Snake Pass launched on the Nintendo Switch eShop this week, but I’ve seen a lot of complaints throughout the community about how hard the game can be. For those of you who were expecting a Banjo-Kazooie style open world adventure with a story and two cute characters working together, Snake Pass is not that.
It’s more of a puzzle platformer that’s divided into mini-levels, each littered with unique objects for you to find. While playing the game for our review, I’ve noticed a few tips and tricks that should help you with the game and keep you from getting frustrated with the controls, especially if you’re the person who was expecting an entirely different game.
1. Think like a snake.
Part of the fun of Snake Pass is that you control Noodle by moving like a snake. You can slither to get where you’re going and you really only directly control Noodle’s head by lifting it up or down. From there, you can move forward or tighten your grip. The game is primarily a physics platformer, so you’ll need to work within these confines to really enjoy the game.
Sumo Digital has said in previous interviews that Noodle has over 30 individual segments that have their own grip and resistance, so you’ll need to be highly familiar with the controls in order to make good progress with the game.
2. Slow and steady wins the race.
When it comes to maneuvering Noodle around his environment, it can be tempting to rush forward like any platformer in order to get where you’re going. That’s the quickest way to plummet to your death in Snake Pass, since many of the coins, gate keys, and bubbles that you’re tasked with collecting are placed in death-defying spots.
Start slowly by coiling yourself around objects and tightening yourself to give yourself a good base to work from. If you don’t have a tight coiled grip before you launch yourself at an other platform, you won’t have the momentum required to wrap yourself around it to hang on.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask your hummingbird friend for help.
Pressing Y will ask your hummingbird friend to give you a caboose lift, which can help you get in those hard to reach places. It can also save your life if you’ve misjudged a lunge and need an extra boost to get yourself up on a ledge. Keep in mind that the hummingbird can’t save you from a fall, though.
It’s also a useful way to get around if you don’t like slithering. You can press Y to have the hummingbird grab your tail and then press forward to move normally instead of slithering side-to-side like an actual snake. It’s not real “snekking”, but it certainly works!
4. Explore every nook and cranny of the levels before progressing.
It can be tempting to just collect the gate keys needed to finish a level and move on, but if you do that you’ll severely be hampering your experience with the game. It only has 15 stages set across four different themed areas, each of which gets progressively harder. The difficulty level ramps up pretty quickly and by level 3, you’ll need to be very proficient at coiling yourself.
Instead of rushing to get through the levels to see more of the game, take your time to find all the bubbles and coins in each level. The coins especially are hidden in devious locations that will require you to “git gud” at doing your snake coils to collect them without dying. Finish each level completely before moving on so you don’t find yourself frustrated by the controls because you haven’t spent enough time with them.
5. Don’t forget to hit those checkpoints after a stunt!
There are little concrete runes on the ground that serve as the game’s save system. You’ll want to hit these frequently as you go about the levels collecting items because if you die by falling off the level, you’ll have to start over from the last checkpoint you hit.
Make a habit of going to the concrete runes on each stage after you fetch a coin or a bubble that was hard to get so you don’t lose progress and frustrate yourself.
So there you have it, a small handful of tips to help you get the most out of Snake Pass without getting frustrated. Instead of approaching this game like a Banjo-Kazooie clone, think of it more like an Octodad-like using a different animal with similarly wonky controls. I don’t find Noodle to be hard to operate when you take it slow and plan your moves. It’s certainly not a twitchy platformer in the least.