Snake Pass – Review

Snake Pass is a retro-inspired platform/adventure game from Sumo Digital.

A mysterious gate-crasher has blocked the gateways across your world and its up to Noodle the snake and Doodle the humming-bird to unlock the portal between the four realms.

You take control of the duo (well mostly our good friend Noodle, the Snake), you’ll need to find the three gems in a level to unlock the gateway in order to proceed, but exploration is key, there’s a number of blue orbs to collect too, and these will increase the length of Noodle’s body, unlike Snake, Centipede and such, there’s not munching on your own tail, so ensuring your body is as long as possible has some major benefits.

Snake Pass will task you with plenty of manoeuvres to get from A to B, sometimes required to hang from a beam to collect a pick-up, or grip one branch to reach the next.

The brief loading screens, while simple and incredibly effective, small tips pop up at the bottom of the screen and these completely changed the game for me, Think like a Snake, sway left and right to pick up speed, and us LT to grip and important techniques you’ll need to learn.

Controls are pretty simple, direct the snake’s head with the left analogue stick, then move forward using  right trigger. It quickly gets you from A to B, in the early sun soaked stages, but you’ll have to learn more techniques as you progress, swaying left and right to pick up speed, or holding LT to tighten your grip, enabling you to hold onto a beam easier, and combined with A to raise your head, you’ll find plenty of vertical challenges. When falling from, or trying to reach high areas, you can summon Doodle to grab hold of your tail to increase the distance you can fall or reach,

It’s all very inviting and checking out new techniques is a pleasure as you come to terms with your snake body, by the half-way point of the game you’ll be climbing walls, hanging from branches and swimming like an eel.

There’s 15 levels in total, spread across four chapters. Each chapter has quite a distinct look, which means each group of levels feel very familiar.  Graphically there’s high quality, sharp and contrasting visuals, our good friend Noodle really stands out and the animation of the snake’s body is well done, Doodle (the humming-bird) becomes somewhat of a background character, sure he can grab your tail on command, but other than that he just sits on a branch in the vague vicinity of where you need to go, or flies along side.

The main performance is from the overall graphical sheen, it’s bright, beautiful and grabs your attention and there’s something mesmerizing about watching Snake Pass in action.

Whether its gripping a branch or balancing across a rotating beam before hurling yourself off a cliff edge to and on a small island, the whole presentation is very well done.

Sound isn’t quite as noticeable, not because of a lack of quality because it’s still very well done, but it just doesn’t stand out in the same way, music and sound effects seem more background ambience compared to the bold visuals.

To some Snake Pass might come across as a child’s game, and to an extend that’s true, my 5-year-old step-son loved playing, and yet there was still enough moments to challenge myself,

Thanks to the presentation and graphics, it’s just as fun to watch and while there’s no multiplayer aspect, reaching the half-way point of the game unlocks time trial mode where your time is recorded and put into leader-boards for you to challenge for the best time.

It’s fair to say, Snake Pass isn’t a massive game, even getting stuck on a few sections I made quick work of many levels and a straight play-through will take most between 4 and 6 hours, if you task yourself with collecting every orb, and each of the five hidden coins tucked away in each level and the play time can easily double, however with some sections really tasking your control, it’s far to easy to whisk through the easier bits, and then just search for the orbs and extra length when the need arises.

Snake Pass is a very positive game, it’s incredibly unique, and will give hours of fun regardless of your age or skill-level, Even after completion there’s enough pleasure in the controls to warrant heading back through levels to pick up the extra coins, and the striking visual really do grab your attention.

There’s not all out action, no enemies as such, just challenging terrain and a well made physics system that makes controlling the snake fun and challenging. There’s a few negatives with the camera angle sometimes making life a little difficult, and some might complain about the 4-6 hours play-time, but for around £16/$20 it’s altogether very good value.

You can take a look at our live stream and over an hour of gameplay below.

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