Hello, Gameologerinos, and welcome to our weekly thread for the discussion of weekend gaming plans and recent gaming glories. I have a handful of new releases vying for my attention this weekend, but the one I’m looking forward to spending some time exploring a bit more is Snake Pass. People have been conflating this with Yooka-Laylee, the release of which is just around the corner, thinking that they’re both homages to Rare’s Nintendo 64-era 3-D platformers: colorful games where you run around collecting baubles and interacting with googly-eyed cartoon characters. Yooka-Laylee is definitely that. In fact, it’s pretty much a carbon copy of Banjo-Kazooie. Snake Pass, however, has as much in common with physics-based fumble-fests like Octodad as it does Rare’s beloved platformers.
Yes, the game is delightfully vibrant and you collect things and the excellent music was composed by David Wise of Donkey Kong Country fame, but the similarities end there. Snake Pass has you controlling Noodle, a doofy cartoon serpent; more specifically, you control Noodle’s head, holding a trigger to move in the direction it’s pointing and holding a button to lift it up. Using those two inputs, as well as a third that makes your body grip whatever it’s wrapped around, you’re tasked with slithering and climbing around a series of levels and collecting some gems to open up the goal.
The controls really are what set it apart. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, but the key to getting anywhere is wrapping yourself around the various objects in these levels and making sure your weight is well supported enough so that you don’t slide off. Something as simple as climbing a tower, for example, is an exhausting exercise but really satisfying when you manage to get to the top and are free to lower Noodle’s head, dropping it to a relaxed position like a poetic reflection of your relieved shoulders. Like Octodad and its awkward brethren, getting the hang of things isn’t easy and there’s equal measures of comedy and frustration to be had from watching your miserable klutz of a snake go flailing off the side of a level. It’s a novel concept executed well, and I’m looking forward to getting deeper into it. Snake Pass is currently available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows, and Nintendo Switch.