Have you ever dreamed of being a snake? I know I haven’t. I’ve also not considered it as a possible way of creating game mechanics for a platformer either. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Snake Pass and I got to give it a shake on the Nintendo Switch. (I’ll be trying to give the Switch as much love (number of games-wise) as possible.) How well did I take to being a snake named Noodle with a bird friend named Doodle who would grab my butt on command? Well… if that wasn’t awkward enough, let me break it down for you.
At first glance, one could almost scoff at there only being 15 levels of gem, coin, and dew-looking things collecting. That would be a foolish thing to do. There are quite a few hours of sheer uniqueness to be had here. Unique aside, I’m not much of a snake person, it’s not that I hold an Indiana Jones aversion to them, but they just aren’t my thing. I wouldn’t know how to implement a snake well in a game if I tried. If I had the desire to create a game around a snake, this would be a great representation of what I would have loved to come up with, only with a lot more depth and imagination put into it. Slither back and forth to go fast, coil to be able to reach higher and curl around bamboo to get past obstacles. Well thought out hiding spots for your treasure. No real enemies to speak of other than death itself. It’s all very welcoming.
The level designs are great for the kind of adventure feeling I assume they were going for. Was there any real reason as to why the levels were set up the way they were… no. Did there need to be? No. I read this in a few reviews and frankly this is a lame issue to have, if you’re going to have an issue with the level design, why not ask why the lands you’re climbing on are floating above the ground and being held up by some mysterious force? No? I didn’t think so. You’re controlling a snake, just go with it. (Did there need to be save points exactly where I wanted them to be instead of having to traverse a rough path back just to not lose what progress I’ve made… probably not.) If there were any complaints I would give credence to is that the controls didn’t quite work for me.
At first, Noodle handles well and getting some of the “hard-to-reach” coins wasn’t too difficult and the game slithers by with me wondering how quickly I’m going to finish it. I believe I’ve attained 100% on the first few sets of levels. Then something happened or something broke inside me and I couldn’t get past certain parts of the level that weren’t challenges, they were the main paths. Was I drinking that much? No, thank you very much, but one probably couldn’t tell the difference in how well I controlled Noodle. One minute he’s winding around a pole and the next instead of going up, he’s completely unwinding himself and tossing himself into oblivion. What the crap snake? Why did you let go? I was pressing the grip button so hard I probably should have gotten a cramp! If this happened once or twice, I would have said that my thumbs were drunk or something, but this happened multiple times… maybe I’m just terrible?
I’m not the only one to have this issue, but there are a lot more people simply enjoying the wonderful aesthetics and joy that the beautiful color schemes brings out. It’s true that Snake Pass is a great and happy-looking game. It also has a cheerful, if not mainly atmospheric, soundtrack that fills in the background well as well as tries to sooth the savage beast that it brings out of me. I don’t think I’ve yelled at a game like this in a while. Heck, even my four-year-old daughter joined in on my yelling at Noodle. You’d think we were watching our favorite sports team drop the ball. I was afraid that if I played the game too much, I’d actually break my right Joy Con. I think I heard it cry a little as my hand constricted the crap out of it holding down that A-button like that would make a difference. Alas, Noodle did fall a lot and some collectibles were left behind.