There seems to be a trend of returning to the golden age of gaming at the moment, firstly we had Rare releasing Rare replay with 30 amazingly retro games, including Banjo Kazooie, the amazing Yooka-Leylee is out soon as is the remastered Crash Bandicoot.
I love introducing these games to my 10 year old daughter Pippa. At EGX last year Pippa and I got to play another game that would fit in with this golden age of gaming, Snake Pass from Sumo Digital, and we loved it!
Snake Pass is released on the PS4 and takes the opportunity to support the PS Pro with 4K visuals, XBox One and PC, but we jumped at the chance to review it on the new Nintendo Switch!
Snake Pass has a simple story of a friendly snake called Noodle who must travel through the worlds opening up gateways to the next by collecting 3 different coloured gems. With the help of his hummingbird friend Doodle you slither around these worlds or floating islands solving the puzzles and performing difficult acts of dexterity. However that is not all, you must also dare to collect bubbles and coins just like in the good old days of gaming, by putting yourself in unspeakable dangers.
Although each world seems fairly small, they are amazingly intricate and full of hidden things to find like coins and bubbles that are hanging dangerously over the edge or hanging from an area that just seems completely out of reach, this is where this game will both amaze and frustrate you in equal measure.
You must slither your way around by holding down the trigger, but to get any speed you must use the joy stick to wiggle left and right, add to that the 'A' button to lift your head and the left trigger to tighten your grip. Using a combination of all of this will allow you to climb up structures by twisting around them, this is a skill that although you will get the hang of really quickly.
It is a skill that takes a good while to master and will see you falling off of the floating island as you dare to grab that bubble or coin that is hanging over the edge. You find yourself having to have just one more go.
It is the level structure and challenge that makes me feel this game is perfect for family gaming. With a PEGI rating of 3 it is suitable for everyone as there is no enemy within the game for you to kill or to be killed by and on the whole is more of a calming experience.
Children can become bored or lost in a game that just keeps going and does not seem to end, but these levels are short and snappy, and give just the right amount of challenge to allow them to progress, and ultimately complete the game, but also with the ability to add to that challenge by collecting all of the items in each level.
It is for this same reason Snake Pass is perfect for the Nintendo Switch, as they can be completed on the go, when maybe you only have a short amount of time to play, but also works just as well on the TV in docked mode.
The Switch handles the game perfectly, it is very smooth and animated really well, with little touches like bugs flying around and plants blowing in the breeze giving a real charm to the game. The music is calm and extremely thematic and helps to release any frustration you may feel as you struggle to climb that structure over the edge of the world to get to that coin without falling off.
The only down side I have found with playing on the Switch is that the HD rumble is a little full on, and becomes rather audible when you grip onto a pole, which can be a little off putting, but we understand this will be addressed with an update soon.
All in all Snake Pass is a very polished game with a great idea that works amazingly well, and really pushes your skills in gaming in a way like no other game has before it. You will return again and again to this game, trying to collect all of the items or trying to beat your time and already Pippa has fallen in love with Noodle and Doodle and is enjoying creating her own level of difficulty within the game by deciding what to collect or leave or how far to challenge herself, which I feel is a great way to learn.