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Project SNAQE Review

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Who could have guessed that a concept involving a line, often considered a snake, which grows in size and must avoid obstacles to survive, would still be relevant decades after its first inception. Obviously the Snake phenomenon on the old Nokia phones is the most successful version to date, but developers Teggno Interactive hope to find their own success in their title inspired by the aforementioned game. Let’s dig in and see if Project SNAQE is going to be your latest addiction, or just another mediocre imitation.

Project SNAQE, or Project Subterraneous Navigation Articulated Quarrying Excavator to be exact, is for all intents and purposes a Snake game. Instead of an actual snake however, the focal point is an underground excavator known as a SNAQE. The goal is to collect as many minerals as possible by drilling rocks in order to increase the amount of cargo following behind it – it’s really that straightforward. It’s game over if you hit a wall or another hazard though.

So far, you’re thinking it’s just a reskinned imitation of Snake, right? Well, that’s because I haven’t brought up the unique feature setting it apart from the standard offering. 

See, in Project SNAQE you’ll have the opportunity to switch from drill mode into a gunner capable of firing shots. At various times on the earthy map, explosives and explosive-laden rocks may appear, which must be shot at. In addition, worms that wouldn’t look out of place in Tremors pop up along with some rather large moles. Avoiding or taking down these hazards, while trying to extend the number of cars in tow, is a real test of the old reflexes and it’s a little bit addictive.

In an attempt to keep you hooked, there are four different game modes: Classic, Beginner, Expert and Master. Classic is a no frills type of experience for the purists who want to merely drill rocks and do away with the gunning. Beginner possesses everything mentioned above, and is a less stressful introduction to the new fangled ideas. I say less stressful due to how the Expert and Master modes crank up the difficulty by zooming in the camera so you’re unaware of the bigger picture of what’s lurking around. The map layout is bigger and there are many more hazards too, ensuring each run is exciting.

The excitement won’t last long however, with almost no point in playing once the Master mode is unlocked. The sheer lack of a proper local or online leaderboard for attempts to be logged makes everything beyond this point an absolute waste of time. Okay, it does track a single high score you can see after your run is over, but I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to set scores for the rest of the world to admire and chase. That’s where the longevity is in these kinds of games.

And if you don’t get bored of competing against yourself, which you will, the bland environment and assets will be a turn off soon enough. I get it, the SNAQE is digging underground, but the earthy brown map design does no favours to anyone. Throw in the most underwhelming creatures, in terms of them adorning similarly dull colours, and this definitely is not a treat on the eyes. It wouldn’t hurt to have changeable backgrounds or something to add freshness.

As Project SNAQE relies on precision and fast reactions, it’s disappointing how slow certain actions are. Transitioning between drill and gun is fairly swift, but trying to fire a projectile straight afterwards takes a little too long for my liking. On many, many occasions I’ve met an early end through crashing into an explosive or creature when the gun didn’t shoot in time. Directional inputs are on-point at least, allowing the excavator to turn without much delay and help you escape tricky situations.

All in all though, Project SNAQE is a slightly addictive and creative take on a classic concept that manages to retain some of the charm of Snake. While it’s not quite as innovative as something like Snakeybus, adding gunplay and hazards to the mix for an experience that’s a little different. The game modes are decent, however you will tire of them with a single environment and bland assets used throughout. It’s crying out for online leaderboards as well, which would help establish a competitive element and provide much needed longevity. 

Project SNAQE might be priced low enough to allow you to overlook the drawbacks, but those wishing to rekindle the old Snake flame should be aware that things soon begin to burn out.

Project SNAQE is out now on the Xbox Store

James Birks
James Birks
Been gaming casually since the SNES as a youngster but found my true passion for games on the Playstation 1 (the forbidden word ooo). My addiction grew to its pinnacle with the purchase of an Xbox 360 & Xbox Live Service. A recovering GS hunter that will still play literally any game.
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