We previewed Clid the Snail when it was unveiled not too long ago, and were surprised by its full release just a few weeks after. It’s a PlayStation exclusive for now, but will also come to PC later this year.
As we pointed out in our preview, Clid the Snail is, at its core, a story-driven twin stick shooter starring a snail. It’s certainly a bizarre narrative setup, but it makes for a visually interesting world. One where we see remnants of mankind, but also run into mutated animals who can converse with each other – oh, and Clid has arms and legs to help him get around and fire guns. Yet, as interesting as the game world is, the story focuses almost exclusively on Clid – which we feel means there’s some untapped story and world-building potential here.
After Clid is banned from the Snail Citadel, he gradually travels through the world with the aid of other misfits, who join together as a band of warriors that calls itself Alastor. There’s a nice story that unfolds over the course of the campaign that deals with the interpersonal (or is interspecies?) relationships that these characters develop, as well Clid’s own journey of personal growth after having been rejected by his fellow snails.
Amidst all that, there’s a whole world out there to discover that’s a strange and mesmerizing mix of A Bug’s Life with its zoomed in perspective on small critters and a postapolyptic view of the world, complete with characters that are armed to the teeth and remnants of a lost civilization – in this case ours. Humans are gone, but some of their things remain as building blocks for the world. Match sticks become sources of light, and cell phone batteries provide power.
Gunplay, as we discussed in the preview, has its ups and downs. It’s slower paced in general, but even to the point where backing away when not in an arena fight is often your best choice. Stronger weapons that you unlock later feel very satisfying, but often have long reload times and limited ammo, so the action never becomes as fast-flowing as you might like since you’ll end up saving your ammo for the boss fights. You might not be able to since some encounters have iffy designs that force you to try and get out of a pinch that you had no way of avoiding though, so your luck and usage may vary.
There’s a nice sense of progression in the game beyond just the narrative, which is well done. You also learn new skills that will open up new avenues for exploration, and there are plenty of rewards for doing so, with hidden secrets to discover and pick up throughout the game. It’s also fun to just gradually uncover the world and its inhabitants, who will sometimes engage in conversations among themselves if you don’t immediately attack them first.
Weird Beluga’s twin stick shooter is clearly one of the most impressive titles to come out of the PlayStation Talents initiative, but as with other titles it’s also rough around the edges. There are more refined twin stick shooters out there with better balanced gunplay, and I wish we could have seen some more world building elements to help draw us into a fascinating world – which now mainly stays interesting on a surface level. Clid’s personal tale and the unique premise make this worth it at its budget price point though, so definitely take a look if you want something a bit different from the norm.