Krill the crab in Another Crab's Treasure.

Another Crab's Treasure review

A seaworthy mashup of platform game and soulslike.

(Image: © Aggro Crab)

Our Verdict

An undersea soulslike that's cute and compelling, though weirdly crass.

PC Gamer's got your back Our experienced team dedicates many hours to every review, to really get to the heart of what matters most to you. Find out more about how we evaluate games and hardware.

Need to Know

What is it? A soulslike/platformer hybrid starring a hermit crab.
Release date April 25, 2024
Expect to pay TBA
Developer Aggro Crab
Publisher Aggro Crab
Reviewed on Gigabyte G5 laptop
Steam Deck Playable
Link Official site 

The most fun I’ve had with a soulslike since Elden Ring. The less self-serious take on the genre I wanted Lies of P to be. FromSoftware should just go ahead and cancel Shadow of the Erdtre… OK, now we’re moving from possible hyperbole to outright lies. But I honestly stand by the first two. Another Crab’s Treasure is a joke game that takes being a great soulslike seriously. It's a charming, creative platformer with terrific combat and a good eye for both pretty scenery and silly sight gags. But it also contains the line "This is a coddamn shipshow!" so I’ll respect any demands to take 80 points off its score.

You’re a hermit crab called Krill who’s had his shell stolen by a literal loan shark (ho ho). So begins an oceanwide quest to get it back which involves hitting a lot of hostile sea life with a fork. Apparently there’s no stamina underwater so all you have to worry about is getting as many hits in as you can then leaping out of the way before being hit back. Actually, that’s a pretty big worry considering how vulnerable poor Krill is without his shell.

Luckily, there are replacement shells everywhere. They’re able to block a few attacks before shattering, forcing you to quickly scurry to find another. This might sound tedious but it’s actually one of the game’s best ideas. Shell’s have unique powers; a sushi roll gives appalling defence, but you can chow down on it mid-battle to restore health. A rubber duck can be thrown to act as a decoy while you scamper away. The soda can make me laugh when I see Krill waddling about in it. All handy skills for different situations, and because they break so easily, you’re encouraged to try them all. You can buy shell insurance for your favourites too, letting you spawn with one at every bonfire. (They’re not called bonfires, but come now, we’re all friends here.) 

(Image credit: Aggro Crab)

Combat does a fine impression of Dark Souls’ sword fighting, with every enemy having a health bar to cut down and another Sekiro-like bar that, once filled up, gives you a chance to stun your foe and get some free hits in. It begins to truly sing once you unlock the grappling hook, letting you yank enemies towards you for a good forkin’. Delightfully, to successfully hook bigger prey you’ll have to nail a fun little fishing mini-game which mixes surprisingly perfectly with soulslike swordplay. Master it and boss battles become brilliant tug-of-wars with a lovely sense of flow. 

Customisation is fairly limited. There’s only four stats to level up. But that also makes this a more approachable take on a genre that could use more of those. Fail a boss fight and you’re respawned right outside the arena with all your currency ready to be picked back up, enemies occasionally drop health, and there’s even a somewhat helpful map tucked away in the pause screen. And if you’re really struggling, there are plenty of smart difficulty options to tweak. In fact, with its cute characters, bright aesthetic, and approachable difficulty, I wondered if I was potentially playing the first soulslike for younger gamers. Until one of the crabs started talking…

Das Crabital

(Image credit: Aggro Crab)

Now, you don’t write for PC Gamer unless you have at least a little fondness for puns. I spent hours of the only life I’ll ever have thinking up awful ones for the headings of this review (Dark Soles, Seakiro, Blubblubblubborne, Elden Herring… I’d best start rehearsing my Games Media Awards speech). So I consider the astonishing number of puns in Another Crab’s Treasure a feature, not a bug. There are also constant satirical jabs at my beloved capitalism, which are about as subtle as being punched by Bernie Sanders. Still, I liked the crab who learns incredibly slowly that a workforce is being exploited (he comes to this conclusion long after many of them have perished).

I’m far less enthralled with the script’s tiresome habit of ‘hiding’ swearing with puns. We’re talking constant substitutions of "crab" for "crap" and truly crab lines like "coddamn shipshow". Yes, I know I’ve repeated that one, but so does the game. A later boss just started outright saying "aw shit". Not every cutesy game has to be a Pixar movie, of course, but this adult dreck still feels tonally off with the rest of the game. With a few adjustments this could have been a great entry point to the genre, the perfect choice for bad parents to turn their offspring into the tiresome Elden Ring stans/socialists of tomorrow. There’s enough good characters and genuinely funny lines in it that I still spoke to every NPC, but this really could have used an editor, or someone pushing Tim Schafer overboard for a script pass.

(Image credit: Aggro Crab)

In fact, the game’s levels are highly reminiscent of Psychonauts, except with good platforming. The script misses more than it hits but the visual jokes are constantly delightful. The treasure map that drives most of the plot is a children’s maze on the back of a cereal box. Lobsters charge at you like knights on horseback except they’re using toilet brushes as jousting poles. One of the difficulty options is "give Krill a gun" which just turns his shell into a one-hit-kill handgun.  

They’ve done a fantastic job of making each area of the ocean look distinct too. An eerily beautiful deep dark area is full of terrifying anglerfish that haven’t been this traumatising since Finding Nemo. An ancient undersea city is genuinely striking, but whenever the haunting piano goes into overdrive and it comes close to turning into yet another pretentious fantasy soulslike, a crucial moment will have Krill flushing himself down a toilet or using bleach bottle bubbles as platforms. The push-and-pull between an epic oceanic odyssey and a game where crabs wear dresses made from those little silicon gel packets you get in new shoes is a delight to splash about in. I’ve forgotten or repressed most of the worst dialogue at this point, but I still think back on my battle with a hungry crab armed with a knife and fork, who gobbles you up if you don’t dodge their finisher, with a smile.

Soar subject

(Image credit: Aggro Crab)

Dark Souls, one of the best games of all time, thought holding down the run button and then clicking the analogue stick was an acceptable way to let the player jump. Luckily Another Crab’s Treasure is a far more competent platformer. You get a dedicated jump button (wow!) and Krill has a very limited ability to swim that lets you float a little further. Mario doesn't need to be worried for his job but it’s still a fun 3D jump-‘em-up where you dread the combat bits for the right reasons, and the platforming helps it stand out from the increasingly crowded soulslike pack. Considering how much these games are about exploring, it's surprising that someone hasn’t thought to combine the platformer and the soulslike already, because they slot together great here. It’s a little janky— I wouldn’t say no to a patch that stops me occasionally getting stuck in the scenery—but I mostly loved leaping around its hostile waters for secrets.

Doesn’t hurt either that Krill is a lovely lead crab. He cries ‘no no no no no!’ when you let yourself get hit by an unblockable attack and cheers whenever you level up, instantly making a crab the most relatable soulslike protagonist of all time. He’s optimistic, sympathetic, and even has a nice little character arc. He’s yet another pleasant surprise in a game full of them. Shipshow? Actually, this is often krilliant! God I hate myself.

The Verdict
Another Crab's Treasure

An undersea soulslike that's cute and compelling, though weirdly crass.