What happens when a piece of chewing gum, a toenail and 80s-era Game&Watch collides?
Snip & Chu: On the plus side
Snip & Chu is the second game from Clicker, the Australian developers behind the interesting Game Of Watchcraft: Spawn Of Squishy. I’ve interviewed Clicker here.
Whereas Watchcraft took its line from direct parody, Snip & Chu is instead based on a comic strip series that you can also buy (or should be able to — I’m reviewing from early code, though the game should launch this week) from within the game in eBook format if you’re so inclined. That makes a lot more sense when your realise that one half of the Clicker duo is the brains behind Snip & Chu as well.
Snip & Chu tells the tale of two friends; Snip, a piece of toenail, and Chu, a discarded piece of chewing gum. That alone tells you a lot about what the plot — such as it is — is going to be like. I can’t say I was aware of the comic prior to reviewing the game, but it’s safe to put it in the bizarre/wacky field. The trailer tells you more than enough about what you need to know in a narrative sense.
Not that ignorance of the strip is a particular detriment to enjoyment of Snip & Chu.
Where Game Of Watchcraft: Spawn Of Squishy took its cues from WoW and planted them within the limitations of an LCD game, Snip & Chu is far more of a derivative affair based on a couple of truly classic Game & Watch titles. You play as Chu, rescuing Snip by capturing a key three times, running along platforms and jumping across vines and over enemies to get there.
If that sounds a lot like Donkey Kong Jnr (the game & watch version, that is), then award yourself a gold star. There’s also a smattering of Octopus in there as well, because the main enemy on the top screen is the deadly Recykiller, whose vacuum arms threaten to suck Chu up and turn him into a recycled box. This is invariably deadly, and plays exactly like Octopus does.
I have no problem with either of those things, because, as long as you like the repetition and score attack basis of classic Game & Watch titles, they mix together very well in Snip & Chu.
Snip & Chu: On the minus side
There are some tiny problems, although how much of an issue they’ll be in the long term remains to be seen. I’ve been reviewing slightly early release code, and every once in a while the spanner — which is effectively the “key” that you have to use to unlock Snip’s prison — won’t appear until you’ve taken a few steps. It’s meant to randomly appear on the level with each attempt, but sometimes you’ve got to move a bit before it becomes visible. Maybe that’s deliberate.
Snip & Chu is an iPad-only game, like World of Watchcraft: Spawn Of Squishy was before it. That makes some sense within the constraints of screen size and resolution, but at the same time I’m struck by the fact that the reason why Game & Watch games worked so well back in the day was because they were quick pick-up-and-play titles. Snip & Chu is as well, but the larger iPad form factor isn’t always ideal for that.
Snip & Chu: Pricing
Snip & Chu is an iPad-only app that will cost 99c at launch; Clicker tells me that it’ll rise to $2.99 “in a few weeks” in the same way that World Of Watchcraft did.
Snip & Chu: Fat Duck verdict
Minor bugs aside, LCDemakes have done great work with Snip & Chu.
World of Watchcraft: Spawn Of Squishy was a cute joke and only a fair game, but by going back to the source material in an interesting way and matching it up with a slightly bizarre comic concept, they’ve developed a Game & Watch style game (sorry, cough, LCDemake — I don’t want to get sued!) that’s genuinely fun to play beyond its comic appeal.
The price is right, so if you’re an old-school fan of LCD games, or just a score attack player, it’s well worth buying.
Also, it’s about a billion times more playable than bloody Flappy Bird. Yeah, I said it. Because it’s true.