Review: Snake Revolution
It's Snake, but with levels, power ups and something of a complete overhaul (though staying in 2D) and it's out now in the Ovi Store, with a trial version. At which point I look through my review archives to find a suitable review - and I don't have to look any further than Mr Snake himself, Ewan Spence. Here's his full Ovi Gaming review of Snake Revolution.
Version Reviewed: 1.00 (0)
Some people like the falling blocks genre of gaming, some are nuts for role playing games. My genre of choice is the Snake game. I had this fascination long before Nokia picked it up as their flagship “game on a phone” idea and promoted it to (almost) become the company mascot through the original version for the N-Gage; and i cried as the updated version proved to be a three dimensional disaster.
And that's before you consider the countless third party implementations that are out there.
I always feel that there's more to designing a good snake game than just doing the movement code and letting the user get on with it. Any developer needs a bit of artistry in them, especially in the snake game. It's not just in the speed of the game, comfortable controls or sensible use of the playing area; there's the feel of the game, from the flow of your snake around the world and the switch from travelling anywhere to building up to a huge body length that makes traversing the world a little bit more awkward.
Plus the modern gamer expects more than just a blank game grid and an endurance style of gaming where they have to play till they die from their excessive length of mistake. When I programmed my own snake game (It was called Adder) I went with a level-based approach with walls, obstacles and terrain to ramp up the challenge.
That's the main approach Digital Chocolate have made in their version of this genre classic. Snake Revolution steps back from the 3D efforts pushed by Nokia and others to update the game for the 21st Century. There's no hiding the square grid-based nature of the playing area and the Snake's body is suitably blocky (although you can see the snake slide around the world because of the hint of animation as the body parts move around).
You even have a Classic Mode which is the aforementioned 'grow till you die' challenge.
But the core of the game is “Snake World,” where you are asked to navigate a number of different worlds in the game (Forest, Arctic, Desert, etc) and in each world there are individual levels that need to be completed before you can progress and eventually meet the mystery “Miss Princess” who's writing letters (no matter that she expects you'll be able to read these letters, being a snake).
If you're getting a hint of Nintendo's Mario world in how the levels are laid out, then you're not far wrong. That's magnified with the addition of power up mushrooms available in these levels, with which you can break down obstacles in the middle of the grid to make your movement a little easier, snails to slow down your snake, keys to open gates and levels, all with the required increasing levels of difficulty.
It starts out with an almost empty grid, but soon you'll be finding that the level designer has a special marked sadism, with rivers and tiny bridges getting blocked by tree stumps you need to break through, all the while avoiding yourself, the edge of the grid, and trying to eat stars. It's delightful, in an evil way.
There are also Boss levels, where you have to take on another snake. You'll need to look at the terrain closely and see what the boss snake does to find a tactic that works and allows you to progress. This is a nice touch and definitely gives you the feeling of getting through the game, in addition to the map you are provided between world levels.
The idea of trophies is also present in the game, giving you some long term goals to play for as well as success on individual levels. Can you play for two hours? Five? Ten? Manage to eat ten thousand stars? Ten different awards are tracked, and while there's no in game benefit that I can see, the simple fact of having these here is driving me on to keep playing the game – so they must be serving their purpose quite well!
There's not a huge number of things you can tweak in the settings. Perhaps the only one of any consequence is the volume option. The only sound appears to be the jaunty, yet rather short, background music. This is on a shot loop so repeats very quickly, and is more than enough to drive you insane in short order. Unfortunately there are no sound effects while playing, which is a missed opportunity. A good “munch” sound when you reach a star and a crunching crash on hitting the wall (or your body) would add to the atmosphere of the game.
But that's about the only fault I can find in Snake Revolution.
Okay, there is one. It's not really a Revolution – there's nothing brand new here. But as I've seen countless times, this is an easy genre to make mistakes in coding or design. So congratulations to Digital Chocolate for their vision of the Snake game. It works surprisingly well and I'd recommend everyone taking a look at it through the free demo.
-- Ewan Spence, June 2010.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at