South Park: Snow Day! Review – New rules, New Kid.

South Park: Snow Day! is the third installment in what I like to call the “New Kid” saga, which covers the player-insert protagonist-driven series of South Park games. Following just after The Fractured But Whole, South Park: Snow Day! sees the kids (including your player-created character) celebrating a day off school thanks to a miraculous snow day, one that threatens to plunge the rest of the town into chaos. Familiar yet staunchly different, this newest South Park title will surely split the fans, with some loving the unique direction of the game while others may find it hard to adjust to the changes.

Said changes are probably the first thing you’ll notice when you boot up South Park: Snow Day! The most noticeable is the game’s abrupt change to the series’ familiar art style.

If you’ve played Stick of Truth or Fractured but Whole, you’re undoubtedly used to the game’s faithful, construction-paper-cutout 2D art style. Beyond the UI, you couldn’t tell the difference between the gameplay in the first two South Park games and an episode of the cartoon it was born from.

South Park Snow Day Cartman
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Snow Day, however, takes a drastic step into the three-dimensional space. Besides an opening and ending cutscene, the entire South Park: Snow Day! is animated in this new 3D style, with every character and asset having a rendered model and not a 2D asset in sight.

Suffice it to say that this was jarring at first, but it quickly grew on me, and I was able to move past my mixed feelings about the style. This is mainly due to how faithful the 3D captures the show’s look, which, when facing a character dead on, looks about as close to capturing the likeness of the people of South Park on an extra dimension as you can get. While I certainly preferred the look of the previous games, Snow Day certainly does not look bad, and getting into the game, I could see that the change was a practical decision rather than a stylistic choice.

Another major departure from the first two games is Snow Day’s gameplay.

Where Stick of Truth and Fractured but Whole were turn-based, story-driven RPGs, South Park: Snow Day! tries something utterly different and delivers a sort of multiplayer matchmade action-adventure title, with some roguelike elements thrown in for fun.

South Park Snow Day Flame Wand
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Snow Day is a pretty straightforward beat-em-up action-style game. Your character equips two of six weapons, three each in the category of melee and ranged, and uses them alongside two of six chosen abilities to fight big waves of multi-classed enemies. Each weapon and ability is pretty varied in its playstyle, which makes up for the otherwise limited choices. Use your flatulence to gain the height ground and fall on enemies with twin daggers, or be a cat-urine-abusing wizard with a flamethrower wand. It’s a uniquely South Park-styled take on fantasy fighting games.

The combat is more or less solid if lacking in any real interesting depth. At its worst, it can be frustratingly slow, with enemies easily kiting you and the mission not progressing until every single one is dead. At its hardest, Snow Day will throw a lot of crowd control at you, freezing you in place, stunning you, slowing you down, or otherwise making it hard for you to interact with the game. I’m personally not a fan of games that rely on removing player control to increase difficulty, and there were certainly times when I felt the fights were lasting too long and the enemies were a bit too annoying to deal with.

While the game still contains a story, you take it on in five separate missions, accessed through the game’s hub location. You play these missions either solo with bots or matchmaker with players and clear through about three to four stages in each. A boss fight at the end wraps up each mission.

I would compare the game to Warhammer: Vermintide or even Left 4 Dead. Players who have played either know pretty much what to expect from the matchmaking system.

South Park Snow Day Kenny
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Each level features a bit of roguelike randomization. At the start of a mission, you select two modifiers to bring with you, chosen from a random assortment, and the enemy AI brings in four to six of their own. These are called “Bullshit Cards,” and they trigger at random through a mission to drastically switch things up for the players.

The difficulty of your game is determined entirely by which bullshit cards the AI manages to draw at the start. Most are mild inconveniences at best, but some, namely one exploding arrow modifier, can mean the instant death of a run if you’re not super careful.

At the end of each mission segment, Jimmy (and sometimes Henrietta) will show up to sell you roguelike perk cards that randomly modify the rest of your run. However, these are lost when you lose or complete the mission.

South Park: Snow Day! is clearly designed to be replayed almost endlessly after you complete the story, but I have to say, I didn’t find much of a reason to go back and replay any of the game’s five campaign missions after I reached the story’s resolution.

South Park Snow Day Balrug
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

Sure, beating the game unlocks difficulty modifiers for each mission, and the randomized effects mean no two times playing a mission should be the same. However, I really only found myself playing through Snow Day to get to the cutscenes. The gameplay was at best an okay addition to, and at worst a tedious roadblock from advancing the story. Once it was done, I felt no reason to touch the title again.

All and all, South Park: Snow Day! was an enjoyable, if at times a bit tedious, short experience, taking me just about four hours to finish the story and unlock everything I felt like unlocking. There were no bugs or performance issues I can recall, save for an annoying habit of the music to fade out whenever an enemy made so much as a peep. For $30, this title is a fine continuation of the South Park game series and is better enjoyed with friends.

The Final Word

South Park: Snow Day! bravely departs from the series’ previous installments, offering something new and interesting as well as a continuation of a beloved story for fans. While the plot is interesting and full of that usual South Park charm, fans might not find too much of a reason to engage in the game’s intended replayability, with the game clocking in at a short but satisfying 4-5 hours.


7

Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! South Park: Snow Day! is available on Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch.

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