What is Snake Pass?
Snake Pass is a light-hearted, physics based platformer which sees players navigating a goofy snake called Noodle through various brightly-coloured stages. With three keystones that need to be retrieved in each level, along with 20 optional blue orbs to collect, and five elusive Gatekeeper coins, Snake Pass combines intentionally awkward controls with fifteen collectible-stuffed stages to create an adorably fun platforming challenge for everyone.
How do you play Snake Pass?
While the idea of a platforming game that stars a character without limbs may seem a bit unusual, Snake Pass is a game that's overflowing with charm. Probably closest to Octodad in terms of concept, it's up to you to make your way through various obstacle filled stages as the somewhat unwieldy Noodle the Snake, as you to figure out how to climb, scale, and otherwise traverse the beams, frames and pillars that get in your way. All you really need to do is collect the three keystones in each level to unlock the exit - but as you may expect, that's easier said than done.
The basic controls are simple enough - you can move forward by holding R2 (on PS4), while wiggling the left stick left and right lets you speed up. To climb, all you need to do is lift Noodle's head with the X button, before wrapping your body around the frame, and squeezing to hold on with L2. Using a combination of these basic moves, you'll be able to traverse almost all of the obstacles you'll find along the way - but as you don't have limbs, sometimes even the simplest of actions (like flicking a switch) require a lot of thinking! There's poles you'll need to wrap yourself around like a slinky to clamber up sheer cliffs, rotating platforms to contend with, and underwater caverns to navigate, as well as buttons, switches and pressure pads you'll need to activate to open up new areas. Figuring out where to go next, and how to get there, is part of the fun.
How easy is Snake Pass to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, Snake Pass is a game that's fairly easy to pick up and play, but tricky to master. With no enemies to speak of, almost all of the challenge here comes from how Noodle the Snake controls. As he's a slithery snake, wrapping him around a moving pole, or figuring out how to get across a broken down bridge is generally easier said than done, requiring equal parts forward planning, confident controlling and sheer luck. It's perhaps the planning that's the most unusual part, as some of the collectables seem to have no obvious, easy way of getting them - instead, you'll need to experiment, wrapping yourself around things, or trying different approaches, until you figure out how to reach it. With the controls often requiring you to press and hold several buttons at once, sometimes alternating between gripping and accelerating, sometimes lifting and dropping your head, it can feel a little like you're tying your fingers in a knot at times, although it rarely feels frustrating.
For the youngest of players, Snake Pass does have a very small amount of reading involved - however, it's only really the tutorials you'll need to understand. While the game's vague story is told through text only, it's not really essential for playing the game - so if your child can get their head around the controls, there's no real need to read.
- "Noodle! Something's wrong! The gate… the gate is broken! If we don't fix it, we'll be stuck here forever! Come on!"
- "There's a switch! I wonder what will happen if you use it..."
- "Every beast that slithers, skitters or crawls is in your debt. Take this as our thanks."
Snake Pass is as innocent and innocuous as Noodle the Snake's goofy face - there's nothing untoward in here at all. No blood and gore, no bad language, no sex scenes and no violence whatsoever; in fact, there's not even any enemies to speak of. Noodle can "die" by slithering into spikes, over hot lava or by falling off cliffs, but it merely makes him fade away and respawn at the last checkpoint you passed.