Snake Pass Review
Snake Pass is a 3-D platformer and collectathon built around a very satisfying system of character movement and control. The character you are controlling is a large snake named Noodle who slithers across the game's cleverly designed levels. The most immediately striking parts of Snake Pass are the vibrant, eye-catching visuals and unique control scheme. You slither forward with R2 while simultaneously wiggling your body side to side with the left analog stick in order to maintain speed. Though these controls are unlike any I've used before, I was surprised at how quickly they felt intuitive. Even though you play as a snake, much of your time in snake pass is not spent crawling on the ground. In order to reach new heights you can lift your head while wrapping your body up and around the game's many jungle gym structures. The only other moves at your disposal are the ability to tightly grip the structure you're attached to and call a bird companion to lift up your tail. There is no combat or enemies in the game, but that stuff never feels like it's missing. It's Noodle against the world.
Although basic movement comes quickly and naturally, I always felt my snake skills were gradually improving throughout the game's levels, which require increasingly more elaborate feats of dexterity to obtain all the collectibles. The collectibles in Snake Pass act as a guide and a challenge for you to master control of your movements. They are meant to push you into very nerve-racking situations where one wrong move or hesitation brings instant death. Many times I came across seemingly out of reach coins, only to form a movement strategy in my head, and then execute it to perfection. Those moments were really satisfying and they are set up all over each Snake Pass level.
Those satisfying moments of accomplishment did not come without brief moments of frustration. Some collectibles can be very hard to get, especially if you haven't completely mastered your body control. I died a lot in the later levels, but the game pretty much steers clear of random deaths. When you die it's usually because you didn't do the thing you needed to do to get the thing you needed to get. The few times I could blame the game for my demise was due to the camera. Occasionally I would make a move only to have the camera swing in such a way that gave me a bad angle at the action and totally messed up my movement flow. Didn't happen that often, but enough to be worth mentioning.
Snake Pass strikes a great balance between being a super relaxing, cheerful experience punctuated by moments of extreme intensity as you maneuverer yourself into the most dangerous of circumstances. All done for the pure satisfaction of getting yours and getting out alive.