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Another Crab's Treasure brings something truly fresh to Xbox Game Pass and the Soulslike genre

It may seem obvious, but Another Crab's Treasure does one thing that sets itself apart from its rivals.

Another Crab's treasure official screenshot
Image credit: Aggro Crab

It's no secret that various developers have taken solid cracks at the Soulslike genre in the wake of Dark Souls' industry-shaking impact on the industry. Why wouldn't they? Intricate third person action games with an emphasis on patience and perserverance have not only proved refreshing to gamers looking for a bit of bite to their games, but are also financially viable for developers looking to make a hit for a dedicated fanbase. Another Crab's Treasure is one-such game. But this oceanic title has one quirk that feels like a breeze of fresh sea air.

While Lies of P, The Surge, Lords of the Fallen, Remnant and more all have their merits, Another Crab's Treasure takes a step away from its inspiration in a way I frankly believe is quite brave. It's vibrant, and does not take itself too seriously. The core of a great Soulslike is there, but without some vague attempt to replicate the dour vibes of its peers. Another Crab's Treasure makes an argument for the separation of the nail-biting, anxiety-ridden experience the Dark Souls series established from the typical themes that surround it.

If you use your Xbox Game Pass subscription to check out Another Crab's Treasure, as well as the various other Soulslike games on the service, you'll recognise this within moments of booting it up. One could say it's the whole selling point, beyond telling an environmental message. Another Crab's Treasure is deeply, deeply funny. It embraces the silly little crab adventure theme and scuttles around with it.

But why is this actually a big deal? Well, when you pick a dire tone that compliments an oppresive approach to gameplay like the Souls series and the majority of its compemporaries do, you get this wonderful synergy between the world you're playing in and the experience of actually playing it. It's a great immersion factor. You're along for the ride with your Tarnished, Chosen Undead, etc. Their David vs Goliath journey is your own - they wield the sword while you're gripping the controller. Dark Souls exemplifies why this is important, but so do games like Doom (2016) and Mechwarrior with their massive custom controllers and seventeen miliion buttons. Nailing this interplay is a sign of a well-designed video game, and has been for years.

However, you can subvert this tried-and-true method too. When done well, you get some truly hilarious results. Look to the darker subject matter spliced with cutesy characters in games such as Spooky's House of Jumpscares or Slay the Princess for a masterclass in presentation subversion. Frog Fractions, Doki Doki Literature Club. When the substance of your game goes against the surface level, you can shock and genuinely tickle your audience. Another Crab's Treasure is in the same boat, or rather below it. It looks like this lovely adventure with a cute little guy looking for his shell. It is that - but so much more. A challenging game that packs as much of a punch as others in its genre.

This, as well as the game's general quality in various other areas, is why I reckon Another Crab's Treasure will be remembered fondly for years to come, something you can't neccessarily say about many other games that've tried to follow in Dark Souls' footsteps. No shade! Presentation counts for a lot, and Aggro Crab's young, mostly junior team understands that well. Like the game itself, the studio is a sprouting punch-up with a lot of new ideas.

I didn't get the chance to review Another Crab's Treasure - I was drowning in cake courtesy of the Stellar Blade bakery ahead of launch. But, having played it post-launch like the rest of you, I can safely say Another Crab's Treasure was a pleasant surprise and one I'll be bothering all my friends about for the next few months. If you've got Game Pass, or a few bucks free for a Steam purchase, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

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