Games: South Park: Snow Day! offers a bland 3D action romp starring Cartman and co

The new South Park game is a far cry from the glory days of The Stick of Truth

Cartman in South Park: Snow Day
Cartman and co are dealing with inclement weather in the new South Park game

South Park: Snow Day! (Multi, THQ)

WHEN it first sullied our screens in 1997, South Park was like nothing else on television. As crude as it was crudely animated, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s middle finger to pop-culture made The Simpsons look like The Archers, over the years shifting from gross-out humour to topical satire.

Yet, despite being keen gamers, Matt and Trey’s videogame resume was a decidedly mixed bag until 2014′s Stick of Truth, which saw their Colorado posse star in a Tolkien-esque role-player. It was a gloriously sick puppy matched only by its superhero-tinged sequel.

Which makes it all the more disappointing that the latest South Park cash-in turns the show’s trademark construction paper look into a bland 3D action romp.

When South Park is pelted with a snowstorm, Cartman and co enjoy a day off school, letting their imaginations run riot in a fantasy war where elves and humans do battle.

A 3D mix of shooting and beat ‘em up with RPG trappings, players – as the New Kid - battle the town’s youths in Tolkien cosplay, beefing up basic attacks with cards and hoarding bog roll to upgrade stats.

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Aside from punching, shooting and farting on kindergarteners, special moves can be unleashed when you build up your P****d Off meter, while a card system lets players pick two powers before each level that determine which buffs and upgrades you and your enemy receive.

The highlight is the game’s Bulls*** cards, which amount to ultimate moves.

South Park: Snow Day

Intentionally overpowered and taking inspiration from the average 10-year-old’s rule-breaking nonsense, activating these can bring anything from invisibility and laser eyes to meteor strikes. It’s a glorious bit of nonsense that’s, sadly, in short supply for most of Snow Day. 

With floaty movement, spongey combat and a bargain-basement shift to 3D that manages to look cheaper than the decade-old Stick of Truth, its gameplay – which amounts to little more than chipping away at health bars - is straight from the N64 era.

South Park: Snow Day!

Yet, while fugly to look at, Snow Day at least has a good personality, with a vulgar dose of South Park’s trademark muck and fun interactions with iconic characters. And, by getting a release on Switch, even Nintendo’s innocents get a chance to wallow in the filth.

Lacking the charm of the franchise’s previous two showstoppers, even the budget price of admission can’t save this pile of yellow snow from appealing to only the most ardent of fans, who’ll be goin’ down to South Park to have themselves a rather disappointing time.