Making the cut
Developer: SFB Games
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Acquired via: Purchase by Reviewer
While intentionally or not, the early life of the Nintendo Switch has been dictated by the mantra of ‘quality, not quantity’ regarding launch software. Arguably Nintendo’s biggest (and almost certainly its most important) launch game in over 20 years was delayed, delayed again, and then inevitably given a dual release alongside the failed Wii U. Whether The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild goes down as a swan-song or the best launch game since Super Mario 64 remains to be seen. But what it has done is advocate the Switch as a genuine and legitimate platform for playing home console-quality titles on the go. It’s a delicate balance of grandeur and scale, with bite-sized play sessions and a smaller viewing window. The PlayStation Vita tried valiantly with the decent Uncharted: Golden Abyss, but twin-stick shooters such as Killzone weren’t practical enough to convince the crowds when compared to its bigger brothers.
One game does not a new system sell, however, so as cynical as it sounds, the library of games in support of Zelda had a significant role to play: not just to provide variety to its catalogue, but to show off the systems assets and justify its (slightly contentious) price point. Early adopters have to be patient – by the end of the year, the Nintendo Switch will have at least 3 of Nintendo’s big hitters, along with their golden new franchise, Splatoon.
1-2 Switch is the launch game making all the headlines. With all the air guitar and cow milking, it is doing a great job of both the easily accessible and gloriously bizarre party style games that made the Wii so popular. It’s also showcasing the variety of new tech and control schemes Nintendo are using for the new console, not to mention its portability. Although it might have not been grabbing the attention of the mainstream media the way that Zelda and 1-2 Switch have, Nintendo’s new console has an ace up its sleeve and a jewel in its crown: Snipperclips.
Snipperclips started life as Friend Shapes, designed by brothers Adam and Tom Vian, and developed by British independent developer SFB games. First shown at EGX 2015, it’s one of many recent examples of Nintendo fully embracing and supporting independent game developers on a new Nintendo platform, along with the ‘Nindie showcase’ and a comparatively low cost for a Switch development kit. All this is encouraging news for the future, but Snipperclips had the added pressure of being one of a handful of launch titles. It turns out that Snipperclips is just as charming, unique, fun and accessible as any Nintendo first-party title its stable has put out in recent memory.
A 2D cooperative puzzle game at its core, Snipperclips gets 1-4 players to perform various tasks with shapes of paper. Whether it be interchanging and cutting each other to make a bigger template, carry a basketball to a hoop or create a pin to pop balloons, each of the 60+ puzzles requires teamwork, coordination, timing and sometimes patience. A perfectly serviceable, if slightly subdued single player game, Snipperclips really comes into its own in multiplayer, and shows off why the Nintendo Switch has two controllers out of the box as well as 1-2 Switch does – maybe even better. It becomes a hilarious test of patience and management, manipulating the shapes in time, space or synchronisation. The characters themselves are expressive and cute, as you would expect, and the scenarios themselves can rely on lateral thinking and reaction speed in equal measure. Although Snipperclips supports up to four players simultaneously, two could be seen as the sweet spot. Delving deeper into the themed worlds exposes similar situations with a new aesthetic, but with two people, it never fails to be fun. There are also party and blitz modes for competitive play, including basketball and hockey, or a straight up ‘snipping’ deathmatch.
Despite being a bit of a low-key experience in single player, Snipperclips as a cooperative or competitive local multiplayer really shines and is perfect for the universal appeal Nintendo has been so good at attracting over the years. Players of all ages and skills will have a blast coordinating teams or having a frantic fight to shreds. Like the console itself, there’s is huge potential for this new IP to have DLC, sequels, or even themed packs of some of Nintendo’s more seasoned characters. It’s a perfect side dish to the meaty and satisfying Breath of the Wild but also stands up on its own as one of the Switch’s best launch games.