Review: Snake Pass (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: Snake Pass
Format: PSN (1.7 GB)
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Sumo Digital
Developer: Sumo Digital
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US), €19.99 (EU), £15.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

As far as I can remember, I have only ever played one other game in which you control a snake. It had just two colors and was one of the rare times I played a mobile phone game, on a good old Nokia 3310 I believe. We’ve come a long way since then. (Editor’s Note: That mobile phone game, amidst countless other knockoffs, is based on an arcade game from 1976 called Blockade)

Gameplay:
You begin in a simple and easy to traverse level, tasked with the recovery of a shiny gemstone that has gone missing from its usual perch on a large stone. It’s one of three gems that culminate in activating an end of the level portal.

You do not play as a typical video game character, but instead take the form of a black and yellow striped red snake named Noodle. Your friend Doodle the hummingbird wakes you from an afternoon slumber and informs you of the missing gem. Therefore, you begrudgingly set off on the lush green grass and grey-stoned pathways.

It turns out that every one of the gems for each level has been scattered across it and Doodle tells you to retrieve them. Why he couldn’t just fly along and grab them all is beyond me, but I suppose there wouldn’t be much of a game if that were the case.

You are told how to control Noodle via a few on-screen instructions. It turns out to be simple enough once you get a handle on feathering the grip button and rhythmically rotating the analog stick.

In fact, the more you get Noodle to move like a real snake, the easier the game becomes. I know that sounds obvious but each time a new player grabs the controller they just push forward, this makes Noodle crawl along like a snail. It’s only when they also gently rock the stick as they push forward, does Noodle pick up pace and move as a snake would.

… The difficulty curve is excellent …
It does take a fair amount of time to understand the controls, simple though they may be. My two young girls picked up the basics after a minute or so. Then after ten minutes, they were competently going after some tricky coins that surprised me.

There are five large golden coins deviously hidden throughout each level. Their locations are usually full of peril and danger as they float at the end of a long bamboo pole or underneath a bridge.

Simple bamboo structures can be found all over the levels and once you figure out the gentle use of the grip button, you can get Noodle to slither all along even the trickiest wooden framework. As you get further into the game, the puzzles and hazards become more difficult and require the use of a few brain cells and some excellent slithering.

The difficulty curve is excellent and quite forgiving to some degree. There are several checkpoints scattered over each level and I often get Noodle to slink over one before attempting a tricky maneuver. Once a level is complete, all of the wispy bubbles and coins are locked in so you can always go back and try for any that you missed.

… vibrant colors and charming characters …
Not only is there a tantalizing and well-deserved Platinum Trophy but you can also partake in a Time Trial mode if your nerves can handle the pressure. I might check it out but I’ll still quite happily play this fun game at my leisure along with my kids who seem to love it just as much as I do.

I would suggest avoiding a tempting glance at the Trophy list until after you’ve completed the game and just enjoy the experience the first time through. Don’t worry about the elusive or extremely tricky collectibles until you’ve seen the charming ending and have become an experienced serpent.

Visuals:
Sumo Digital has created a fantastic looking game with such vibrant colors and charming characters that are full of playful expression. Noodle moves superbly, slithering through countless blades of grass and gliding into the cool and clear water.

I love the finer details, like the overlapping scales of the amniote vertebrate and the way its elongated body wraps around all manner of things in a realistic way. All of the little insects and animals that fly or hide when Noodle gets near are so cute. The sparkles and flare when you collect a shiny coin or lustrous gem are energizing and never get old.

My kids enjoy letting Noodle drift off to sleep, which seems to bother Doodle because he eventually hovers in front of the screen in a third-wall breaking way, sadly he does not resort to tapping the screen but I suppose that could be annoying in the long run.

… a wickedly addictive game …
Audio:
Snake Pass has some wonderfully cute and fun music and sound effects that go well with the gasps of wonder or worry from Noodle as he finds a sparkling coin or wobbles on the edge of oblivion.

I hear whispers of some of my favorite classic games that help to evoke the rarest of fond memories. I cannot help but to smile when I hear the upbeat tempo and percussion.

Online/Multiplayer:
The Time Trial mode is the only online component of the game and includes leaderboards for friends and worldwide players.

Conclusion:
Snake Pass can be tricky at first but once you get into the groove and master the controls, it becomes a wickedly addictive game. There are some interesting little puzzles that a younger audience will ponder over and some devious collectibles everyone will agonize about but those can be largely ignored if need be.

This is a rare title indeed and it’s a good price for an excellent game. The beauty is not just in the visual splendor but also in mastering the graceful movement of my new favorite serpent. It’s innovative and fresh, like a juicy red apple ripe on the tree and I urge you to grab it and take a bite.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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