Another Crab’s Treasure looks to bring some color to the Soulslike realm without compromising on darkness

Since Dark Souls first launched in 2011, the sub-genre that spawned from it has steadily increased in popularity. I’m all for it. I love the Soulslike formula, happily diving into anything new that arrives on the scene. But, they look to copy one another a little too closely, something Another Crab’s Treasure wants to avoid. At least partly.

While there are a few exceptions, most entries in the Soulslike realm have worlds devoid of bright colors. They often lean into dark fantasy, with unsightly creatures running about and screaming. Even The Surge 2, which had the potential for more bright locales with its sci-fi approach, has a certain level of grime that makes the world feel dark even when it’s not. 

Another Crab’s Treasure has pretty locales

And that’s by no means a bad thing. These games often promise a brutality difficult challenge that simply wouldn’t suit a bright and colorful world with cheery music as the soundtrack. But, with that said, it does make the genre feel a little stale. 

Likewise, the more mediocre entries seem worse for not veering far away enough from Dark Souls’ moroseness formula. Mortal Shell and Thymesia are great examples. Both are solid games, yet they feel lesser because their settings are uninspired. Another Crab’s Treasure, meanwhile, is stepping out on its own with a colorful world, and I think it’s needed right now.

It takes place in an undersea kingdom, which, as you can see from the screenshots, is peppered with more color than most Soulslikes. Admittedly, it has muted tones for the most part, but it still has a more cheerful look than most of its genre contemporaries.

And that’s important here. Not just because it makes everything visually pleasant but because it potentially helps reinforce the narrative. You see, while Another Crab’s Treasure’s palette extends beyond blacks, greys, and browns, it still maintains the melancholy of other Soulslikes under the surface, with the color playing a crucial role in hammering that home.

One crab’s trash is another’s treasure

You play as Kril, a cute little hermit crab who embarks on a journey to buy back their repossessed shell. Throughout your adventure, you will discover new shells to wear into battle that will help protect you from foes many times your size. However, those ‘shells’ are bits of trash that have floated down to the seabed. So, while they might help you in a pinch, their presence in the ocean is not good. 

And that’s why I believe the added color is crucial to Another Crab’s Treasure. It allows you to see the beauty of the underwater world and how pollution will destroy it, taking those impressive vistas away. So, while the game might start bright and cheerful, you can expect it to get darker, narratively and visually as you progress. For me, personally, seeing that loveliness decay is much more impactful than joining the story after its destruction.

But developer Aggro Crab has added an interesting layer to proceedings by making trash useful. Although it also brings an infection called the Gunk, you need trash to fashion new armor and weapons. So rather than point-blank having it be entirely bad, which is what you might expect, there appears to be some kind of balancing act at play. 

The underwater citizens have used it to fashion everyday items to help with their day-to-day lives. The impressive kingdoms you visit are partly constructed from garbage. I’m fascinated to see how this all ties together when the game launches later this month. 
Another Crab’s Treasure will release on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, and Xbox on April 25th.

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This Article was written by: Stephen Gregson-Wood