We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

South Park Snow Day review – chaotic roguelike fun with friends

South Park Snow Day sees a genre shift from its predecessors, making for a fun roguelike-inspired experience when played with friends.

South Park snow day review: Cartman in a wizard's hat and staff, and red jacket

Our Verdict

South Park Snow Day makes for chaotic, mindless fun when played with friends thanks to its roguelike-inspired upgrades and sense of humor, but it's a frustrating dud when going it alone.

A massive blizzard has hit South Park, causing devastation to homes and businesses, and claiming the lives of several locals. It’s a tragedy that isn’t showing any signs of letting up. People will be affected by this biblical event for years to come – but more importantly, the school has called a snow day.

South Park snow day review: our character trudges through the blanketed snow of South Park

Snow Day deviates from the other recent South Park games in several ways. For starters, it switches from 2D into 3D, and while it makes passing references to Obsidian’s The Stick of Truth and Ubisoft’s The Fractured But Whole, Snow Day is not a direct sequel, even if you resume your old role as the New Kid. Rather than opting for an RPG game approach, developer Question and publisher THQ Nordic up the pace and send you on frantic, bite-sized, roguelike-inspired missions to fight enemies and crush health-boosting Cheesy Poofs down your throat.

Among the chaos, you’ll also unlock and upgrade game-altering cards that introduce buffs for your team and nerfs for the opposition. In one of my first playthroughs, I face off against enemies who have managed to draw a mean selection of “bullshit” cards (no, really, that’s what they’re called). These cause my ranged weapons to misfire, turn my enemies invisible, and grant them powerful laser swords for a limited time. In Cartman’s own words – “I can’t believe this trash.”

South Park snow day review: dark ritual card selection

After barely scraping through that encounter, I opt to upgrade one of my cards so that enemies drop 70% more Toilet Paper – the game’s currency for buying new weapons and cosmetics. These upgrades are accompanied by Dark Ritual Cards, powerful variants that last for the entire playthrough and can also be buffed.

Mr Hankey makes an overdue and welcome return, bringing special powers with him this time. You’ll need to collect Dark Matter points to upgrade them and net yourself, among other buffs, increased maximum health and the distinction of “master bullshitter,” which lets you draw an additional Bullshit Card to take with you on your run. The weapon options are limited yet play quite differently, with a dagger, sword and shield, two-handed axe, bow, staff, and a fire-breathing wand that drops Molotovs once it’s out of fuel.

South Park Snow Day review: the perks selection screen

If this feels like a lot of mechanics for a game that takes around four hours to complete, that’s because it is. The first mission plays out like an extended tutorial, with the group proceeding through several different, yet similar, combat areas that involve a rescue operation for poor Randy Marsh, who’s found himself stuck under the snow. After freeing him, he’ll disappear without a word of thanks, taking any semblance of a narrative with him. What he does bring is the game’s first real South Park humor, poking fun at the Covid-19-inspired hoarding of toilet paper. Yes, it’s a little dated. You’re then faced with Kyle The Elf King who, despite being a boss, has a grand total of two different attack patterns. Enter the almost-identical areas, defeat enemies, take on a final boss, and repeat.

South Park Snow Day review: Kyle the Elf King

Snow Day shines brightest when you group up with friends. This is the first South Park game to offer multiplayer, and blasting flames into enemies while your teammates collect condoms and other nonsensical items to repair a faulty catapult soon descends into joyful chaos. However, if you switch out your friends for some bots, you’ll find they often wander around behind you instead of attacking, leaving you to do all the hard work.

South Park Snow Day review: randy marsh is trapped under an ice cave

Maybe it’s a case of expecting too much from the promised first-time roguelike multiplayer experience, or maybe it’s the comparison to former South Park games with a stronger narrative, but Snow Day’s weak single-player, overabundance of mechanics, and thin storyline means the game isn’t good for much beyond some mindless fun with your friends.