Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: Sumo Digital
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action, Adventure, Platformer & Arcade
Release Date: 28th of March, 2017
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When I was a child, I was a huge fan of Rare Ware’s games (let’s not kid ourselves, who wasn’t?) and I just couldn’t get enough of the Banjo & Kazooie games. They were simple incredible, but then they went away, never to return, and while few games have tried to fil that void, most have failed, and while the soon to release Yooka-Laylee will surely see that void filled, it turns out, it’s not the only game. Developed by Sumo Digital, Snake Pass is a retro-inspired platformer that puts the player in control of a colourful, hilarious and vegetarian snake by the name of Noodle and you know that, Snake Pass is good.
No! Good is a terrible word, it undersells just how good Snake Pass is. Snake Pass is a fangtastic title and quite easily my most favourite indie title that is playable on Switch, if not the best indie title of 2017 so far. Sure Yooka-Laylee is most likely going to steal that crown next month, but I kid you not, Snake Pass is one of the most original games I have played in a long time and it is highly entertaining. In fact here’s a quick definition of how good it is, while I was playing it for the purpose of this review, Miketendo64’s very own avlongman9 stopped by, saw me playing and kept hold of the control for a full hour! Not most games make her act that way, not even The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, had that effect on her, so this just goes to show how special this game is. So special in fact, the two of us couldn’t stop roaring with laughter as we took it in turns playing, smiling away at Noodle’s adorable little face and “aww” facial expressions.
However this is a review, so I should show a certain level of professionalism, so here’s me doing just that. Snake Pass takes place in Haven Tor, a mystical setting known for its tranquillity, but that of tranquillity has come to an end as a mysterious interloper has arrived and is causing all kinds of havoc and the only ones who can stop him are the duo of Noodle and Doodle. Noodle is of course the Serpent that puts the Snake in Snake Pass. A colourful, smiley chappie who’ facial expressions can actually be changed at will during gameplay so if you don’t like the smile he’s wearing, there’s a good chance you’ll find one that is and then there’s Doodle. Doodle is an equally colourful chappie, except instead of being a snake, he is Hummingbird and while he may not be the handiest of companions, he does have some merits that make his appearance worthwhile.
Working together, with Noodle doing most of the work, they must work together and collect all the Keystones on each level to restore power to the gateways that help empower Haven Tor, but it is no small task. Had this been a normal kind of platformer, the Keystones and every other item collectable on the level would be easy to get, but Noodle is no mere protagonist. Noodle is a snake, which means instead of just running and climbing like most other protagonists would, Noodle needs to slither, writhe and wrap himself around any and all bamboo poles that put themselves between him and the main objectives, as well as everything else that the player wishes to collect.
But don’t worry, should you fail to collect them all during your first playthrough of a level, you can always play it again and seek out the blue orbs and coins you missed the last time. Only don’t expect it to be easy, some coins can be a bit of a bugger to get, not because figuring out what you need to do is too puzzling, but actually doing what is required and making it back to a check point to safeguard your in-level progress is another story. (Especially when the controls themselves can be rather difficult when first starting out and not used to them just yet, but don’t fret, you’ll soon be a masterful serpent just as soon as you start to think like a snake.)
Just make sure you don’t get carried away trying to get everything, not that there is anything wrong with that, but Snake Pass is a visually compelling game, with 15 levels and four challenging themed that should be thoroughly explored and experienced whilst allowing the sweet tunes of Snake Pass’ exquisite soundtrack fills your ears, a soundtrack that is composed by none other than David Wise. You’ll only be cheating yourself of something great otherwise.
Needless to say though, while most of the time, Snake Pass comes across as being an easy enough game to play, with a simple premise, it really is anything but, it will challenge you with mind-bending challenges and all I could think about whilst playing, was how much I would love to see Snake Pass get a sequel. The game is incredible, worthy of being branded as a must-own and it is a game that will keep us playing long after we have finished our first playthrough, because as I have seen already, it is a game that can be shared and enjoyed with friends and nothing beats that!
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Snake Pass is not the next Banjo & Kazooie and it will never be as such either but it is still an incredibly, enjoyable and downright lovable title in its own right that is packed with just so much originality. So without a doubt in my mind, even though Snake Pass is not necessarily the perfect game, due to it having a number of issues like the loudness of its HD Rumble feature on Switch, but just like Breath of the Wild, when you look past its issues, it is just an insanely brilliant title. Snake Pass is not just the best indie game I have played on Nintendo Switch, but it the best indie game I have played this year full stop. Therefore in light of that and the fact I want to be one of the first to give Snake Pass a knockout score, I do of course score it a 10/10. Snake Pass really is such an incredible game and one that I hope would someday get a sequel as I truly hope Noodle and Doodle will get to stick around for the next couple of years.
THE VERDICT: 10/10