I beat South Park: Snow Day without any help — these are my top 3 tips for a solo playthrough

Playing South Park: Snow Day on the Steam Deck
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It has been almost seven years since the last game in the series but it's finally time to go on down to South Park once again with the release of South Park: Snow Day.

However, when you arrive in the quiet, little mountain town of South Park, Colorado this time around, things are going to look quite a bit different than they did in 2014’s Stick of Truth or 2017’s Fractured But Whole. Instead of creating yet another 2.5D RPG, Matt Stone and Trey Parker have opted for a 3D world to give the game’s developers Question a bit more flexibility when building the world of South Park: Snow Day.

The turn-based role playing of the previous two games has also been replaced in favor of an action-adventure game that’s meant to be played cooperatively online with friends or with other players in public matches. This is quite the change to a formula that worked so well in both Stick of Truth and Fractured But Whole but once again, there’s a reason for it.

In an interview with IGN ahead of the game’s release, Stone explained that the team wanted to be able to quickly update the characters and to be able to add new content to the game in a way which is more inline with the show’s release schedule. Likewise, Snow Day writer Jameel Saleem explained in the same interview that while previous games felt more like a South Park movie, Snow Day is designed to be more like an episode of South Park. 

Besides switching genres, the latest South Park game also drew some inspiration from the popular roguelite Hades. Basically, this means that you can’t save your progress during any of the game’s five chapters but certain resources — like the game’s coveted dark matter — carry-over even if you die. Unfortunately for me, I had to learn this the hard way while I’ve been working on my South Park: Snow Day review for the past week. At the same time, since I was playing the game early, I didn’t have any friends to turn to for help. Instead, I had to rely on my own wits and a bit of help from the game’s AI bots which join your party when playing solo. 

If you’re a die-hard South Park fan like myself and just want to experience the story of Snow Day by yourself, here are three tips I learned along the way as I spent over 15 hours playing the game until the credits rolled.

Don’t be afraid to respec your character

Customizing your character in South Park: Snow Day

(Image credit: THQ Nordic)

Although the graphic style and genre have changed, this is still a South Park game after all which means that character creation plays a big role. However, while you can deck out your character as you see fit, the clothes and accessories you wear don’t have any effect on combat. Unlike in Stick of Truth or Fractured But Whole, your equipment doesn’t raise your abilities at all.

You have a limited number of shirts, hats, glasses and even capes available at the start of the game but you can purchase additional ones when you’re outside of battle. This is done at the bazaar run by Tweak and Craig and you’ll spend in-game PP currency to buy new equipment and accessories. For your actual abilities, you’re going to need to collect dark matter during your runs.

With enough dark matter in hand, you can head to Mr. Hankey’s port-o-potty on the far left side of Snow Day’s hub world located behind Eric Cartman’s house. Spending your hard-earned dark matter will allow you to unlock new perks that carry-over throughout the game’s five chapters.

Upgrading your perks with dark matter in South Park: Snow Day

(Image credit: THQ Nordic)

Snow Day’s dark matter perks are quite expensive, especially as you work your way towards the more powerful upgrades. The best part though is that how you choose to allocate your dark matter isn’t final and you can always refund a perk later on if you find that’s not actually helping you in battle.

Personally, I really struggled during the first few chapters of the game and I had to do several runs of each before I completed them. During one particularly difficult chapter early on, I just kept dying no matter what loadout I started with or the upgrade cards I drew during the run.

One common complaint with Snow Day is that the movement feels a bit off. This is South Park after all and Matt Stone and Trey Parker insisted to the developers at Question that movement actually felt like the way the characters walk and run in the show. Early on, I allocated extra dark matter to improve my character’s movement speeds. When I kept dying though, I refunded these perks and put all my dark matter into perks that raised my health and gave me one extra life when I died in battle. This was all I needed to get through that chapter I was hung up on and make my way to the next one.

Take good care of your AI teammates 

A character standing by themselves in South Park: Snow Day

(Image credit: THQ Nordic)

Even during a solo playthrough like my own, you’re never truly alone. If you don’t want to be paired with random players online or have friends to play with, Snow Day fills the remaining three slots in your party with AI-powered bots.

While I like how they’re randomly generated and are supposed to represent other new kids in town such as yourself, they are bots after all. When playing online with your friends or other players, you can watch their actions and see which way they’re going to go or what they’re going to do in battle and then act accordingly. The same can’t be said for Snow Day’s bots.

The bots will follow you at times during a run but they disappear entirely once you’re out of combat. I also noticed during my own playthrough that they often had a mind of their own and instead of heading towards an objective, they might get distracted and go after that lone enemy in the opposite direction of where you want to go. There was also one point during the game when the bots abandoned me entirely and failed to spawn during a large battle. As you may have guessed, I died pretty quickly and had to restart that chapter.

A screenshot of a solo run in South Park: Snow Day with bots for teammates

(Image credit: THQ Nordic)

During the first few chapters, I held my own without much help from Snow Day’s bots. However, once I reached some of the game’s more difficult bosses though, they were often the only thing standing between continuing and having to start a run over from scratch, since they can revive you when you die. For this reason, I recommend that you treat these bots as if they were human players joining you for a chapter.

I had the healing totem power bound to my character the whole time and in addition to healing myself, I also used it to make sure that my party had full health. There’s also an upgrade card you can get that allows the totem to revive dead players just like another player would. If this one shows up in a shuffle, it’s worth choosing since you never know when you may need to revive all three bots while a horde of enemies is coming for you.

With enough playthroughs and perks, you may not need the help of these bots but if you want to work your way through Snow Day’s single-player campaign, I highly suggest you take care of the bots assigned to your party. It’s also worth noting that these bots won’t search out and collect loot like toilet paper for you. This is something you’re going to have to do on your own but at least you won’t be fighting other players for resources when you want to level up your upgrade cards.

Play on a console that lets you resume a run

Playing South Park: Snow Day on the Xbox Series S

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

For my South Park: Snow Day review, I played the game on PC through Steam. While I was able to play it much earlier than those who reviewed the game on consoles, there is a major downside to playing on PC: you can’t stop a run and resume it later. As I mentioned, I learned this the hard way early on.

As my friend let me borrow his old Steam Deck to see if I liked it after he upgraded to the Steam Deck OLED, I decided to try playing on that instead at my desk in front of my PC. I’m happy to report that Snow Day runs great on the Steam Deck for those who would rather play the game on one of the best handheld gaming consoles.

Besides being able to play in bed or on the couch, there’s another big advantage to playing Snow Day on the Steam Deck. When you press the device’s power button, your game is suspended and you can pick your run right where you left off. This feature is how I finally managed to finish Snow Day’s fifth chapter and see the end credits roll.

Since I’m quite fond of my Xbox Series S, I also got an Xbox code to see what it’s like playing Snow Day on console. I had an ulterior motive in doing so too though, as I wanted to see if the game supported Microsoft’s Quick Resume feature. I turned off my console mid-run earlier today and once I turned it back on, I was able to pick up right where I left off on Xbox just like with the Steam Deck.

Sure, this tactic won’t work with multiplayer runs in Snow Day but if you want to actually finish the game on your own, it’s an invaluable feature to have. I highly doubt I would have been able to finish the game before the embargo lifted if it wasn’t for being able to suspend my playthrough on the Steam Deck. Now that I know this tactic also works with Xbox, I might even start a second playthrough from scratch on my Series S.

You can learn a lot from a solo playthrough

The kids of South Park gathered at a Bullsh*t Trial in South Park: Snow Day

(Image credit: THQ Nordic)

It may have taken me much longer than if I had played alongside friends but beating South Park: Snow Day on my own was a really enjoyable albeit difficult experience.

Instead of having other, more powerful players to help me during my runs of the game’s five chapters, I had to rely on myself to see it to the end. This took a lot of time but along the way, I learned all about how the game’s upgrade and bullsh*t cards work. I also gained a better understanding of Snow Day’s maps and where the hidden treasure chests and caches of loots are in each level.

Going from a single-player game to a multiplayer one meant to be played cooperatively was a big risk but I fully understand why Matt Stone and Trey Parker did it. Both Stick of Truth and Fractured But Whole had much longer development cycles and a whole lot more work that you would think went into these 2.5D games. With a 3D environment and using the popular game engine Unity, Question and the team at South Park Digital Studios will be able to build on what’s been done so far in Snow Day and add new characters, gameplay modes and hopefully more chapters or even a brand new campaign.

Still though, if you like playing games by yourself for the story, the inclusion of a single-player, offline mode in Snow Day is something you too will likely appreciate. While other reviewers didn’t enjoy the game as much as I did, at just $30, you can’t go wrong even with a solo playthrough if you’re a die-hard South Park fan that wants to see the direction the series is going in after Stick of Truth and Fractured But Whole.

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Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.