PN Review: Snake Den
Use cunning, quick reflexes, and sheer luck to grow a tail to brag about.
Playing Snake Den evokes some nostalgia – Surround on the 2600, light cycling in Tron, gaming on my first cell phone, etc. Nearly everything about this game reminds me of days long gone. This isn’t necessarily bad mind you, but it does mean that Snake Den really must introduce some fresh elements, which thankfully it does. Is it enough to make this game worth a download though?
Unlike most variants, obstacles don’t lead to defeat in Snake Den. Run into another competitor, a wall, or even yourself, and you’ll just shrink. This gives the game a feel of its own, but it also means that challenge is lacking. While a more relaxed feeling is fine, an optional expert mode or something comparable would improve things immensely! Thankfully a planned update should eventually add difficulty settings.
You can play Snake Den on the GamePad with either traditional or stylus controls. The Pro Controller and Wiimote are also supported. As always I appreciate the choices, but the Wiimote has quirks. Curiously it must be held upright and not NES fashion. Worse, it’s lacking responsiveness compared to the GamePad. Both my wife and I noticed turns especially were more troublesome – perhaps resulting from the smaller d-pad? Nunchuck support would be a good addition. Your snake’s also programmed to turn right when striking objects, but I’d have preferred a choice.
Multiplayer is okay, but nowhere as good as the game – “Compete with Friends and Family” – might have you believe. For one, you don’t actually compete – AI or not, this is a co-op affair. Every player’s stats combine into a single score. While I prefer co-op, the competition claim is both disingenuous, and a missed opportunity. Playing with friends (up to three) will only hold your interest so far in this present state, though it’s still better than playing solo. Displaying a winner at rounds end is another update feature planned.
There’s a decent amount of content here, with 100 levels spread across 5 different backdrops. The attempt for visual variety is welcomed, even if Snake Den’s a plain-looking game. Subpar graphics are one thing, but when coupled with a poor audio package it’s worse. Snake Den has no music currently (though some is planned) just a couple of annoying sound effects.
Stats are recorded for the length your snake grows (“Eat a bell pepper”), the time it takes to exit a level, and the number of mice you’ve eaten. Up to 3 can be found in every level, although just one is needed to advance. Upon completion, trophies will show your closest rival and current level champion. It’s nice enough, but not as good as full-fledged leaderboards.
Snake Den isn’t the Snake I know, but that’s okay – attempting a fresh spin was a necessity. I don’t think this present approach is on target for long-term fun, but you could find worse ways to pass the time. At $3.99 this is priced inexpensively, yet admittedly still high for what is (and isn’t) included. Tightened controls, a soundtrack, difficulty options for needed challenge, etc. – these could turn Snake Den into a good game! As it stands now it’s a bit mundane. Should a sale for $1.99 or less appear I’d still recommend it as a quick diversion, but otherwise you might consider waiting for the update(s) to improve the experience.