At first glance, Snake Pass might appear to be just another attempt to revive the collectathon mascot platformer of the N64 days. With games like Yooka Laylee in the public eye, it would be easy to mistake Snake Pass for a cheap copy cat. While most of those elements are present, a happy new mascot, tons of collectibles, and bright colors to draw the eye, Snake Pass goes for something different, and while it stumbles at times, it creates something truly unique and fun. Snake Pass is available on the PC, Xbox One, PS4, and the Nintendo Switch. I played the Switch version for the purposes of my review.
Snake Pass stars Noodle, a friendly looking snake with a knack for slithering. As Noodle, you can master slithering while collecting coins and gems across 4 different worlds. While Noodle never speaks, he seems like a pretty relaxed guy. He also has a little bird friend, who is more than happy to do all the conversing for him.
Noodle’s goal is straightforward, Across 4 worlds and 15 levels, he’ll have to collect three distinct gems to open the portal to the next level. Each world also has coins and blue orbs to collect for the completionist in all of us.
Snake Pass plays like something entirely its own. Every mechanic is built around what it would be like to be a snake. Holding down the right trigger will propel Noodle forward, but slithering (ya know, like a snake) will build momentum moving you much faster. Snake Pass doesn’t have any enemies to speak of, but it isn’t quite as simple as slithering across the ground collecting things.
The challenge of Snake Pass is in its verticality. If you want to reach those hard to get collectibles, you’ll need to learn how to wrap around objects like bamboo shoots or ruins in order to get higher up. You’ll start out slow, but in later levels, you’ll have to cross massive chasms on thing bamboo branches, so be sure to hit those checkpoints. A quick tap of the Y button will have your bird companion grab you by the tail, it may not seem like much but not having to support your full weight just might save you from falling to your death at times.
Snake Pass is Sumo Digital’s first internally produced game jam project. As a result of this it’s a bit short, but at a $20.00 price point it’s well put together, and has some incredibly unique physics. I’m not sure what it would be like to be a snake, but this feels pretty accurate. Learning when to tense up your grip and move quickly across obstacles is something you get better at the more time you spend with Noodle.
Graphically speaking Snake Pass will bring games like Banjo Kazooie or the more recent Yooka Laylee to mind, Its high saturation, and colorful characters are incredibly reminiscent of old Rare. Snake Pass looks just fine on the Switch, although, it may drop a few frames and chug a bit now and again. If you’re looking to be blown away, the PS4 version offers full 4K resolutions and HDR support on a PS4 Pro.