Snakeybus. A game that caught my curiosity thanks to that name. A name that brought up infinite possibilities as to what this game could be. What it turned out to be was a concoction of Snake and Crazy Taxi with a dash of every single Flash game we wasted our school time playing in the IT rooms.
Originally released on PC in May last year, Snakeybus currently sits at a Very Positive on Steam with over 900 reviews. It’s cheap and cheerful nonsense which works well enough with a concept that doesn’t ever really deviate from its generic formula.
The game makes a solid first impression though. You control a bus that progressively becomes longer and longer the more passengers across the 3D world you pick up. Your aim is to keep the train moving for as long as possible, take your passengers to their destinations and avoid crashing into yourself. It’s not an easy task, as the roads become narrower the longer your bus becomes and you can’t stop the bus for fear of it exploding (pop quiz, hotshot). As you continue to navigate around avoiding your bus you’ll find there are fewer places to drive your bus through in order to avoid yourself, and that’s where it becomes surprisingly tactical. If your bus does do the blowing up explosion thing, your passengers will fall from the bus in a heap and that’s game over.
There’s a variety of maps to travel around in, some far more interesting than others. Whilst the narrow size of the ‘Dorm’, your first level, is a neat little indicator of what Snakeybus is all about, it’s not until you’re in the more open areas such as Miami and Suburb that the games potential really presents itself. Particularly the latter, which is where I spent the majority of my time tearing around in order to beat my scores.
When you’re free to roam in wider spaces Snakeybus becomes dangerously close to becoming somewhat fun, it’s the smaller, narrower maps where frustration and physics collide to such a degree that I didn’t ever want to jump from map to map. Don’t even get me started on the Cave, I never want to see that unfathomable hell hole ever again.
If you find yourself getting caught in a jam never fear, for your bus has this rather helpful ability to jump inordinately high into the air to attempt to scale your way out of a sticky situation. It’s limited and needs a recharge, so only use it when you’re absolutely stuck in a corner, so long as you land somewhere you can keep the bus moving you can carry on with little issue. It’s an absolute pain in the ass to control when jumping in the air so be delicate with your movements. An arrow will appear on the screen when you have enough passengers to make it to your destination and you’re able to drift if you miss turnings, which works well enough.
Finally there’s a boost which gives your buss an extra dose of power if you need it. You’re not particularly in a rush in Snakeybus and I found it much easier to navigate without using the boost, though sometimes it’s certainly necessary to so you bus doesn’t do the explodey thing you’re certainly trying to avoid.
Your end of level score will unlock new bus styles (including the one and only Clustertruck) and new stages. There’s even a Platinum/1000G’s to secure and it’s super easy. The more you unlock, the more Trophies/Achievements you’ll accumulate. I mean, I unlocked the Platinum, so that should be a solid enough indicator of its measly difficulty.
There are various game modes in Snakebus but it’s only Classic mode that you can rack up your scores in order to unlock extra content, making everything else feel rather superfluous. Still, there’s an Endless mode which is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. There are no goals or customers to pick up, you’re just making your bus as long as it can be. This is locked on a special stage and, without the games most standard point-securing mechanics, makes the mode completely pointless, so to speak.
Then there’s Aerial mode, which you can only play on the Cave level. It’s horrible and awful and optimised about as well as Cyberpunk 2077 on a microwave oven. Its main purpose, apart from offering up a sandwich full of battery acid in the guise of fun is to control the bus in the mid-air and fly through rings with your passengers in tow. This mode should never have been included in the overall package. How this made it past testers and QA is absolutely beyond me.
So there’s really not an awful lot to recommend, despite Snakeybus doing what it does fairly well. In this climate there are so many better games at the £10 price range you can get stuck into that it’s not even worth the minimal RRP. It’s doing solid numbers on Steam which is great, you can’t begrudge a game that definitely has its fans. It’s just really not for me.
This bus journey offers little thrills and a whole lot of frustration. Much like a normal bus journey then, I suppose.
Snakeybus is available now on Xbox One, PS4 (reviewed on PS4 Pro), Nintendo Switch and PC.
Developer: Stovetop Studios
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we purchased a copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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