Developer: Stove Top Studios
Genre: Arcade, Puzzle
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 02/04/2019
Price: £10.79 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Back in the early 2000s, almost everybody had a mobile phone that had the game “Snake” on it. The concept was simple; move around the screen while collecting blocks to increase your score and the length of your snake. The only real way to lose was to double back on yourself so that you ended up running into your snake. Fast forward to the present day, swap out the snake for a bus and let’s see how this measures up.
When the game starts up, you are given a menu with a few different options to select, one of these is named “how to play”. Choosing this would (you’d think) show you the game mechanics, the way to score, how you lose etc…wrong. Selecting the option that should show you all of these instead only shows you the movement controls. You can choose your style of bus, the level you use and the game mode (of which there are four that we will discuss later). Changing the bus and the level will be limited at first as you are required to reach specific scores to unlock more options, which is a grind.
The gameplay is simple, pick up passengers in clearly marked areas and take them to the designated drop off point. Rinse and repeat. The challenge comes from doing your best to ensure you do not run into the ever-extending rear end of your bus. As soon as you do the bus will stop, catch on fire and you will lose the game. There is one saving grace, the jump feature. This allows you to jump over yourself (or anything for that matter) to prevent an early game over. You build up the ability to do this as you play the levels, and you can choose how much is used up by how long the jump button is held down for. Sounds simple enough, right? The original “Snake” game showed you the whole map at once, granted it was an empty box, but you could still plan out your moves. Snakeybus does not do this. You have to navigate the maps without an overview, meaning that planning out your route is a lot harder than it should be. Ultimately a lot of times a game over was reached simply by getting lost.
As said before, there are four different game modes available to be played. Classic mode is first up, this is your standard “Snake” affair. You collect the passengers, drop them off, and the only way you can lose is by running into yourself. Time Race, this is the same as classic mode but adds in that you must reach the designated stops before the time runs out. The endless mode which gives you a vast open area, limited restrictions and essentially the ability to become longer than in any other game mode. The aerial mode which has you flying through the sky as opposed to being on the road, this allows for more freedom of movement in your journey to be the biggest bus around. Not every mode is available in each level though, which is understandable given the layout but seems like a wasted opportunity at the same time. You do have the option to submit your scores to a global leaderboard at the end of each run, which is a nice touch. Local multiplayer is also available but was unable to be tested out for this review
Graphically this game is ok. It doesn’t shine; the style is quite minimalistic and in a way, unique. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s great. There was no part of the visuals that jumped out and gave any shock or awe, but also no part that was displeasing to the eye. The music is a bit repetitive, as are the sound effects on each level. It all just feels like it’s there, but at no point does any of it stand out.
Overall, “Snake” this game is not. It’s an attempt to bring back a classic game with a funny and quirky look that seems to fall flat. The premise sounded fun on paper, but in reality, this may be one bus you’ll be glad to miss.
Rapid Reviews Rating
Snakeybus can be purchased for the Nintendo Switch at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Snakeybus-1745784.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.