Sssnakes (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Olivia Falk 13.04.2017 2

Review for Sssnakes on Nintendo 3DS

Snake has existed in one form or another for around 40 years, now, so it would be unsurprising if the classic "eat things to grow longer" formula had worn out its welcome by now. Evidently not, as Sssnakes seeks to add more to the game than just a few extra consonants in the title. Featuring a wealth of stages, new game mechanics, and colourful, updated visuals, the question remains: is it better to leave the classics untouched?

Sssnakes maintains the quad-directional movement of its progenitor, while adding one new piece of functionality: the ability to shoot. How exactly a brightly-coloured snake gained the capacity to fire lasers from its snout remains a mystery, yet it can be a useful tool for dispatching the new obstacles that are placed in the levels. These include enemies that spawn in and move erratically, shifting environments, and even other snakes. All serve to further complicate the ultimate goal: eating all of the eggs in the stage without colliding with anything significantly less tasty.

There are enough wrinkles added to give the impression that an interesting, varied experience is in store. The game's trailer certainly makes things out to be this way, featuring shifting platforms, dark caves, and other locales. Unfortunately, getting to see any of that content is the real challenge, as Sssnakes is absolutely punishing. Three lives are all that are provided at the outset, and once they're gone, it's game over. Back to the first level. Whether extra lives are awarded as you progress remains to be seen, but at minimum, the first five levels must be completed in one lucky streak.

Screenshot for Sssnakes on Nintendo 3DS

Really, everything seems to rely on luck, as the unpredictable movements of enemies will constantly have them either dodging a laser as it's about to hit them or colliding with the snake's head when it's least expected. The egg placements aren't randomized, which allows for some degree of strategy. This is encouraged by a combo system that rewards the consumption of multiple like-coloured eggs in succession. However, unless pursuing a high score, it can often be more viable to just shoot half the eggs, as it clears them from the map while saving the hassle of trying to wiggle around and retrieve them. A score attack mode is present, allowing for practice on any stage that has been reached in the main game, but hours of skill honing isn't exactly encouraged.

Possibly the most egregious issue is the controls, though. Half the time, directional inputs were just ignored. Precise timing is often required to turn when needed, and each square of the map seems to have a "dead zone" where inputs just won't work. It ended up being easier to play while looking at the touch screen, which trades the simplistic and mildly garish 3D visuals of the upper screen for a classic Game Boy-esque style. On this screen, the snake simply moves block by block, and it can be far easier to determine when to press a button to change direction. Of course, this kind of defeats the purpose of playing a "next-gen" version of Snake when the most useful display is one that's relatively unchanged from the original.

Each of these issues end up feeding into one another: the clunky controls make it needlessly difficult to avoid all the new obstacles, which in turn means that death and a full restart come far too frequently. The shooting mechanic isn't used in any meaningful way, and just attempting to line up shots properly resulted in countless deaths. At the end of the day, there isn't much to recommend with Sssnakes, as more fun can be had simply by Googling "snake game" and finding one of numerous free variants.

Screenshot for Sssnakes on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Adding fresh ideas to revitalize an old idea can yield some excellent results. However, it requires a certain degree of effort to be put in to nailing what made the original great. Only then can the solid foundation be built upon. Snake games as a concept have had decades to become extremely polished, yet Sssnakes seems to ignore the lessons of the past in favour of trying new things. The result is a game that feels completely half-baked, with new "features" that struggle to stand up while the ground crumbles beneath their feet.

Developer

EnjoyUp

Publisher

EnjoyUp

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

It ended up being easier to play while looking at the touch screen...

Oh, dear lol. I do wonder who ends up paying for this kind of game. I guess someone with no mobile phone.

Wow, quite shocking to see this messed up so badly Smilie

Welcome to the site, by the way, Olivia! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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