Rare Review: Snake Rattle and Roll

A game about snakes and balls.

If someone showed me Snake Rattle and Roll and told me it was a SNES game, I would believe them. It looks too nice to be a NES game, with great 3D looking graphics in a colorful cartoon style.

In Snake Rattle and Roll, you must get your snake to the end of each platforming stage. However, to unlock the door you must stand on some scales. If you’re not heavy enough, the door won’t open.

As everyone knows, when a snake eats something, it gets longer (this fact was later solidified by Snake on Nokia 3310). In Snake Rattle and Roll, there are three colours of balls you can eat. Yellow is the best, while red/blue depend on the colour of your snake as the matching one is best.

Snake Rattle and Roll flows very nicely, with very smooth controls. This, however, can also be a problem. Lots of stages have no edge, so you’ll find yourself sliding off the edges a lot. The isometric view, while lovely, can also make some jumps difficult, and there are a lot of jumps where you’ll need to jump diagonally (in terms of pushing diagonally on the controller, everything is technically diagonal in terms of visual direction), and some jumps where you need to alter course mid-air.

To start with, these jumps, while difficult, are still an acceptable difficulty. But towards the end, Snake Rattle and Roll really ramps up, with wild jumps you need to make while avoiding obstacles. Then you reach some ice levels, so you’ll be sliding even more, with lots of uphill ice slopes.

The final boss is also ridiculous, and is incredibly difficult even with the rewind feature. It doesn’t look like much, as it’s a small foot that hops around in a preset pattern, but it takes a lot of hits (possibly 50ish), all while meteors fly at you from all directions. To make matters worse, if you miss for more than half a second (while it jumps away, or to not get hit by a meteor), it’s invisible health resets and you effectively have to start from scratch.

With that said, Snake Rattle and Roll still feels like fun, even when you’re constantly failing (final boss excluded). It feels like it was designed with 2 players in mind, competing for points and laughing at each other’s failures, rather than actually completing the game.

The snapshots were pretty enjoyable for this, with a few being about beating levels under certain conditions (like not being able to eat things).

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