Snake Pass is a unique puzzle platformer developed and published by the fine folks at Sumo Digital. It tells the story of Noodle the Snake and Doodle the Hummingbird, humble residents of the tranquil Haven Tor, as they awake with a conundrum. A mysterious trespasser is shutting down all of the magical gates and limiting travel between realms. Noodle and Doodle must race against the clock and receive the grace of the Gatekeepers to complete their goal and return Haven Tor to its former glory.
This title contains fifteen puzzle-filled stages throughout four different realms. Every level tasks the player with maneuvering Noodle around the environment collecting the missing Keystones which reactivate all of the magical gates. The levels also include three other collectibles in the forms of Gatekeeper Idols, Gatekeeper Coins, and wisps. The Idols and Coins are scattered throughout the level, usually located in hidden areas, while the wisps are used to denote the proper passage along the path. All fifteen stages unlock as a time trial after completing the entire realm. There is nothing changed in each level, except that there is a clock timing you (similar to most other time trials). Each realm is ruled by a different Gatekeeper and is themed around the Gatekeepers domain. These four different realms are Earth, Water, Fire, and Air (Maybe an Avatar reference?). One thing this game does well is naming the Gatekeeper for each of the worlds. For example, the Earth realm’s Gatekeeper is named Bol-Der and the Water’s is named Sog-Gee. This is a very clever design that just adds to the overall appeal.
The uniqueness of Snake Pass is achieved by the bizarre movement style that the developers implemented. As the name implies, you take control of a snake and the movement style is based on the specific nature a snake moves throughout nature. Slithering, sliding, and coiling are your main objectives to move throughout the levels. Needing to move in a serpentine motion to get anywhere is not heard of in most games and neither is having a platformer without a jump button (what!). The developers made a system where you are the snake and the levels are designed perfectly to get used to these peculiar styles.
This system is extremely innovative, I have never heard of another game using this style, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its flaws. Unfortunately, the movement style was extremely clunky from time to time. Slithering would get you so far, but sometimes you would just lose all your momentum and stop dead in your tracks, but that isn’t even the worst part. Climbing up the bamboo jungle gyms could yield tons of trouble and the further you got the worse it would get. The climbing feature had the characters move up the bamboo and hold the ‘LT’ button to hold yourself in place. You would coil yourself around the next rung to climb higher and higher. Unfortunately, it’s easier said than done. I found that it was super easy to become uncoiled when climbing up and then you would fall back to the bottom. However, when climbing across a gap or above spikes, seemed near impossible without some trial and error as Noodle would lose his grip and fall, resulting in death and restarting you at the nearest checkpoint. It was a brilliant idea that was implemented to a decent level, but some more polishing could have been extremely beneficial.
The visual aesthetics of Snake Pass are very colorful. The game is very vibrant in both character design and the overall environment. Noodle’s skin is a beautiful contrast between orange, yellow, and black that just makes him pop out compared to the greenery, stone paths, and waterways. The jungle setting is amazing and it fits phenomenally with the mythical atmosphere present. The soundtrack pairs well with this and provides a feeling of nostalgia if you are familiar with platformers from the early 2000s. It’s whimsical and enjoyable to listen to, but nothing spectacular.
Overall, Snake Pass is an enjoyable title that has its flaws. The game is priced at $20 USD, which I feel is a bit high. There is a good amount of replayability, but it falls off after a while. This game is great for the family, but I would recommend waiting for a sale to pick this one up.
Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
FINAL Score: 7.5/10
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