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As much as I love supporting games with unique or interesting ideas, you have to really think them out, or else you might end up with a game with a cool concept that’s not fully fleshed out. It’s always so disappointing when a game has something truly unique, and I do mean it in the definition of the word, but squanders it by not going all out with the concept. That is where Snake Pass comes into play. Developed and published by Sumo Digital, Snake Pass was one of the more hyped indie games from earlier this year. When it was released for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, it got a pretty solid reception with people praising its visuals and the unique control style, but it was also criticized for its difficulty and check-point system. So, where do I slither on this situation? Let’s find out.
Snake Pass is a 3D physics-based platformer/puzzle game where you control Noodle, a snake that must slither and constrict his way across multiple levels, putting three magical gems back where they belong in each level. The main driving force behind Snake Pass is how you control the main character. You will slither, wrap around, slide, and constrict your way through a slew of levels. It’s a game that is supposedly using real-life snake physics to make it feel like you are controlling an actual snake. The main goal in each level is to pick up three colored gems, and to place them back at each level’s altar. Along the way, you will also probably want to collect special gold coins and these weird blue bubbles that add on to the overall passing grade of the level you just completed. The game is rather difficult, as the controls take some getting used to, and the puzzle/platforming sections can be tricky, due to the physics of your character. It’s not like other physics-based games where it’s about being wacky and silly with the physics. Instead, you will need to learn how to get used to the controls, and then find the right way to slither your way through challenges. The game will not be very long, and will take you a couple of hours to beat.
Graphically, this game is beautiful. I know it looks better on other consoles resolution-wise, but what makes the game looks great to me is the vibrant color pallet and the cartoony art style. It’s appealing to look at, and like everyone else has said, it looks like something Rare would have made. Speaking of Rare, David Wise, a veteran video game composer, did the music for the game, and while it’s definitely more atmospheric than whimsical, it does help calm one while solving a tricky puzzle. It shows that amazing music by a super-talented composer can make tough gaming moments tolerable.
The biggest complaint I have about the game is its unique control set-up. It’s simply not friendly or easy to get into, if you are only casually familiar with games. It’s focus on physics and only a few puzzle designs make the game a tough pill to swallow. It’s a lot of fun, and it definitely does keep me wanting to play it, even if I’m angry at it, but it’s still a tough game to simply sit down and play. I think as an indie developer, you should try and get your game to be as playable to as many people as possible. Don’t bog them down with stuff that would make it a polarizing experience. I think they put the controls first over the game being 100% accessible to as many people as possible. It’s a brutal game to play, and it can be a tad repetitive, due to there not being too much variety among the levels. Sometimes, you will get a little mix-up of mechanics, like strong winds, levers you need to wrap yourself around, and lava, but they don’t really do much with the concept of this game. There are no bosses or an interesting story to break up the repetition.
I might be bashing on this game a lot, but I did enjoy it. I just think its controls should have been more streamlined, in the sense of being less about physics and more about accessibility. I don’t have all the time in the world to understand the complexity of how a snake moves to fully enjoy it. If this game seems like something you would love, then by all means, support the developer by buying this game. It can really be fun, but you might have to sit through some tough spots along the way. Maybe this snake can shed its tough and unappealing skin, and do better in a sequel. I would love to get back into Noodle the snake’s world.
This game gets a 6 out of 10.