We're looking for new writers to join us!

South Park: Snow Day!

South Park: Snow Day!

Written by Eric Hauter on 4/2/2024 for PC  
More On: South Park: Snow Day

I am an enormous South Park fan. I’ve been watching the show since it premiered on Comedy Central, and while I sometimes fall away for a year or two at a time, I always find the time to catch back up with old episodes – including the Paramount Plus “events” that have made HBO so angry (whatever, screw you David Zaslav, you destroyer of content).

As a longtime fan, I fondly remember struggling with the near-unplayable N64 game based on the early seasons of the program. Interestingly, that was the last time I can recall seeing South Park and its residents rendered in 3D, until the arrival of South Park Snow Day. Though I’ve played every South Park game since then, including the weird Chef-hosted trivia game and the excellent Zen Studios pinball tables, I’ve felt that it wasn’t until the arrival of the excellent and widely beloved Ubisoft/Obsidian RPGs that someone did the franchise justice. Those games allowed the characters and setting room to breathe, and left the player feeling as though they had experienced a unique and fulfilling South Park adventure.

Two steps forward, one step back, I suppose, as South Park Snow Day feels far less like the product of years of love and care than the two games that came before it. To be fair, this is a budget title, retailing for half of what those sprawling and detailed RPGs cost upon release. But, strangely, those two games set such a precedent of quality that until now the name South Park actually carried a lot of weight in terms of videogame excellence.

Not to say that there isn’t some pleasure to be found while playing Snow Day. The game looks great, and the South Park characters can’t help but be funny. Still, Snow Day feels like a mediocre game with the South Park license elevating it a bit, as opposed to a game built around the franchise.

South Park Snow Day actually starts out pretty strongly. The game is centered around the idea that a terrible blizzard has struck South Park, to the point where people are dying in the streets of exposure. Of course, this is cause for great celebration for the kids of South Park Elementary, because it means that school is cancelled, and they can go out and engage in their war games. They hustle outside, past the dead and the dying, and get to work vying for territory.

The player once again takes on the role of the New Kid. Cartman quickly explains that the neighborhood kids have had to change up the rules of the game, since the old rules were rendered unplayable by “someone getting super O.P. and breaking the game”. This conceit is used to explain the switch from JRPG mechanics to a hack-n-slash structure. All of this setup plays out really well, and it had me amped to dig in and play.

Unfortunately, the actual gameplay isn’t nearly as interesting as the lore. For most of the game, players are funneled through some fairly linear areas, fighting endless waves of kindergartners with a mixture of melee and ranged combat. Though the game elicits a few chuckles at first from enemies falling to the ground and saying things like “I’m dead,” for the most part the battles feel like the same thing over and over again. Boss fights at the end of each level feel overly chaotic, and are mostly won by attrition. 

Players are able to select from three or four melee weapons and a few different ranged weapons (more unlock as you progress through the campaign), which can then be upgraded through an interesting roguelike card mechanic that allows you to buy upgrades from Jimmy and one of the Goth Kids as you play through each level. But in the end, most of the abilities feel very much the same, and there isn’t enough variety to keep the combat fresh. I found that the highly unpredictable ranged abilities were very much a wash until I upgraded them to the nth degree, so I primarily relied on hand-to-hand combat for most of the game.

You also get two powers that can be chosen from a pool of seven or eight, which can also be upgraded as you play through each level - but don’t get attached, your upgrades are only good until you beat that level’s boss. After that, it's back to square one. Despite unlocking all of the powers, I mostly stuck with two of the openers – a healing totem and the ability to launch myself in the air with a fart-burst, which serves to both get you out of tight spots and does a bit of damage to enemies, depending on how you upgrade it.

The last piece of your arsenal comes in the form of “Bullshit” powers, which are supposedly tide-turning ultimate moves that you can unleash a limited number of times per battle. I found these to be absolutely useless, as the battles are so chaotic that I often couldn’t detect any difference when I would fire them off. On the opposite end of the spectrum, enemy Bullshit cards were minor inconveniences, and were barely of consequence. So yeah, Bullshit cards are kinda bullshit.

South Park: Snow Day is made to be played with four players, similar to a Back 4 Blood. If you can’t muster three friends, the game will provide three fairly useless bots to accompany you in battle – though they disappear between combat sections. The best thing that can be said about the bots is that they tend to distract the kindergartners, tanking for you a little bit so you can work your way through the horde. But they seemed to do very little damage, and were inconsistent with their resurrects on the few occasions I went down.

The game consists of five levels, with trips in between to your homebase/hub area, where you can spend some in-game currency on incremental character upgrades. In all, it took me about five hours to work through the game solo. I got a few chuckles, and a sore thumb from button mashing.

I wouldn’t say that South Park Snow Day is a complete wash – when it goes on sale, players might consider picking it up for ten bucks and playing through with a few friends. But if you are looking for a game with any sort of depth or substance, you might want to just go back to The Stick of Truth or The Fractured But Whole. Snow Day is good for a light lark, but I’m thinking everyone might have been better off if school hadn’t been cancelled after all.

I would love to say that I loved South Park: Snow Day. But the shallow combat, light story, and general lack of depth made me feel like this game was just scraping the surface of what it could have been. Grab it on sale to play with buddies, but beyond that, stick with the classics.

Rating: 6.5 Below Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

South Park: Snow Day! South Park: Snow Day! South Park: Snow Day! South Park: Snow Day! South Park: Snow Day! South Park: Snow Day! South Park: Snow Day!

About Author

Howdy.  My name is Eric Hauter, and I am a dad with a ton of kids.  During my non-existent spare time, I like to play a wide variety of games, including JRPGs, strategy and action games (with the occasional trip into the black hole of MMOs). I am intrigued by the prospect of cloud gaming, and am often found poking around the cloud various platforms looking for fun and interesting stories.  I was an early adopter of PSVR (I had one delivered on release day), and I’ve enjoyed trying out the variety of games that have released since day one. I've since added an Oculus Quest 2 and PS VR2 to my headset collection.  I’m intrigued by the possibilities presented by VR multi-player, and I try almost every multi-player game that gets released.

My first system was a Commodore 64, and I’ve owned countless systems since then.  I was a manager at a toy store for the release of PS1, PS2, N64 and Dreamcast, so my nostalgia that era of gaming runs pretty deep.  Currently, I play on Xbox Series X, Series S, PS5, PS VR2, Quest 3, Switch, Luna, GeForce Now, (RIP Stadia) and a super sweet gaming PC built by John Yan.  While I lean towards Sony products, I don’t have any brand loyalty, and am perfectly willing to play game on other systems.

When I’m not playing games or wrangling my gaggle of children, I enjoy watching horror movies and doing all the other geeky activities one might expect. I also co-host the Chronologically Podcast, where we review every film from various filmmakers in order, which you can find wherever you get your podcasts.

Follow me on Twitter @eric_hauter, and check out my YouTube channel here

View Profile