One thing Snake Pass does well is show you that it isn’t easy being a snake. A nostalgic platformer with a unique twist. Noodle, Snake Pass’ protagonist, is a somewhat lazy snake tasked with collecting three crystals in order to progress to the next world. It takes you on a relatively fun yet frustrating journey through jungle-like worlds with a multiplicity of obstacles. Among these crystals are also gems and coins which are collectibles for the more fulfilling players; although the challenge to grab them is sometimes enchanting, it’s much harder than one would expect. The difficulty of the game is what drew me back. It is not a simple platformer for kids as some might think, but rather a challenging game which relies on one’s cognitive abilities and patient movements.
The physics of the game are dangerously realistic; not only must you tighten your grip around a log as you dangle from a deadly drop, but you must also wrap yourself around this log while simultaneously lifting your head to move forward and higher as you also loosen your grip, all without falling; which more often than I’d like, was the outcome, resulting in a frustrated exit so I could pick it up again later.
This frustration, however, is what makes Snake Pass fun. Though the nostalgic look and feel of the game is enticing, what really holds it together is the uniqueness of having Noodle as your protagonist, along with his hummingbird friend Doodle. Snake Pass brilliantly distinguishes itself from classic platformers as it takes the core concept of these games, i.e. the level design, aesthetic, and even the music, but instead of jumping from ledge to ledge, you slither your way up, down, around, and through any obstacles that get in Noodle’s way. This adds some diversity to the gameplay style of each world. You’re able to contort your body in so many ways that anywhere is possible to reach. With this in mind, the mechanics of the game are a bit rough on a keyboard and mouse. If you play this game on a PC I’d suggest using a gamepad as it would make things more manageable, or perhaps even grab this on the Nintendo Switch, as I had a chance to try it on that device. It makes for a great on-the-go game as the worlds are short, and won’t take long to clear.
In classic platformer style, the worlds get progressively harder as you move through them. At first, I thought that there wasn’t much more to do than create some longer obstacles that had nothing but air underneath them, but Snake Pass does a great job at incorporating some interesting physics into the world. There are levels where you must pass over gusts of wind, or lakes of lava and it gets challenging if you don’t use your friend Doodle to pick up your sagging long tail. The biggest downfall of this game is its repetitiveness and lack of reward.
Throughout the whole game, you are never tasked with anything more than collecting the three crystals which open the gate to the next world. Furthermore, the small blue gems and coins which you can collect are in such hard to reach places that one might not bother to grab them for a mere “congratulations” at the end of the level. I stopped caring about them after the first few levels, grabbing only those that were in my reach.
Snake Pass is a fun game at first; blissful, calm and engaging. As you progress, however, the controls begin to take their toll on your patience, the repetitiveness starts to get annoying, and the lack of rewards dampens the fun of the overall game. It is a unique and nostalgic platformer, one I would suggest for those who want a new game on their Nintendo Switch, but I would not recommend this game to someone who plays on the PC or on a console. It is not an easy game, and the challenge sets it apart from other games of its nature, but it requires a certain amount of patience that is not worth the lack of rewards. There is replay value for those interested in collecting all the trinkets available, but there’s nothing beyond that. I tended to follow Noodle’s advice to slither back to a safe place and fall asleep. 7/10