Developed by Sumo Digital Published by Sumo Digital Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (also available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC)
“I’m a snakkee, I’m a snakkeey snake” is what you’ll be saying when playing Sumo Digital’s new game, Snake Pass. Snake Pass is a puzzle platformer where you play as an adorable snake named Noodle along with his hummingbird sidekick, Doodle. Noodle and Doodle’s adventure takes place across 15 levels set in 4 different worlds. The game can take anywhere from 5 to 7 hours to complete.
The game begins with Doodle waking Noodle up, finding themselves in a strange world and wanting to return home. As you go through the levels your goal is to collect 20 blue orbs that are hidden around the level. Each level also has 5 secret gold coins but they’re not required to pass the level. In order to complete a level you must collect the 3 gatekeeper stones. Snake Pass isn’t a traditional platformer per say but is more about thinking like and mimicking the actions of a snake. This includes figuring out the best ways to wrap yourself around a pole to get to the next area to reach a hidden secret coin or trying to grab that one last blue orb. Sumo Digital executed this concept very well.
Snake Pass feels like a old school platformer on the level of games such as Spyro the Dragon, Croc, or Banjo Kazooie but with its own unique control scheme that mechanically mirrors the movement of a snake. You hold R2 in order to actually move. While holding R2, you have to move the left analog stick side to side to create a slithering movement to gain speed. By holding X, you can raise Noodle’s head up in order to reach higher ground or to reach poles to wrap yourself around. Physics plays a huge part in climbing as well. When climbing poles you need to be careful to make sure that one side of Noodle’s body isn’t hanging too low on one end; his weight will shift to the heaviest side and cause Noodle to slide right off the object you’re climbing. The first few levels I found myself struggling with the controls, but in no way did I find it discouraging. With that said, Snake Pass does require patience. There are parts where it can be challenging or even annoying due to user error or bad camera angles. The camera occasionally gets stuck behind objects while climbing and isn’t ideal when you’re swimming in the water.
Within the levels you’ll find checkpoints. Checkpoints are very handy in levels because if you die before hitting a checkpoint, you’ll lose all your progress in the level. This includes all the orbs and hard to reach coins. This encourages you to backtrack to a checkpoint before trying to reach a hard to get orb or a golden coin suspended over a pit of spikes. This doesn’t take away from the game but it makes you take less risks to get items placed in trickier spots.
Snake Pass can be a short game once you master the controls but Sumo Digital created something new and fresh with its own unique controls. There are 15 wonderfully designed levels to explore that can easily make any completionist want to go back and obtain 100% completion for each level. Levels are fairly decent sizes with great use of vibrant color palettes. It also features great music from composer David Wise, best known for his work on the Donkey Kong Country series. If you want to show your friends you’re the best Snake Pass player around, the game offers a time trial mode if you like to see how fast you can complete a level. Snake Pass is a refreshing new IP that is worth checking out.