- Total Score - 7.5/107.5/10
Overall, Snake Pass is a charming title that hearkens back to the glory days of the N64.
Release Date – March 28th, 2017
Platforms- Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer / Publisher – Sumo Digital
Genre – Action / Puzzle Platformer
Price – $19.99
In Snake Pass, the game wants you ‘to think like a snake’. This colorful action-puzzle game will have you thinking unlike any other game, and it has many ideas that have never been executed in a platformer before, proving that the genre still has some fresh ideas yet to be explored. In what seems to be a renaissance of platformers lately, does Snake Pass have what it takes to stand out from the crowd and slither to victory?
Snake Pass starts off with a quick tutorial level to get you up to grip on the characters, controls, and level structure. You take control of Noodle the snake as the title of the game would suggest, and he is accompanied by a hummingbird named Doodle. The main premise of the game is that the Harmony Foothills have been threatened by an evil gate-crasher and it is up to you to bring peace back to the land. Instead of being able to jump like most platformers, this game instead makes you slither around and coil around poles and other objects in order to climb to new heights. This style of gameplay is very different to most games I have played, and it took quite a bit to fully train myself to ‘think like a snake’. It can be frustrating at times if you aren’t patient, but once you learn how to guide Noodle around it can be very fun and rewarding. Each level contains three keystones that must be found in order to progress to the next, as well as collectibles which include wisps and gatekeeper coins. Gatekeeper coins can be very challenging to obtain, and only the most advanced player will be able to collect them all.
The game contains four different colorful worlds, each with a different theme. They are based on Air, Water, Earth and Fire, all elements that provide some unique gameplay challenges as you progress. The beginning levels aren’t too hard, but as you continue through the levels you will note that the game gets progressively harder. The gradual increase in difficulty is reminiscent of old N64 games which I found to be a nice change of pace. Even with the increase in difficulty, this is still a very relaxing game. It is played at your own pace, and if you want to explore every aspect of each level the game offers a ton of freedom. Since this is also on the Nintendo Switch (which this review is based on), it makes for a nice handheld title as well if you want a relaxing game to play on your next travel. One issue I have with the handheld mode and overall with joy-con control in this game is the HD rumble. For some reason it is very loud, cannot be turned off, and doesn’t really offer too much in my opinion. I found the Pro Controller to be much more effective in playing.
The graphics are definitely a strong point of this title, colorful worlds that pop and beg to be explored are nice and refreshing. The music is also a great part of the game, composed by David Wise who is a Rare veteran who worked on legendary titles like Donkey Kong Country. This is also one of the first titles to run Unreal Engine on the Switch, and it proves that the console can display some sharp graphics. The title does run at 30fps on Switch while running at 60fps on all other platforms, but for the portability aspect this is to be expected and it still looks and plays great on the Switch.
For all the praise that I have given the game, what it does lack is replayability. I don’t feel necessarily compelled to go back and find all of the collectibles after completing a level, nor do I think I would replay the game. It is a great title to play through, but the collectibles don’t offer anything in particular other than achievements for PS4, XB1 and Steam users. I would say that if you are looking for titles for your new Switch, this is a good option, although I can’t tell you that is a must buy right now. I can see how some may be extremely frustrated with the controls, which may be a major turnoff. The slower paced style may also not be for everyone. I believe a demo would do this game wonders, as I feel that the best way to see if it is for you is to play through a level or two. For all these complaints though, there is a great game behind them.
Overall, Snake Pass is a charming title that hearkens back to the glory days of the N64. Although the game has a learning curve, once you learn how to slither around I think it is an experience that I recommend at least giving a chance at some point. There are a lot of good ideas in this game, although some could be executed better. Snake Pass manages to slither a fun experience in and offer some fresh gameplay, but ultimately fails at offering a reason to come back to it once you are done.