I’ve played a lot of bizarre games in my life, but I’m not sure many of them compare to Snakeybus. A mash up Crazy Taxi and Snake, it’s both very entertaining, yet shallow. There’s not much to keep us coming back to it time after time, but for a quick play of something that’ll have a you smiling – especially in these trying times – Snakeybus will fit the bill.
There’s a definite air of aiming for that quick fun fix here, with the front end simply allowing us to pick our stage, bus and mode before we’re quickly whisked of to start. While there’s no gameplay difference between them, a wide variety of designs for the buses can be unlocked, including my favourite; the neon soaked Party Bus, a dragon and even the truck from Clustertruck. Stages offer a similar breadth, set in a rural town, a dorm room, Paris and some other, more esoterically laid out arenas.
Regardless of our choices, the aim is the same – drive past bus stops hoovering up people (literally, their screams as you suck them into the bus oddly terrifying…) before dropping them off at a predetermined point. After each drop off the point changes, though there is only a handful of ones that get cycled through. Some light feeling handling makes careening around the level fast and fluid, our bus able whip out handbrake turns like an expensive race car. Sounds simple then; but there’s a catch. After each drop off the bus grows new carriages à la the 1997 school yard favourite Snake.
The more passengers dropped off, the longer the bus becomes. I was never very good at the 2D mobile phone version – now it’s in 3D things soon become very hectic. Looping around a stage chasing our tail, watching it grow as we drop off yet more people was oddly satisfying – as was gaining a high vantage point and seeing the bus snake around our route. At least, until we need to cross paths with it again. A jump ability lets us hop over our tail, or create a bridge if we know we’ll be back along the other route shortly and adds an element of strategy. The bus perpetually moves forward – though we can slow or speed up proceedings – so keeping routes clear and using the jump in the right place is key. Coming to a stop ends the session, where we can upload our scores or instantly try again.
The things is, as fun as it is the first few times, the repetition all too quickly sets in. Changing the level up helps, but even then I found myself becoming bored quickly. The terrible soundtrack didn’t help, though it gave me a chance to catch up on some podcasts at least. Some of the more left field stages, such as the one that features narrow spirals suspended in the air, lead to failure far too easily as I fell off, over and over. Some less than precise physics don’t help, our bus colliding with itself leading to unpredictable results – either dead stop, or being sent flying, tying us in knots. There’s a fun base premise here, sure, but literally not much else. Of course, it’s not designed to be a 40 hour epic, but when even 20 minutes is a bit much perhaps a little something extra wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Snakeybus is fun, for sure. Seeing our bus stretching out behind us, ever increasing as we drop passengers off and weaving in and out buildings is oddly satisfying. If only there had been a little something extra to alleviate the fact that it’s hook gets old far too quickly.