the small town of South Park, players get to experience the insensitive humor and unique charm that the series is known for.

Let’s jump right into it starting with the controls. The game offers simple and intuitive mechanics when it comes to the controls, which makes the gameplay accessible for anybody. You first start off by customizing your character’s hair style and color, accessories, clothing and skin tone. Unfortunately, there isn’t that strong of a variety when it comes to customization options, but the color chart does allow you to play with your preferred skin tone, hair color, highlights, and shade. You also get to decide between 14 presets of emotes and dances, allowing you to keep up to 8 presets to use throughout the game.

The tutorial is simplistic and straight to the point, teaching the players the basics: jump, attack, dodge, block, and run feature along with weapons and power-up cards. If you are somebody who doesn’t play games too often or is new to gaming, no worries—the controls are very friendly to use for everybody. The mechanics of the game mixes exploration, combat, and puzzle-solving. Throughout the game, players will encounter various missions and objectives that guide them through the story and continue the exploration of the open-world town, opening up new areas.

The snowy town is hiding many secrets and treasures throughout the map for you to collect. This includes toilet paper (currency), dark matter (level up perks) and Cheesy Poof snacks (health). You can also interact with the familiar townsfolk of South Park. Some of these interactions are just simple conversations made up of pre-scripted and repetitive dialogue, while others involve townsfolk assisting in your player development, such as weapons tradesman, wardrobe, and upgrades. You can even visit Mr. Hanky, a literal piece of poop, residing in a public portable bathroom and exchange dark matter to level up your player’s perks.

The weaponry and powers provided in South Park: Snow Day! are also very simply implemented, making it easy to choose a loadout that works for you. You get to carry two types of weapons from a selection of three: a sword (close combat), bow and arrows (range), or a staff (magic). Based on your weapon choices, it’s best to decide what kind of power-up cards to keep on hand for use. These cute hand-drawn cards are obtained through gameplay and can be traded for upgrades at a trade center in each quest with another child character, Jimmy Valmer. Apart from the hand designed cards, the game also includes some unique names to add a little chaotic humor such as”Fart Escape” and “Gassy Glider.” There are also graded cards that grant common, uncommon and rare powers.

As we continue more into the game, newer cards for stronger powers will be unlocked in order to complete the next milestone and missions. These powers can’t be used all the time though, as you have to build up your meter level by allowing your character to get more, excuse my language, “Pissed Off” from being challenged by the elf-costumed elementary kids (who are your enemies). Once used, you need time for it to recharge until the next use.

While there’s a lot to do and see, when it comes to the gameplay of South Park: Snow Day! I feel like it was very frustrating and overwhelming during missions. Once you start a challenge, you have to complete it in one shot, as there are minimal checkpoints throughout the game. Another negative factor is if you die from battle or have to exit and step away, then you will have to start back from the very beginning, including if you are close to the end battle. This can be annoying as each mission takes an average of 20-30 minutes to complete depending on the difficulty and how much exploration that you decide to do.

Another disappointing factor is there is no pause menu in the game, so if you need to walk away from the game for a moment or even just fix a setting, there is a chance you will get attacked by enemies. Despite having to repeat the missions a few times, each challenge ends with a unique boss battle which definitely threw me off, as you’re not sure what to expect and have to battle once or twice to figure out the pattern and make a good plan to win.

Another area for improvement is the storytelling and character development. While the game does a good job at capturing the humor of South Park perfectly, it also tends to  fail in engaging players on a deeper level with its narrative. Personally, the story feels shallow, and it’s hard to care about the characters when there is no emotional development or lack of emotional reaction from the CPUs. The character script and animation doesn’t show much human interaction and what little is there keeps things at a minimal, robotic level.

My run through of the entire game took at least 5-6 hours to complete. Although it’s rather short, the game still suffers from repetitive gameplay that quickly becomes monotonous as the story progresses. The missions and activities tend to lack variety beyond battling elf-like elementary kids and collecting resources. Outside of the interesting boss battles, the rest of the missions lead to a feeling of deja vu that detracts from the overall experience. While South Park: Snow Day! is not as deep or complex as many other games, it still offers a fun and engaging experience that’s better for casual play sessions, especially with friends. However, even that wasn’t as smooth to arrange as I hoped it would be to.

When I first saw a Multiplayer Session, I wish I could have participated in it, but it wasn’t that easily accessible. The security of the game requires passcodes or invitations to network with friends in order to play; since I didn’t have anyone who also owned the game, I had to delve into more research to figure out how to connect. Once you finally are connected, multiplayer sessions lallow friends to join together and have fun and wreck havoc, whether it’s battling enemies or completing co-op missions.

Now, despite all the shortcoming that the game handed off, South Park: Snow Day! still managed to deliver some level of entertainment in the South Park style that fans of the series will enjoy. The developers were able to provide authentic humor close to the actual show’s. Combined with easily accessible gameplay and multiplayer options, it’s worth checking out for those looking for a lighthearted and entertaining gaming experience. However, if you’re looking for a game with more depth, variety, and polish, you might find that South Park: Snow Day! has too many flaws that are too glaring to overlook.

Overall, South Park: Snow Day! is a mixed bag with its pros and its cons. It hits the nail on the head with the humor and charm that recreates what the South Park universe is all about, but its repetitive gameplay, technical issues, and lack of depth holds it back from reaching its full potential. Die-hard fans of the series may find enjoyment in the game’s humor and multiplayer modes more than the solo adventure. If there was some more polishing done and a more varied gameplay, Snow Day! could have been a standout title, but as it is, it’s best enjoyed in short bursts rather than fuller extended play sessions.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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