Everybody’s played Snake and Breakout, but what would happen if you played a game that combined the two? Aarjvark changes up the formula with SnOut, a game that combines ball bouncing and brick breaking with the graceful movements of a snake. Does this unorthodox combo work, or is there a reason it hasn’t been done after all these years?
Much like the classic Nokia game, players will take control of a snake that can move in four different dimensions. The world this long fellow inhabits is a small one, surrounded by a number of small blocks that mean certain doom the moment they are touched.
To make matters worse, SnOut introduces an ever-bouncing ball that continuously breaks the blocks of its world. Every time the ball bounces on the snake, the snake gets larger. The ultimate goal of the game is to bounce the ball off the snake as many times as possible without crashing into anything.
It’s a simple premise at its core, and it works – at least in theory. The control scheme works just as you remember it, with players turning 90 degrees at the press of a button. In addition, the ball bounces at a steady pace a la Breakout and Arkanoid, working exactly as you’d expect it would.
However, the world of SnOut is just too small to make any serious sort of impact. It’s far too easy to come face first with the ball, ending what could have been a great run. Though the world gradually gets bigger the longer one plays, the longer version of the snake makes it a bit tricky to get around. Although players can quickly get back into a new run after failure, it doesn’t always feel rewarding. The whole package feels awkward, and a bigger playfield would have helped tremendously.
This can also be exacerbated by the coins that appear on the battlefield. While it serves the same purpose as the apples of Snake, they tend to spawn at the most awkward of spots. On more than one occasion, a coin would spawn in a dead end surrounded by blocks, with no chance to recover from that given spot. When that happens, it feels unfair, like the title wasn’t designed properly.
Each run is judged based off of one’s score, coins gathered, blocks broken, and time. Coins can unlock additional palettes and block styles, while one’s score can be added to the all-time and monthly leaderboards. There’s a fair amount of people on the leaderboards as of this writing, so the replayability is high for those looking to be the very best.
SnOut’s combination of Breakout and Snake is great in theory, but the execution leaves something to be desired. There just isn’t enough real estate to move around, and the awkward layout means that runs will be over sooner rather than later.
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