Pass On This Snake
The best thing Snake Pass offers players is its genuine uniqueness as there isn’t anything quite like it, something difficult to do in today’s gaming landscape. Unfortunately, a technical control scheme and overall boring gameplay results in more frustration and entertainment.
Snake Pass is sort of defined as a puzzle platformer but this term doesn’t truly do this game justice. Instead, it might be better to think of Snake Pass as a digital toy in which you can just play around with, like a Rubik’s Cube or Yo-Yo. Thing is, in order to have fun with a Yo-Yo, the user must spend hours to get a hang of how it works; it is not pick-up-and-play as a heavy amount of skill is involved. Only after the toy has been mastered will it become truly fun. Snake Pass is the same way. In order to get a kick out of this gameplay, the player must spend a ton of time to understand how to control the snake. Unfortunately, by then, it will probably be too late.
Want to see how frustrating and boring Snake Pass is? Watch my stream in which I rage quit at the end.
There is no jump button and the player doesn’t even control forward movement with the left analog stick. Instead, Snake Pass probably has more in common with a driving game than a platformer as the right trigger controls forward movement and the left trigger essentially acts as the break as it causes the player to grip surfaces. Holding down the “A” button causes the snake to lift its head to begin an upward climb which is sort of like the game’s way of jumping. But instead of simply pushing up on the analog stick to move forward, the player needs to hold the right trigger and wiggle the analog stick back and forth to perform a snake slither. In time, flicking the analog stick back and forth, although accurate/realistic control for a snake, becomes tiresome and annoying as movement isn’t built around pixel-perfect control of other platformers. After playing for a couple hours, my trigger finger hurt from holding down the RT button the entire time.
The whole point of Snake Pass is moving the snake as if it is one big muscle, moving around the environment to collect a bunch of different things. The problem is, there is more action in a Mahjong game than in Snake Pass as the player never fights any enemies; the only fighting happening is between the player and the control scheme. I can’t tell you how many times I was literally within inches of collecting one of each stage’s golden coins, only to fall to my death and have to start all over again. Combine this level of frustration with the slow and tedious movement speed with far-spreading checkpoints and it becomes easy to see why Snake Pass is such a slog.
It is possible to see the end of the game in just a few hours but collecting everything in each stage is where the most amount of time will be spent. Collecting hundreds of blue wisps and dozens of gold coins just isn’t exciting especially when there is no pay off or reason to collect other than to task the player with lame chore-like busy work. Check points are also spread thin, often resulting in frustrating time loss.
I gave Snake Pass a shot and really wanted to like it but the lack of incentive, boring design, and technical controls are only off-putting. At the same time, I applaud the way Snake Pass tries something different and its technical side (seeing each blade of grass, for example, bend and move around the slithering snake is impressive), but fail to find any entertainment value whatsoever.
Remember?: Donkey Kong 64
Looks Like: Viva Pinata
Also Try: Yooka-Laylee