Snake worlds – Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?!?

May12 I don’t know if I like the idea of worlds of snakes.  They just can’t leave those slithery snakes alone.  There’s like a bazillion snake-based games out there, and still people make more.  And yet the games are fun.  Take Atomic Worm for instance.  It was a new twist on an old favorite.  It was also abstracted enough that it didn’t exactly resemble traditional snake.  In any case that didn’t stop Patrick Kooman from making his Snake Worlds.  What else can you do with a snake type game.  Eat stuff, grow, try not to run into yourself.  Well he managed to take it into 3 dimensions.  I don’t mean some other 3d ones that are still essentially 2d versions, but actual 6 degrees of freedom.  Okay well not really.  It takes place on a sphere so technically it could be said that’ it’s also essentially 2D.  But at least he does it in a cool an unusual way.  In the game you play the role of Snakey, the wonderful devourer of worlds intent on destroying earth!  Watch as he grows when he starts eating people.  Laugh as he gets ridiculously huge and looks like a giant sock with multiple legs.  Cry when you realize that all of earth is gone because one little snake got too big for his britches.  Naaaaaahhhhh…. Just kidding.  There’s no story and no eating people, although that would be pretty cool.  In actuality you’re eating “food” and I use that term loosely, as they look like dog bones or something.  It’s pretty much like other snake games, except a globe instead of a flat plane, and you eat and as you eat you get longer. 

SnakeWorldsSS01 Try not to crash into your own tail.  But that actually seemed fairly easy to me.  The hard part was just controlling the snake as you use left or right keys (either arrows or ‘A’ and ‘D’) and he simply rotates in that direction.  To speed up you simply hit ‘W’ or the up arrow.  Trying to keep from running into obstacles in the game itself is a little harder than it looks.  It is fairly challenging.  The interface could use a little work though.  For instance, while everything is shown at the top, you tend to ignore it because for one thing the font is small, and for another the text is in these orange bubbles.  It would be much easier to read if the text itself was bright yellow or gold and large over a transparent background.  For another it seems all the status info is at the top.  Granted most of us in the western world (maybe not where this game was made, but I’m in the US) read from top to bottom left to right.  While it would seem logical to put info at the top, truth is when playing a game, you don’t really like moving your eyes up from the action.  Since your eyes are on the game itself, you are actually going from bottom to top.  I suggest putting some of the more important items like score and lives at the bottom, so that you can easily glance down from the game.  There’s also a lack of feedback.  An exclamation mark is shown above the food if you’re far away from it which directs you to the food.  Once you’re there, you have to run over the food but it doesn’t really tell you that you ate it other than showing another mark somewhere on the level.  Another suggestion then is some fancy eating animation and particle effects to let you know you really did eat the food. (Edit)Apparently the snake does have a swallow animation that I didn’t notice because I was too busy with obstacles.(end Edit)

SnakeWorldsSS02 Okay so the goal of the game is to fill your ‘food’ meter by, you guessed it, eating food.  Food meter sits at the bottom.  Along with my earlier suggestion, maybe the food meter should be at the top.  Food is shown from far away as an exclamation point.  It looks like a dog bone.  Food comes in small and large versions allowing you to grow one or three segments at a time.  You get points based on what you eat and a bonus based on how long your tail is.  This leads to the fact that you can lose tail parts.  Whereas in the original snake game you die when you crash into yourself, here you only lose part of the tail from where you crashed into.  However you lose a life if you crash into any other obstacle.  There are three power-ups which are indicated on the globe as magenta colored exclamation marks.  Yellow reduces speed, purple gives you higher score when you eat, and blue makes you smaller to be easier to maneuver.  When you get a certain amount of large points, you’ll get a power up that last the lifetime of the game, so in this way you can upgrade a bit.  Okay so now we know all about playing let me tell you the differences between the demo and the full version.  In the demo you can only have a local high scores files, but in the full version you get to submit to a global online score table.  You also only get 5 globes (levels) on the first world, out of 3 total worlds, and 24 total levels.  It should be enough to give you an idea of whether or not you want to buy it.  At least it is interesting enough to try the demo out.  (Edit) The food looked like a bone because it was in the “spooky” world.  There’s Beach, Spooky, and Autumn Park.  This also explained why the world read 2-1, because the demo only has 5 globes from the spooky world.  Man I’m telling you though, I totally can’t get to world 2-5, more on that below. (End of edit)

SnakeWorldsSS03 So let’s see how I do.  Okay in the beginning you get two tutorial levels.  Then after that they don’t show up again.  Not really sure how to play them again though as there doesn’t seem to be an option to replay them.  In the options menu you can choose full screen or windowed.  It starts on full screen but I chose windowed.  It also has widescreen options and a number of resolutions.  Well the first time I ran into myself!  I’m a great snake let me tell you!  Okay I got through that, since I ran into myself my bonus wasn’t as big.  I just hit a power up on the second globe, it appears to be the score power up, which means I get double score bonus for 30 seconds.  Hmm I just died.  In fact I died each time rather quickly, so now i must start a new game.  Did marginally better this time, I’m on to my third globe.  You don’t lose any on your food meter if you die, which is good.  Sometimes the food would “pop out” on me and then pop back in.  Not sure why but I’m sure it’s graphics and not game related.  I guess when you get 30 or more segments you can “enter” the globe.  Helps I guess when you’re about to run into something, although it did nothing for me.  Okay so now I’m on to globe number four.  Okay I sucked there.  Just died.  I want to get to the end of the demo before checking out the full version.  So I will try and then return when I have done so.  Each globe gets successively faster, so watch out for that.  Also make sure to line up the head dots to go where you want.  Okay I take it back, I can’t even get to globe five, so I’m just going to pull up the full version.

SnakeWorldsSS04 The graphics are fairly adequate.  There’s nothing spectacular though.  At times some of the planet textures seem to pop a  bit.  Some of you that get motion sickness just might be affected.  I found myself getting a bit dizzy, nothing too serious as I don’t usually get motion sickness, while staring at the snake on the globe.  There are glowing dots to show you where you can go.  The fainter ones show general globe directions, the stronger ones show you the direction the snake came move.  You can’t rotate on the poles directly.  There are some neat rain effects including sound.  The music on the menu is, I’m sorry to say, a bit annoying.  Some sort of jazzy-fusiony thingy.  The in game music seems somewhat orchestral (I was informed that’s only on world 2, in fact the beach world music is a bit more tropical in flavor), it’s not bad.  The sounds aren’t bad either, and you do get some audio feedback when you eat.

One last little note before my final analysis.  The demo and full versions are separate, so you can’t really bring high scores or progress over to the full version.  But that’s not really that big of a deal.

Final Analysis:  Well this is more in depth than I usually go.  The game certainly is challenging, and although the graphics aren’t the greatest, the themes help make it more fun.  The globe adds a twist as well as your obstacles (which some snake games have but not all).  I think you should give it a try, as the demo does give you a good idea of how the game works.  Plus at 7.99 Euros (about 11 US dollars) it gives enough value for the money.

Name: Snake Worlds

Developer Patrick Kooman

Price: 7.99 EUR / 11 USD

Where you can get it: Here!

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