First Impressions – Snake Pass (Nintendo Switch)

It would be easy to dismiss Snake Pass at first glance as a gimmicky little platformer meant for kids—and even the booth on the Expo hall floor gave that impression, with brightly colored bean bag chairs and a lineup perpetually filled with parents a children waiting to give the game a try. I’m glad I didn’t let my first glance stop me from playing, however, because this seems like a gem of a game that will only improve in the final version.

Snake Pass follows the slithery adventures of Noodle and his hummingbird pal Doodle, with the player guiding Noodle around, under, and over various obstacles, collecting items and moving between levels in a way that only snakes can. The visuals are bright and cartoony, but crisply defined. It certainly looked and felt like a classic Nintendo 64 title, and apparently that was the whole point.

The team behind Snake Pass developed it to feel like the old Rare platformers on the 64—it’s not supposed to be slick and modern, by any stretch. And much like trying to get a handle on the controls back in those days, I also found myself having some trouble getting used to the controls for this game. I’d never really experienced anything like it, because the player is manipulating vertical and horizontal movement at the same time—one stick aims Noodle’s head, and another button lifts his head to get some height (for when you want to start traveling vertically). Still another moves Noodle forward, while another one freezes or tenses him… and then another one shifts your center of gravity when Noodle lifts his tail.

Yes, it’s a lot to get a handle on out of the gate. I found it difficult to move Noodle around during the demo, though there were moments when everything seemed to work in perfect sync and I felt as though I’d had a fleeting glimpse of genius.

The movement all works together to force you to work and think like a snake—you can’t climb straight up a wall, you have to find a way to wrap Noodle around bars and ledges to get the necessary height and momentum, and figure out when tensing is necessary to stay on an object, switch direction, or more fluidly transition between positions.

I left the demo feeling challenged by the controls, but hopeful that with a little more concentration (and less distraction from the busy show floor), the control scheme could be mastered and provide a fun, nostalgia-filled gaming experience.

That said, I wouldn’t recommend that anyone play Snake Pass on the Nintendo Switch without a Pro Controller in their hands—that’s just asking for trouble. And bad finger cramps.


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Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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