South Park: Snow Day!: Funny and interesting but with a lot of technical problems

Unlike The Fractured but Whole title, here we return to a fantasy setting during a snowy day in South Park

by Sededin Dedovic
South Park: Snow Day!: Funny and interesting but with a lot of technical problems
© GameSpot / Youtube channel

South Park, the land of infamous kids, absurd situations and surprisingly poignant social commentary, has taken a bold leap into the world of 3D action adventure with its latest offering: South Park: Snow Day! As the legendary city is covered in a fantastic snowstorm, players step back into the shoes of the New Kid, ready to deal with a new kind of mayhem.

One of the most impressive changes in Snow Day! is a complete overhaul of the combat system. Gone are the tactical turn-based battles of The Stick of Truth and The Fractured But Whole. Instead, we're thrust into a frenetic 3D beat-em-up experience.

While the core of combat involves swinging swords, swinging clubs and throwing arrows, it's not a one-trick pony. Players can equip magic wands for ranged attacks and unlock special abilities to spice things up.

unknown© theRadBrad / YOutube channel

However, the limited selection of abilities destroys that initial excitement very soon after we start playing.

You can only carry two at a time, which leads to repetitive, back-to-back combat encounters. The only change and the possibility of some variation comes in the form of cards that you will receive and upgrade after each skirmish.

This system is mostly reminiscent of the RogueLite mechanic of getting temporary benefits after each battle. And it absolutely is. Cards are divided into those that improve your abilities, general stats or just boost your primary weapon, and there are additional BS cards (you know what these two letters mean).

This type of cards can also be used by opponents, but their use is limited. This mechanic completely changes combat, quite often in a very humorous way.

South Park: Snow Day! © theRadBrad / YOutube channel

Open world dreams, linear reality

One of the biggest missed opportunities in Snow Day!

is the lack of a truly open world. Unlike past South Park games where you could freely roam the city, here you'll be restricted to certain levels that represent iconic locations. While some areas offer a bit of freedom in choosing your next objective, the overall experience remains linear.

This feels like a step backwards, especially given the potential for exploration and shenanigans in a fully realized 3D South Park.

South Park: Snow Day! © theRadBrad / YOutube channel

Luckily, Snow Day! introduces a brand new feature: cooperative multiplayer!

Up to four players can team up and wreak havoc together. This is practically necessary, as some levels seem almost impossible to beat solo. While there's the ability to play with helpful AI bots, there's nothing quite like the camaraderie (and mayhem) of real-life friends.

However, a surprising limitation appears here as well. You can't customize the appearance or class of these AI companions, forcing you to rely on randomly generated bots to fill out your party.

South Park: Snow Day! © theRadBrad / YOutube channel

The character models faithfully capture the essence of the South Park universe, translating the show's signature style surprisingly well.

Graphically, the game starts out like any other episode of the series, but when you go a little deeper it switches to a full 3D world. The development team tried their best to faithfully transfer all the characters and the whole design to this "new plane", but sometimes it doesn't work very well when compared to some of the locations you'll be passing through.

However, some environments lack the same level of polish, creating a disconnect between the characters and the environment. On the other hand, the card visuals are a delightful surprise, adding a touch of artistic flair to the overall presentation.

South Park: Snow Day! © theRadBrad / YOutube channel

The voice acting, a cornerstone of South Park's humor, remains top notch. However, the constant banter and comments can get annoying after a while. The jokes you want to catch can be drowned out by overlapping dialogue, and the music, while well-composed for the fantastic setting, can sometimes overpower sound effects and enemy attacks, resulting in a confusing cacophony.

South Park: Snow Day! it feels more like a polished project than a fully realized game. Bugs and glitches add to the experience, while the overall game design suffers from a few balancing issues. Enemy AI can be erratic, leading to chaotic and frustrating battles.

Difficulties come out of nowhere, leaving you wondering how a group of elementary school kids suddenly turned into unstoppable ninjas. In addition, the targeting system is unreliable, and the camera often becomes more of a hindrance than a helper.

Despite its flaws, South Park: Snow Day! retains the recognizable charm of the series. From classic South Park gags to humor that would probably get us banned from the internet, the game delivers plenty of laughs. If you're a die-hard South Park fan with a fault tolerance and a willingness to overlook some design flaws, you'll likely find enjoyment in the familiar world and signature humor.