South Park: Snow Day! review: Grab your sword and snowballs

South Park: Snow Day mixes up the formula with a roguelike setup and fully 3D models while staying true to what makes the franchise great.


I grew up in Australia where access to snow is reserved for those who manage to either travel overseas or visit one specific area of the country in the three days where snow is possible. However, the concept of a snow day did not escape me, especially as a kid. It always seemed like a magical experience, with school being canceled and the endless possibilities of playtime with friends stretching out before you. South Park: Snow Day! nails this idea of having a day off school with your mates as you all gather together to concoct some incredible new game to play.

Unsupervised playtime

South Park: Snow Day sees you return to the titular small town in Colorado as the New Kid. As luck would have it, you won’t be going to school today, as a horrendous blizzard has shut down the town, leading to a loss of food, toilet paper becoming the most valuable currency, and plenty of deaths. But as a kid, you don’t have to worry about any of this, you just need to get to Kupa Keep and confer with Cartman at his war table.

Clyde, Cartman, and Butter sit at the War Table
Snow Day sees the kids put on their fantasy costumes once more.
Source: THQ Nordic

The story the kids have made blasts off with Cartman revealing the elves are planning an attack on Kupa Keep. From here, it’ll be your job to defeat your foes, gain allies, and try to work out what’s going on with this unnaturally persistent blizzard.

As far as South Park stories go, this one is light on plot, with the developers opting for a more simplified arc. It’s an understandable move, considering the gameplay isn’t like the previous titles and is instead tailored toward a roguelike experience. It makes it easier to get into the fight and replay encounters. In saying that, the moment-to-moment dialogue remains packed full of your typical South Park humor, with crude jokes and double entendres, but it does lack the punch we've come to expect from the series.

Grab your sword with both hands

The player stands in an ice cavern looking down on enemies
Players will fight through areas, defeating kids of various types, in a bid to reach the boss and have them join your cause.
Source: Shacknews

The combat and visuals in South Park: Snow Day are handled in a slightly different manner compared to the previous titles. The graphics are now fully 3D, adding a literal new dimension to the experience as you explore iconic South Park environments and speak with the residents of the town.

As for combat, you’ll be fighting groups of kids with various fantasy-themed abilities. One button will perform standard attacks, another shoots your ranged weapon, while a couple are dedicated to special moves that use Pissed Off energy. But the real interesting element here is that these attacks are augmented by a collectible card system.

Jimmy offers three cards to pick from
Jimmy offers cards after each section of a mission. By the end, you'll have a handful of powered-up cards constantly affecting your abilities.
Source: Shacknews

As you play through a mission, you’ll run into Jimmy who’ll let you pick a card out of a few options. These cards have effects like increasing your attacks’ bleed damage, turning your magic fire wand into an arching lightning attack, and letting something like your area-of-effect heal totem revive nearby allies. While you know that the cards Jimmy offers will affect your current equipment, you’re never too sure what he’ll have. You’ll be crafting your build along the way, putting together something that, hopefully, makes you more powerful.

As Cartman puts it early on, this card system is in a bid to stop people becoming overpowered. However, Jimmy is more than happy to increase the rarity of your cards, provided you’re able to bribe him with rolls of toilet paper, which you’ll collect from enemies and find stashed around the levels.

The player uses moves and abilities in the wave defense mode
To Danse with Ravenous Shadows offers a break from the roguelike in favor of wave defense.
Source: Shacknews

It’s a unique setup and one that manages to keep the power creep in check. It also means that subsequent playthroughs can feel fresh. You might choose to have another run at the campaign with completely different weapons and special moves. This will see you discovering brand new cards and maybe some new favorites.

The real magic of the combat comes when you can team up with a couple of friends and really ratchet up the difficulty. Build coordination becomes important as you work together to figure out who is taking what and how best to complement one another’s builds. I opted for a greataxe I could spin around and a black hole that pulled enemies in. My wife went down the automated turret route with a flame-spewing wand. The two computer-controlled characters that jump into your party during combat use different things, and although their AI can be extremely dumb at times, they at least fill the void if you can’t get a full squad.

The player chooses from three Bullshit cards
At the start of a mission, you'll choose two cards that affect your abilities and one Bullshit card that has limited uses.
Source: Shacknews

While the cards do become far more powerful, especially as you bribe Jimmy to upgrade them through the standard rarity scaling (Common through to Ultra Legendary), the developers have done well to make them feel fair. However, kids will be kids, and there are extraneous rules that can be enacted to dramatically improve you and your allies for a short time. These special cards are literally called Bullshit cards and they do outlandish things like give you laser eyes for a short time, let you turn invisible, or rain meteors from the sky – things that definitely fall outside of the fantasy theme but feel exactly like the sort of shenanigans kids try to pull off when playing with one another.

Meet some friends of mine

Cartman and Kyle stare each other down
Though the story is short, everything you love about South Park is on display in Snow Day.
Source: THQ Nordic

South Park, as a platform for storytelling, has always managed to nail that sense of bizarre, off-the-wall stories and social commentary while remembering that these are just kids, often playing and having fun. While the story doesn't hit the same highs as the TV series, South Park: Snow Day does a tremendous job of making you feel like you’re just one of the kids in the town, enjoying the magic of a day off.

There’s this real sense that you’re just playing make-believe with your pals. The combat will be intense and explosive, but when the snow settles, you’ll look around and realize the kids you’ve just dealt haemorrhage damage to and burnt to a crisp aren’t lying on the ground dead, they’re making snow angels.

This playful creativity extends into all areas of the game too. The cards you pick during a mission are logged in your collectible card binder so you can flick through when you’re back at the hub. What’s more, each one is drawn in a delightful, childlike way. It’s the sort of drawing I can see the kids working hard on as they sit around their war table, creating rules to ensure the New Kid doesn’t become OP again.

The Dark Matter upgrade screen showing the brain
Dark Matter lets you give yourself permanent upgrades so even a failed mission can lead to more power.
Source: Shacknews

While it can be a bit frustrating to die on the final section of a mission and have to start over, the levels are reasonably short. This frustration is further alleviated in that the areas that connect the major set pieces together are randomized and much like other roguelikes, forward progress is still made even in death. You’ll collect Dark Matter along your journey that you can use to upgrade your base stats at Mr Hanky, improving your health, damage output, and how much Pissed Off energy you accrue when attacking. In saying this, it is extremely frustrating to restart a mission because your AI teammates revived you 80 percent of the way and then walked off and died.

It might not be the most in-depth roguelike out there, but South Park: Snow Day manages to remain interesting even after you’ve beaten it. A new character will begin appearing that offers contracts that must be completed in-mission to earn rewards or you can return to the hub and play Henrietta’s wave defense mode. Called To Danse with Ravenous Shadows, this horde mode has you defeating waves of foes using the same card system as the campaign. You’ll discover new cards and continue to earn Dark Matter as you make progress.

Just one more snow day, please?

A character stands looking at the South Park boys
The hub world is where you'll prepare for missions, change your gear, and purchase new cosmetic items.
Source: Shacknews

South Park: Snow Day! does a great job at delivering a new type of genre in the South Park setting while nailing everything we’ve come to love about the franchise. As vulgar and hilariously uncouth as it can be, there’s a charm to it that takes me back to my childhood, enjoying a day off and playing with friends, even if I’ve never had a snow day. If you’re looking for a roguelike you can play with a few pals, South Park: Snow Day! will have you laughing and yelling as you hack, slash, and cast spells at kids, and of course, fart on Cartman whenever possible.

This review is based on a PC code provided by the publisher. South Park: Snow Day! is schedueld to release on March 26, 2024 on PC, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can message him on X: @SamuelChandler 

  • Great use of the South Park setting, characters & comedy
  • Roguelike genre makes for fast missions & replay value
  • Combat is intense & frenetic
  • To Danse with Ravenous Shadows' wave defense is a neat addition
  • A fairly light story
  • AI squad members can be dumb
  • Can be frustrating to fall in the final sections and have to restart a level
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