Snake Pass Offers Super-Slithery Movement Syssssstem

I didn’t spend much time in the indie room at Rezzed simply because it was crammed full of people and I don’t do well in crowds. I’m too small so I get hemmed in and can’t see where everything is over the crowd. I did manage to elbow my way over to Sumo Digital’s Snake Pass [official site], though, and proceeded to check out its slithery snake physics.

“Snake Pass is the wriggling brain-child of Seb Liese, who originally came to Sumo from Holland to work on the LittleBigPlanet team. His prototype of ‘real snake physics’ captured the entire studio’s imagination and we’re really proud of the results so far!”

The idea started out as a tech demo inspired by the movement of a pet snake Liese had as a student but, via an in-house game jam, the tech demo caused enough of a stir that Sumo began developing it as an actual game:

In terms of what there was to play, the studio were actually using the expo to do a spot of testing to see which control scheme people preferred. I believe I had the slightly more intricate one where you gain speed as the snake by rocking the analogue stick from side to side to replicate the snake’s sinuous path across the level. Simply holding forward slows you down.

The demo level itself was pretty straightforward – you slithered about an area, collecting golden eggs and coiling your snake’s body around spindles to twist them and make flags appear. Once you had enough flags you could release a hamster from a cage and give it a nice tight hug. A hug which works out rather better for the snake than the hamster, as it turns out.

I have no idea how representative that level is of the game as a whole but I wanted to say that the movement is really lovely and I did like that (in my version, at least) you had to do the side-to-side snaking yourself. The aesthetic reminded me of a particular strain of Xbox 360 games like Viva Pinata of which I have fond memories.

I was less convinced about the actual level because that’s where the game didn’t seem to distinguish itself from many others. You collected some things and then activated the final objective but it might have just been a simple tutorial designed for the control system test/an expo atmosphere.

I will say that given the interest in snake movement and behaviour, I was surprised that when you collect an egg your snake doesn’t stretch its jaw and choke the whole thing down but perhaps that’s a bit weirdly time-consuming and grim in this cheery game.

Anyway. Good snaking. Would snake again. Now here’s a snake cramming an egg into its face and then sicking out* the shell:

And an ambitious snake eating an even bigger egg:

And finally, the snake equivalent of lying down under a beer tap:

*I assume there’s a specific biological term for this. Regurgitation, maybe, like with owl pellets.

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  1. deadlybydsgn says:

    Not exactly Snake, Rattle & Roll, is it?

    We’ll see if a real game emerges when this tech demo sheds its skin.

  2. Stense says:

    Another one I got the chance to play, and my favouritest game at Rezzed. One of the most rewarding games I’ve played in ages, seeing how happy getting an egg was to that cute snake made my heart sing!

  3. Didero says:

    This looks pretty fun! But why does there have to be a timer? :( That’d just make me feel so rushed.

    • Stense says:

      I don’t recall there being a timer in the demo I played. Although it’s possible I didn’t notice it because of the adorable happy snake.

    • AlexClockwork says:

      Same here, I really don’t like timers in this kind of games. Hope there’s an option to turn it off. :-(

  4. airknots says:

    Can’t wait for mods that will transform the snake into something else.

  5. GameCat says:

    Sumo Digital game? Sold.

  6. Baines says:

    Looks neat, but I cannot help wondering about the color pattern.

    The still shots use the pattern of a coral snake (red, yellow, black, where yellow is a buffer separating red and black). The gameplay trailer uses the non-venomous pattern (black is the buffer separating red and yellow.)

    That the two patterns are consistently used implies some measure of knowledge. But I can’t tell if they accidentally used coral snake coloration and then realized they should change it, or if they used non-venomous coloration and decided to switch to coral snake for some reason.

    • Author X says:

      For some reason I had it in my head, “Red touches yellow, everything’s mellow.”
      I guess I’m lucky I haven’t been in a snake-wrangling situation or I’d be dead by now.

      • gunny1993 says:

        Like all good rhyming monikers, it’s incredibly easy to come up with another couplet that sounds just as good and confuse yourself.

      • SingularityParadigm says:

        “Red touching black, friend of Jack. Red touching Yellow can kill a fellow.”

  7. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Oh cool, a game where you get to play as a snake climbing on things!

    What a thrill.

    • Ovno says:

      I know, after all it would be much more thrilling to play a game as a man shooting things.

      • Turkey says:

        What about a half-man half-snake who’s also a vampire and nobody understands him?

  8. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Looks fun! More animal sims that actually try to replicate interesting creature movement interactively like this, please.

    • Author X says:

      I agree, this looks fun and far more interesting than, say, a standard platformer with a different animal as the character model.

  9. racccoon says:

    At last! someone with original concept looks like a fun’ish game for a while.

  10. Geewhizbatman says:

    Very pretty! I was never a lover of the N64 era 3D platformy thing but just watching that snake move is fun in itself.

    Also, David Attenborough seemed a little off his game in that last clip.

  11. onodera says:

    Now we need to combine this game with the one where you poop on Paris as a pigeon. Asymmetrical dethmatches!

  12. oyog says:

    I’d be interested in a game mode that takes everything in the video and applies the classic Snake mechanic of getting longer every time you eat an apple (or an egg in this case).