When I think of rampaging arcade driving games, the first thing that springs to mind is Crazy Taxi. With its fast-paced, adrenaline-boosting action occurring at every turn, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Objective after objective is thrown in your path, and the only aim is to score as many points as possible. When I saw Snakeybus and realised its core concept was similar, I thought this should be fun.
Developed by Stovetop, LLC, and Stage Clear Studios and published by Digerati, Snakeybus is a casual arcade indie game with a twist. Drive around different levels, collect the passengers at the bus stop (naturally, you are a bus, after all), and drop them off. As you run through each drop-off zone, your bus extends in length, and so the madness begins.
Think 1997 and Nokia’s Snake, that’s Snakeybus’s core concept.
If you are old enough, you will remember the glory days of Snake on the Nokia 6110. Moving your pixelated snake around a tiny green screen…. amazing! Snakeybus takes this idea and expands it to create a fuller experience. Unlike the guaranteed death in Snake when you touch your body, in this, colliding with yourself is nothing more than a slight inconvenience.
The main aim is simple, keep on moving! This is it, no bells and whistles, all you must do is drive. But that is easier said than done when your constant twists and turns trap you within your elongated bus body. The serene and slow-paced action soon turns into a nightmare as you lose space, can’t find gaps, and crash at every turn. The moment you can’t move is game over, so you dust yourself off and begin again.
Lots of maps, several game modes, and torturous monotony.
The developers were kind enough to offer four game modes, lots of vehicles, and many maps. The game modes are as follows; Classic, Time Race, Aerial, and Endless. You’d think that with four gameplay options available, there would be minimal repetition….. wrong! Except for Endless, the others follow the same pattern with minor differences in the action. Endless has no goal, and the lack of focus and challenge bored me within five minutes.
The vehicles and maps are unlocked by earning points as you play. It offers little in the way of a challenge as the highest-priced item is 16,000 points. On average, you’ll earn 2,000 points a game, so you’ll have everything unlocked within an hour. The lack of difficulty made it mind-numbingly painful and eliminated any slither of enjoyment.
There was a speck of light at the end of the tunnel, however! The level selection added a much-needed boost to what was otherwise bland and tedious. A variety of locations are at your disposal once you unlock them, that is. Each has unique obstacles and adds an element of interest as you first “explore” them. You’ll drive through; Paris, a dorm, a museum, and more. You must dodge cars, leap jumps, avoid buildings, and so forth. Sadly, you’ll tire of this as well, and only completionists and reviewers will endure it to get the 100% status.
Snakeybus soon becomes a bore.
No matter who you are or what you do, one person in your life bores you to tears. Usually, it’s at work. They enter the break room, and the place empties! Sadly, you are not quick enough, and you are left listening to their tales of buses, trains, and other inane drivel. (Disclaimer; fans of buses and trains replace those words with football, cars, or whatever you find boring).
What I’m trying to say in my last paragraph is that I’d rather spend an afternoon listening to my boring colleague than attempt another hour of Snakeybus! Its gameplay disappointed me and became tiresome quickly. It’s always a shame when a potentially good game misses the mark so badly.
Dated graphics and glitches galore.
Now, I know indie developers don’t have the budget of the bigger studios, and I give leniency towards the smaller guys to balance things up. But even I have a limit on what I accept. Modern games should aspire to perform to a good standard. Disappointingly, this is full of glitches and bugs that ruin the already lacklustre gameplay. The vehicles liveries shimmer and change colour. You fall through the map and collide with invisible entities. Frankly, it’s not good enough. If you combine this with its subpar PS2 graphics, it’s honestly not a modern-era standard. Graphics don’t make a game, but when you have little else going for you, they should be optimised to a higher level.
One redeeming quality from this title was its well-designed audio. With crunching sound effects each time you crashed and collided, and amusing sounds of people cheering as you picked them up, it worked well with the theme. The music choice was strange, however. It has a calm tone and was contradictory to the action. Strangely, it somehow worked and was enjoyable to listen to as the madness ensued.
Serviceable controls and easy achievements.
Another plus point was the ease to pick up the controls. A well explained controller layout describes the button mapping, ensuring no tutorial is necessary. The controls weren’t as responsive as I’d liked, but this led to some amusing scenes as the bus jumped miles in the air or crashed into a ravine. It added a comical element to the gameplay, and though it may frustrate some people, it made me chuckle repeatedly.
Unfortunately, Snakeybus wasn’t for me, and I won’t be returning to play it. It lacks challenge and doesn’t combine the best elements of either Crazy Taxi or Snake. Some parts were fun (for the first hour), but it was lacking finesse and the polish I come to expect from a modern title. The easy achievement list will be completed in under two hours, making it a completionist’s dream. For £10, it doesn’t prove to be value for money, even if you get a couple more hours out of it than I did. If the developers had added multiplayer or additional modes that had a different focus, then maybe it would be worth investing your time into.
Snakeybus wasn’t for me.
I hate being tough on games, as I strongly believe that what doesn’t work for me will work for someone else. I was left bored and disappointed with Snakeybus and wanted it to step up to the next level, but it never did. With all the gameplay revolving around the same mechanics, and little variety offered, it soon became tedious and tiresome. I don’t recommend it, but if you want a copy, click here! It was a nice attempt to blend a retro classic with a modern arcade title, but it sadly missed the mark by a country mile. A few redeeming qualities will interest some gamers, but for me, it’s a title I won’t consider playing again.