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South Park: Snow Day Review

Humor alone can't save this latest adaptation of the hit TV show

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South Park has been ingrained in popular culture for decades, as the show's edgy humor and timely commentary made it a hit with audiences across the world. The slapstick humor and curse-laden dialogue being delivered by underage characters has always struck a chord with the teen audiences, so the creators did try to take advantage of the potentially huge overlap between those who enjoy the show also likely being gamers. Following the big-budget successes of Ubisoft-led RPG games in 2014 and 2017, the boys are back in a quite different, lower-budget approach focused on action in South Park: Snow Day.

South Park: Snow Day

As the name implies, the game takes place during a snow day in the town of South Park. The opening cutscene, that seems like it was taken straight from the show, has Eric extremely excited that a blizzard has swept into town, and this means school is cancelled. He invites the new kid (the players) to go out and join the boys in another round of magic themed adventures in the snowbanks. The game starts off as usual, fighting against Kyle's elves, and then Stan's soldiers, and eventually some other enemies. The kids discover that perhaps the blizzard was not just a regular weather event, but rather a spell that someone has cast onto the town, and they must put an end to it.

The story is fairly thin, as might be expected in an action game targeting co-operative multiplayer and replayability, but there are nonetheless a few good cutscenes, and lots of trademark humor from the series. Most of the jokes land, and although Cartman is the primary character, the usual main cast that includes Kyle, Stan, and Kenny get their moment to shine, alongside cameos from other well-known characters. From the usual assortment of cursing, toilet humor, minor drama, and occasional meta-references to The Stick of Truth and The Fractured but Whole, the game successfully adapts the show's style. It also undoubtedly benefits from the actual show creators being involved, which means that the voice acting is also authentic. Just like the show, not every reference or joke is equally effective – such as the game's focus on toilet paper being valuable as a currency, which feels a few years out of date – but it's amusing at the very least.

Snow Day is a 3D roguelite third-person action game, letting players customize their own kid character and then venture out into one of five levels. The customization is decent, and lets you wear all kinds of clothing and capes, along with different facial features and hats. Kupa Keep is the base of operations where you can run between different vendors before starting a level, though the same functions can also be just accessed through the menu.

As the new kid, you battle your way through the levels to reach the final boss at the end, and progress the story. The levels take place across various parts of town, from the wooded park to the central street complete with familiar storefronts. Everything is covered in snow and ice, and there are occasional brief detours that may contain a treasure chest or an extra vendor to interact with. Snow banks also factor into the gameplay, as they provide temporary respite from ranged attacks but staying too long will make you freeze and lose health. The levels are also split into sections, with loading screens in-between, which allows the game to change things up in future excursions. Should you perish, the entire level must be restarted, though you do get to keep whatever currency was acquired on that run. Levels can last between 30 to 45 minutes, so it is a decent balance between being annoyed at lost progress and having to replay it again, and feeling motivated enough to do so.

South Park: Snow Day

Before starting the run, players get to choose their weapon and ability loadout. There are four melee weapons that get gradually unlocked, such as a pair of daggers and a sword and shield, and four ranged weapons, which include a bow and a fireball casting wand. You can bring one melee and one ranged weapon into the level, and they have different utilities. You also get two special abilities from a selection of eight, including a healing totem, a temporary shield bubble, a ramming ability, a vortex that sucks in enemies, and some others. The abilities can be used when you have enough of the "pissed-off" meter filled, by participating in combat. All of these choices are central to finding your preferred playstyle, as well as synchronizing with the team. There are no weapons or abilities that target specific enemy types or hazards, so it's purely whatever works best for you.

With the loadout set, you enter the level but there is one more key selection to be made, and that is the cards you've been dealt. Snow Day features a card-style system, reminiscent of Back 4 Blood and similar implementations. At the start of the level, you are given a choice of three BS cards (yes, you know what that stands for), which are special powerful abilities that can be used just 2-3 times per level. These include laser beam eyes, turning yourself into a giant, or spawning plumes of toxic gas around you (yes, you know what the gas is). The other card you choose is a passive boost to one of the weapons or abilities you've selected in your loadout, such as increased damage for daggers when attacking enemies from behind, increased ranged to the totem healing pole, and so on.

At the end of each section of a level, you also get to meet the vendor again and get yourself another card to boost something else. Using toilet paper as currency, which you find throughout the level by breaking containers and defeating enemies, you can upgrade the card you're dealt, or ask for a new shuffle of bonuses to choose from. The enemies also get a few cards to use during the level, which are revealed at the start. Their BS cards and special cards include also turning into giants, reviving fallen friends, becoming invisible vampires, turning your weapon into a foam noodle, and more. The card system is designed well enough, and is central to keeping the experience diverse to encourage replayability, with increasing difficulty during random moments of the level.

There are three currencies to collect. The toilet paper is used for upgrading cards during the levels, and the PP currency is spent at clothing vendor to unlock new cosmetic items. Dark matter (yes, you know what it is) is the third currency, and it's used to unlock permanent character boosts, such as dealing more melee and ranged damage, getting more benefits from healing, and simply moving and climbing faster. The fact that an entire branch focuses on speed and mobility only reinforces the questionable gameplay design of simply blindly spamming attacks as quickly as possible. It also would have been nice to improve the gathering radius of the currency drops, as it seems far too small and you can often leave things behind.

South Park: Snow Day

But while it sounds and feels like an authentic slice of the show, and the card and upgrade systems are decent, the gameplay is where things begin to fall apart a little. As a fast-paced brawler, you run through the linear levels, and in certain sections the enemy kids will attack. You will simply hack and slash at them, while also being able to use your ranged weapon, dodge, and jump. Initially, the combat is simplistic and easy on Normal difficulty, but things ramp up with uneven frequency. The controls do not feel all that precise, and none of the weapons are satisfying to use, nor do they carry a sense of impact. Ranged weapons are also very awkward to use, with the camera positioning itself far too close and behind your character, so it's difficult to see where you're aiming. Especially with the fire wand, arcing your fireballs is annoying and they almost never reach their target anyway despite the location of the target indicator.

Towards the later stages of the game, it just becomes an annoying and almost emotionless click-fest as you endlessly attack swarms of enemies in combat-heavy levels. You almost uncontrollably dash around doing the basic melee combos, get bogged down on focusing a single enemy, while a swarm of others surrounds you, and ranged foes pick away at your health bar. The game needed more enemy balancing as even with upgrades to your abilities, enemies on Normal difficulty are just annoying to deal with in the final levels. If you are not careful, you can easily get downed quickly as well – but thankfully you can get revived by a teammate (or by the healing totem if that card was acquired for that run) .

The enemy variety is quite vast, though poorly explained. You can get grabbed, frozen, sick from the "gas", which all can temporarily stop you in place or deal significant damage. Enemies also have casters, healers, and ranged damage dealers – from arrows to fire bombs. In addition to the fast paced combat, having to deal with so many different threats can be overstimulating, and so you just begin to dash around with little regard for strategy, as the ground gets covered in various colors and you are never really sure what they do. You assume to target spell casters first, though the game never makes any suggestions or explanations regarding enemy types. Enemies thankfully do not focus their fire on you exclusively, even when playing with AI teammates, which allows you to have moments of respite.

Co-operative play is at the center of the gameplay, but if you don't want to play with others online, AI teammates will spawn during battle moments to help out. They actually do fairly well, and keep themselves alive as well as revive you when needed. Considering that the enemy AI behavior is fairly generic and often exploitable, it's nice to see that at least friendly AI doesn't cause annoyances. It is a bit strange that they only spawn during combat and then de-spawn; it would have been fine if they just stuck around the whole level and followed the player around as you do a few moments of exploring and currency gathering.

South Park: Snow Day

If you do choose to play with other players, either by matchmaking or private lobbies, you can begin to work together on complementary ability loadouts and card selections, in order to tackle the Hard difficulty. Hot-join is a nice feature, and connectivity seems fine. Considering that the game can be completed in about 4-6 hours, the multiplayer and replayability is where it hopes to provide some longevity. And while the card system, and a few different level objective variations can let you squeeze a couple more hours from it, ultimately the gameplay just isn't all that engaging or fun, even with friends. It is only $30, but it still treads that fine line in the snow a little too close to the edge for offering too little value.

The game's art style also takes a little time to get used to. It's a 3D game, but it uses the familiar 2D characters from the show, which is a bit jarring at first, kind of like when the show changed its intro to a 3D style. But being in 3D is of course necessary for this type of action game, and after a while you get used to it, especially since most of the camera cutscenes do look at the characters from the front. The visuals themselves are quite underwhelming, with crude effects, lackluster environmental detail, and basic textures. It doesn't quite scream mobile-focused, but it again treads a yellow line in the snow. The user interface is barebones, and a bit unpleasant, with basic icons and an ugly looking oversized revive circle when players are downed. The game at least runs well, with full mouse / keyboard support and no performance issues or crashes noted.

South Park: Snow Day is a middling action game adapted from the world of the foul-mouthed TV show. It has the look and involvement from the show, which helps with writing and joke delivery, as well as the authentic voice actors. Most of the jokes work, or at least amuse. The randomization elements help extend the runtime a little bit. But as the core gameplay is so dull and often repetitive, with endless clicking that lacks feedback and enemies that absorb too much damage, it becomes a grind sooner than it should. At the $30 asking price, it just barely squeaks by the BS meter to deliver a few hours of fun, and there is probably enough here to recommend to fans of the show. And if nothing else, it might just make you want to go watch or re-watch a few episodes instead – making it a decently successful use of the license, if nothing else.

Our ratings for South Park: Snow Day on PC out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Presentation
60
The art style takes some getting used to, and while it is authentic to the show, the environments are lackluster and visual quality quite basic.
Gameplay
50
The action feels dull and despite the variety of different gameplay modifiers, things become repetitive within a few hours.
Single Player
55
A nice slice of authentic South Park, but otherwise a very brief experience.
Multiplayer
65
Playing with others may help extend the runtime, but there's still not enough here to engage with long-term.
Performance
(Show PC Specs)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5700X
GPU: AMD 6700 XT 12GB
RAM: 16GB DDR4
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
PC Specs

75
No major issues. Occasional minor stutters and camera glitches.
Overall
60
South Park: Snow Day is an authentic adaptation that has a couple of decent ideas, but the drab combat and a short runtime leave it stuck in a snowbank, to be rescued only by the faithful fans of the show.
Comments
South Park: Snow Day
South Park: Snow Day box art Platform:
PC
Our Review of South Park: Snow Day
60%
Adequate
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
South Park: Snow Day is ranked #1697 out of 1968 total reviewed games. It is ranked #18 out of 23 games reviewed in 2024.
1697. South Park: Snow Day
1698. Open Roads
PC
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South Park: Snow Day
8 images added 20 days ago
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