You would think that you can’t do much new with the 3D platforming genre, but the Sumo Digital development studio has done so … by taking jumping, one of the genre’s core game mechanics, out of it.
Snake Pass is the latest offering from Sumo, which has worked on games like Sonic & All Stars Racing and Forza Motorsport, and it is out today for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. While Snake Pass is significant because it shows that Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 development tools will work on Nintendo’s latest system, it’s also game you should pay attention to because it’s fun and different.
I’m playing Snake Pass on Switch, and after a handful of hours I’ve found a ton to love. It’s bright and colorful. The characters have a quality that echoes Viva Pinata and Banjo-Kazooie developer Rare that I enjoy — even if I know some people dislike that big-eyed art style.
But, most of all, I’m digging the hell out of the way Snake Pass plays.
The primary goal is to guide your snake hero through small levels in search of blue orbs, five hidden coins, and three magic stones. If you collect all the stones, you can take them to the exit to move on to the next stage. That’s a basic, unsurprising premise for a platformer, but Snake Pass stands out in the way you traverse the environment. Your snake cannot jump or run. Instead, you slither across the ground. To get to the higher parts of the level, you need to wrap your body around objects strategically in order to support your body. It’s almost like each obstacle is a physics-based puzzle.
So, sure, go ahead and pick up Snake Pass to see Unreal Engine running on Switch, but don’t skip it if you’re primarily a PC player or someone who only owns PS4 or Xbox One.