Developer: Magic Cube
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
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Originally released in the late 1970s for arcades, Snake is about as classic as classic can get. However, Call of Snakes proves that a great, new game can emerge by simply adding a single feature to a classic. It turns out that all this game needed was some extra firepower.
The standard Snake rules still apply. Players move across a grid, avoiding obstacles while trying to make their line as long as possible. Touch an obstacle or part of one’s own line and game over. It’s a solid, enduring foundation and its uncomplicated input requirements make it ideal for touch controls. However, Call of Snakes puts a novel twist on this formula. Instead of controlling an actual snake, players control a line of soldiers shooting at obstacles that shoot back. Now, players must not only avoid enemies but also find ways to take them out. Growing one’s line becomes even more important as it increases health and attack power. This addition not only makes the gameplay more strategic but more action-packed as well, an impressive feat.
Players have access to different commanders each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some are suited for long-range sniping while others can zip around the battlefield faster than anyone else. When a commander dies though, players must either pick a new one or wait a few minutes for the commander to respawn. While it’s nice that this forces players to experiment with different play styles, if all the commanders die before one respawns, the player must wait before they can even play the game at all. Still, money earned from successful battles and combo chains can keep commanders healthy so players never have to reach that frustrating point.
Besides, the game has an aggressive, infectious energy that makes it pretty hard for anyone to stay mad at it for too long. The cheesy rock music and lovingly rendered pixel art give off a punk, retro-gaming vibe like something out of Scott Pilgrim. The fifty missions that make up the campaign take place across parks, beaches, forests, snowy plains, and cities and they are all a joy to experience alone or during a multiplayer match.
Call of Snakes works so well because it improves upon something old and proven while maintaining and even amplifying what made the original so beloved in the first place. It’s the best kind of remix.