Sunday, April 16, 2017

Snipperclips: Cut it out Together! Review

My new favorite game to introduce to non gamers.

It's been over a month since the Nintendo Switch launched, and from it we can gleam a few key points about it. It sold 2.4 million units in a month, was Nintendo's fastest selling launch for a console, and Breath of the Wild sold well over a million units between the Wii U and Switch version. All in all, the Switch has had a pretty respectable launch, though people have decried that there were few good games at launch. Personally, I only picked up three games, and those games will most likely be the only games I pick up until Arms comes out in June, but I don't have a problem with either of those games. Breath of the Wild is a masterful Zelda game, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth + is the latest version of an already great game, and then there's Snipperclips, a Indie game that few have ever heard of.

Instead of me telling you a basic outline of the game, let me instead tell you the fun adventure I had playing this game with a friend.

A few weeks ago, I asked a friend of mine if they wanted to come over and play some Snipperclips. I just told them that it was a co-op game that can be played with a single Joy-con per person, and they said sure. They came on over, and we instantly hopped into the tutorial. We picked up the controls fairly quickly; tilt with the trigger buttons, jump, and most importantly, cut out your partner with the press of a button. If your character is overlapping the other character, but cutting them you can alter their shape either slightly or significantly. Add in constant character tilting and cutting each other repeatedly and you have a simple mechanic that anyone can learn on the spot.

Once we had that all taken care of, we plopped ourselves into the first world and was greeted with 15 stages of varying difficulty. Each stage has a single puzzle inside of it that must be solved. It can range from combining together to make a single shape, getting an object into a hole, shooting a basketball, escorting a firefly, to more intense, multi layered puzzles like transporting eggs across screen. All of these puzzles are a ton of fun and require constant communication between players. You NEED each other to succeed in this game, and the constant chatter I had with my friend reminded me of the old school N64 days where players all gathered around a small screen just to play a game.

Nostalgia aside, it didn't take us too long to beat the first world. We did it in a single sitting that lasted about a little over an hour. We agreed that we'd play every night until we beat the game. So the next night my friend came over and we tackled the second world, which was naturally a bit harder and a bit more complex. By this point the people I lived with began to watch us play and offer up suggestions to problems and laughed alongside us when something went terribly wrong. Granted, there's no dying or getting a Game Over in this game. You either solve a puzzle or you don't, and it doesn't matter how long it takes.

We decided to take a little break after beating the second world because we actually got so distracted cutting each other until there was nothing left when we were supposed to be solving puzzles. So we saw a little multiplayer menu and noticed that there were three minigames to play with up to four people! The minigames were all pretty basic, except for one mode; battle mode. Battle mode is essentially a mode where all you do is cut each other until there can be only one. It was a great little distraction that kept us entertained for a few minutes, and we played it after every session.

The following night my friend came out for us to take on the third world, which we did fairly easily, but then we discovered something that made us both kind of sad; that was it. There were only three worlds in the game with 15 stages in each. It took us a little less than 5 hours to beat the game in two player co-op, but I knew that there was more content. There was a single player mode, but neither of us really felt a point in playing the game by ourselves. It was the community building that made it so fun! Then there were also three and four player co-op, which looked amazing, but there was one slight problem. I would have had to get two more Joy-Cons for a grand total of $80 just to play this $20 game. No thanks.

And that was really my entire journey with Snipperclips. Like Severed, Snipperclips is an amazing little game just oozing with charm and personality, only to be let down by a paltry amount of content blocked off by an insane price wall. In order for me to fully enjoy the game, I would have needed to drop $100 for it, just as much as I did for Breath of the Wild. Look, I like Snipperclips, I really do, but I'm not spending that much money for a co-op puzzle game.

Which is a shame, because the game does look great. The characters are all expressive and make me smile just looking at them, and the game just bursts with fun and creativity. I liked this game so much that I actually introduced this game to a friend of mine that rarely plays video games, and we were able to have a fun session without any hassles. There's something incredibly admirable about a game that anyone can learn in an instant, has no punishments, and just allows players to laugh and have fun. I love to go on big adventures, but I'd imagine Snipperclips as the kind of game that could be anyone's "first game". Hell, my first game was Pokemon Snap, which was little more than just an on rails shooter where you just looked at things and took their picture. No punishment for failure, no difficulty, just a mellow, easy, and positive experience.

Do I wish there was more content here? Of course I do. It's just sad that in order for me to access what I feel is another half of a game, I need to put down $80. That's just highway robbery. If there were a few more worlds for two player co-op and maybe less of a focus on giant group puzzles, I would wholeheartingly recommend this to anyone who picks up a Switch. I still think that everyone who has a Switch should pick up Snipperclips, but they should probably be aware that it won't take nearly as long as you might think it will. Check your expectations, and enjoy the ride.


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