Snake Pass review (Xbox One)

Snake Pass is a wonderful and creative new take on the puzzle platformer genre, although it’s a tad short on content.

When it was announced, Snake Pass immediately grabbed my attention. I generally like puzzle platformers, and truly appreciate how creative the genre still is – you see something very different come out on a regular basis, which definitely can’t be said for all videogame genres out there. Snake Pass in particular stood out because of its creative approach, in which you control a snake and your way of moving about is directly tied to the physics of being such an animal.

Although it sounds different, the basic concept in Snake Pass is a very familiar one – collect tokens/gems inside a 3D world to open up the exit towards the next level. Easier said than done of course, because traversing the world presents both opportunities and dangers for snakes. A beam standing straight up can be climbed by wrapping yourself around it, whereas your snake (called Noodle) can also slide across horizontal beams. However… fail to grab hold of something and you’ll quickly lose your balance and plummet down. To avoid this, wrap yourself around the beam and be sure to do it again before your tail catches up with your ‘knot’ and loosens your grip again. You can also employ the help of your buddy Doodle, a bird that can lift up a part of your body for a moment.

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Movement takes a few minutes to get used to, but once you find your way around Noodle’s limitations it becomes rather intuitive and a lot of fun. Snake Pass is definitely on the more casual end of the puzzle platformer spectrum, and its puzzles aren’t as hardcore as puzzle purists might like. Beating a level usually revolves around a good understanding of Noodle’s movement, sometimes combined with environmental triggers – but the emphasis is more on fun than on potentially frustrating you with near-impossible challenges.

As a result, the game is over before you want it to be – as there are only fifteen levels available to play spread out over four game worlds. Those game worlds look excellent though – resembling the action platformers like Ratchet & Clank and the upcoming Yooka-Laylee. The soundtrack that accompanies the game is also excellent, making this a very polished yet unfortunately small package.

The biggest drawbacks for Snake Pass are its lack of difficulty for hardcore puzzlers and its relative lack of content. Luckily, it has a mild price tag to match and it’s sure to delight the more casual fans of the puzzle platforming genre. In addition, it’s also a great game to share and watch together with people – the cartoon-like visuals and animations are a joy to behold.

Score: 7.8/10

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