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My brother is a gaming dinosaur. Think Barney hugging a Nintendo Entertainment System.
After growing up as an avid gamer and my video-game partner in crime, time pretty much stopped moving for the guy after the PlayStation and Saturn days. He would still play classics like 1942, Contra III: The Alien Wars or NFL Blitz. Place a game from the last two generations in front of him, however, and he almost always declines.
While playing “Snipperclips” on the Nintendo Switch with my niece over the weekend, however, I convinced my brother to join in for a three-player session. After much hemming and hawing, he gave the game a try. Talk about a belated Christmas miracle. Just a few minutes later, he was barking orders at me and my niece like some backseat driver in a three-seat tandem bike.
You can say that it was the day that he got his gaming groove back.
In fact, as I played the game in two-player mode with my niece the next morning because my brother said he wasn’t in the mood to play, I purposefully ignored his suggestions and pretended to play terribly. Just as I predicted, he soon decided to take matters into his own hands.
“Move over!” he said with a mix of frustration and confidence as I relinquished my Joy-Con. “I can’t stand watching anymore.”
Game changer: Nintendo Switch review | Technobubble
To quote the mighty Geese Howard, “Predictabo!”
My devious plans to make my brother nearly finish one entire Snipperclips world for me while I comfortably ate an assortment of pastries aside, this incident shows the addictive appeal of Nintendo’s new puzzle game. It doesn’t just work on semi-retired or casual gamers either. I have friends I would consider to be hardcore folks who also play on PC rave about this game to me. It’s arguably the best launch game for the Switch after “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”
Part of it is due to its solid selection of puzzles. The game revolves around using paper pals Snip and Clip to solve various problems by using their bodies. I know that doesn’t sound quite right but just bear with me here. See, by aligning Snip and Clip and hitting the “cut” button, you can transform them into a variety of shapes. In some puzzles, you just need them to form a certain shape in order to progress. In other puzzles, their shape-shifting powers can be used to carry items or hit switches. You can also hold the left middle button to completely reform your character or tap it for a quick “undo” function, which helps a lot during unintended snipping.
Unlike some puzzle games, Snipperclips’ stages does not clearly spell out your goal either. You have to figure it out, which adds to the challenge, as well as the sense of satisfaction you feel when you solve a problem. One moment, you need to deliver breakable eggs to a specific nest. Another moment, you’re creating a path for a tiny figure to nab several diamonds.
Puzzles range from those requiring two characters all the way up to four. Two-character puzzles can actually be played in one-player mode, which allows you to switch characters on the fly. Four-character puzzles, meanwhile, can be played by just three players as well, with one player taking double duty.
Although parts of the game can be played solo, however, it’s when you get a second player or more that the game truly shines. Whether it be the unexpectedly funny cutting mishaps or the friendly ribbing that often comes with co-op games, playing with others boost the fun factor a lot. There are even versus modes where you can, say, shoot basketballs while also retaining the ability to cut your foe to pieces. This led to several funny moments, like one time when my niece’s character proved too short to shoot a basketball or one moment where I was desperately trying to block a shot after being reduced to a pair of eyes and just a few slivers of paper. It’s fun for spectators, too, which I consider to be one of the hallmarks of a good party game.
Although the puzzles are certainly fun, however, what takes Snipperclips to the next level as a puzzler are the charming and funny expressions of the paper characters. There were times when my partners would get so enthralled with the characters’ cute hijinks that they wouldn’t even solve puzzles. Instead, they would just sneak around while crouching or bob up and down to see what faces the characters would make. Snip and Clip just look adorable, which seems like a minor detail but adds immensely to the enjoyment of the game.
All that being said, Snipperclips also suffers from a few issues. One is its lack of a motivating factor for replaying finished stages. It would be nice if it added collectibles or currency for you to collect for unlocking cosmetic items or other doodads. Playing the game solo is also a more underwhelming and repetitive experience that takes out a lot of the fun that you get from a group session. In that sense, it would have been great if it had a fully realized online mode for times when you can’t round up an extra player or two. I wish Nintendo made this a pack-in game for the Switch, too, as it would have been the perfect game for that. On the plus side, it’s pretty cheap at just $20.
Snipperclips is arguably the best surprise of the Nintendo Switch launch, providing a fun and charming puzzle experience while also bringing back the joys of couch co-op and competition. It’s not as fun when played solo and doesn’t give you much reason to replay finished stages. Get two to four players in the same room, however, and get ready to make some noise and imbibe in hilarious hijinks.
Rating: 8 out of 10Cost: $19.99, Switchwww.nintendo.com/games/detail/snipperclips-switch
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