Thursday, November 23, 2023

Demo Play Thursday - Snakebird Complete on Switch

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the Nintendo Switch version of Snakebird Complete. This game, from developers Noumenon Games is out from today.

Snakebird Complete is the combination of Snakebird and Snakebird: Primer that has been updated for the Nintendo Switch. i was unfamiliar with them and wanted to try this demo to see how they use the game Snake as a puzzle game.

This demo appears to be the beginning of the main game. we have access to both islands, tho it was never explicitly said to us how to get to the second island. unfortunately, even tho it's the start of the game, the tutorial of this game is minimal at best. the first level does put up a controller to help show what buttons do what, but i was using a pro controller and not a Joy-Con that was on screen. we are taught how to move and control, but surprisingly we're not taught that we can't move back or what the goal of the levels with fruit is. 

I'm familiar with Snake so i knew what to do, but i was surprised that the game never told us what it wanted us to do, what the goal of the game was. Thankfully, the game doesn't penalize mistakes. there are no limits on how many moves you can make either. But again, the game also fails to mention that we should use the pause menu as not only can we add a grid to the screen to help us understand where the birds can go, but there's also a hint system too.

It is possible that the demo is buggy or incomplete. for example, on the first island we were able to play level 49 for some reason. But with the game out now, i don't think so. I also don't know if our progress from the demo is carried over to the final game. 

The demo is effective in that we understand how the mechanics and puzzles work, and that there's no penalty for failing. But after playing it, i'm not that interested in playing a game that tells us so little. when we went to the second island, i had to infer that the spikes were dangerous as the game didn't tell us but it was only through playing that it became clear that it was only falling on them that was the issue. I worry that there'll be other obstacles and mechanics later that be poorly communicated about and be an added frustration to the puzzle itself.