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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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Philippa Warr

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