Sumo Digital brings a charming game to the PS4, Xbox One and PC plus, they have brought it to Nintendo Switch users too. My Snake Pass review that you’re reading, is based on the Switch version but is certainly reflective of the other formats.
The game has a cutesy look that feels and looks like it should have been around on the N64. But hold on to that thought, this game is new to current generation consoles.
The lead designer wanted the game to be as close as possible to being a snake simulator and the game really makes you think and feel what its like to be a snake. The game is coiled in the genre of physics based platform puzzles. It also focusses the relationship between the friends Noodle: the Snake, and Doodle: the Hummingbird.
But how does it all work together? Check out my thoughts below and if you want to get in touch about the game or the review, drop me a comment at the end of the article using Disqus.
Look and Feel – “It’s a Rare sight”
Snake Digital has all the looks of a game that could have been re-made from an older generation of consoles. It has fun characters and bright colours and charm found in game so the 90s. The world of Snake Pass is a charming place and i couldn’t help feeling emotionally attached to it from the outset.
The game requires you to dispel all platform gaming traditions and become a snake. You have to think how a snake moves; think how a snake would climb and utilise that movement solve the puzzles.
The physics engine really manages to capture this brilliantly. Combining that with a level of fun and humour makes the game rewarding to play. Using a combination of thumb-sticks the direction of Noodles head is controlled allowing you to move forwards and side-to-side. However to gain height it’s not as simple as coiling up and pressing a jump button.
Snakes are basically a big muscle which has to contract and relax to create movement. You have to sliver and coil around the environment to ascend and descend. So the approach of slowly slivering, stopping, gripping, adjusting your position and then moving onwards is required from the onset.
But i don’t know how to be a snake! Fortunately the game teaches you this over the first few levels and the difficulty slowly increases making the challenge feel just right.
Being a snake does have it challenges. Patience and slow moving are the key to success. Yes you can try and speed sliver, but lady fortune rewards the one who moves slowly. You can use the physics of the game to your advantage to move quickly and leap off high sections of the terrain, but one slip and you understand the proverb of the snake that tries to fly. Did i say fly?
One of the neatest mechanics in Snake Pass that i liked was the relationship between Doodle the hummingbird and Noodle the snake. If required you can ask Doodle to grasp your tail and lift you upwards in a strange U shape. This is often useful in situations where you hanging precariously and loosing grip or just stuck on an edge and need some assistance to get a bit higher.
It’s moments like this where Noodle starts panicking that the relationship with Doodle really shines.
Story and Gameplay – “You can’t sleep safe and sound”
There’s only a single player story mode to this game. The story starts with Doodle the Humming bird waking your character, Noodle. Apparently something isn’t just right in the world of Snake Pass and you and your hummingbird friend set out to find out why.
The basics of the game are to traverse the level and collect hidden objects that will open an aztec styled portal to allow progression to the next level.
Whilst this sounds relatively easy to do, you quickly realise that the desired collectables are hidden away in nooks and crannies, high places and truly scary places that hang off the playing the area. With the assistance of Doodle to help guide your travels across the land you slither and climb your way upwards.
Each level introduces new environmental challenges in the form new terrain to interact with. I particularly liked the windmills and elevators which made me concerned about getting Noodles tail trapped!
In terms of replay ability of Snake Pass, there’s plenty to do on each level and you are encouraged to replay each level to collect all the hidden coins. It was hinted by the Lead Developer that there’s a real snake ability reward for collecting all the coins, but i didn’t get anywhere close to finding them all on my playthrough.
This is one game that i will go back to and keep playing.
Controls and Switch Gaming Modes
For Switch players only.
The game was played in both docked and handheld modes during the review using joycons and pro controller.
In handheld mode the game looks great on the small factor screen and the joycons worked well. One oddity that i noticed was that the HD rumble of the joycons seemed dialled a bit too high. By this i mean that the rumble was really audibly loud when collecting the in game items. Maybe this was intentional but at times i wished i could dial it down a bit. There was no detectable difference in frame rate in handheld mode.
In docked mode on TV the game looked slightly blurry on occasion but it wasn’t that noticeable that it affected game play. The bigger screen made Noodle the snake look bigger with boa constrictor sized proportions. I tried the game with both pro controller and joycons on docked mode and i personally felt that the pro controller gave a slight edge over the joycons.
In summary i really enjoyed this game, it really appealed to me. I’ve handled snakes in real life and the whole movement and control of Noodle the snake made me remember what it was like to have a boa constrictor wrapped around my arms.
The game has a cutesy feel to it that reminded me of my N64 gaming days bundled with the responsive physics controls of current generation consoles. It’s not going to work for all gamers but it’s really fun and one to pick up for those who like a puzzle and something a bit different.
See my scores below and drop me a comment at the end of the article if you fancy getting this one.
About This Snake Pass Review
Developers & Publishers: Sumo Digital
Gaming Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC Games, PS4, Xbox One
Genre: Platform & Puzzle
Snake Pass Verdict
Graphics - 7/10
Story - 8/10
Gameplay - 7/10
Fun Factor - 8/10