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Super Snake Block DX Review

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I’m not sure where you are right now, little grey Nokia 3310 of my youth, but I thought about you before starting Super Snake Block DX. Your numbers were worn out from the double-threat of text messages and playing Snake, the all-time best mobile phone game. As I was preparing to play Super Snake Block DX, I could feel the latent muscles in my thumbs twitching, ready for an all-nighter. 

super snake block dx review 1
Snake, reworked.

Frankly, we got a little ahead of ourselves. Because while there are some parallels to when we played Snake at bus stops circa 2001, Super Snake Block DX is several steps removed. In fact, it’s closer to a different genre of mobile phone games than Snake and Snake.io. Super Snake Block DX is closer to an endless runner, similar to titles like Tall Man Run, Dream Wedding and Doll Designer on iOS where the longer you play, the bigger your character gets. The bigger your character gets, the harder it is to stay alive. 

It’s a deceptively simple idea. You start a run with the tiniest of snakes, rushing towards the back of the screen at a decent speed. Cubes are scattered around you, and they’ve got little ‘+’ signs hovering above them, denoting how much your snake will grow if you collect them. It’s easy to get in a meditative state as you grow and grow your snake until it’s got a python-like girth. But that’s where the Snake comparisons end. 

Because there are obstacles in the environment, and rather than avoid them, you should occasionally aim for them. Little walls with numbers on appear from time to time, and bashing through them costs you cubes. A wall with 6 on it will munch up 6 cubes of your tail, so you better be sure that you have enough length to pass through. Why would you bother? Well, the only way to accumulate a score is to hit these walls. Growing a megalo-snake means nothing unless you’re willing to break through some barriers. 

It’s a neat tug-of-war. You want to be building up a lengthy snake to keep yourself alive (a run ends as soon as you reach zero cubes), but there’s a risk of ending a level with nothing if you don’t start building up a score. So, you’re often grazing on cubes and bashing through some walls that hide even better cubes. And then the speed ticks up. The longer you dilly-dally in the levels, the faster your progress, and you soon reach that panicked Tetris state where you can barely move fast enough to avoid the obstacles. The ‘+’ numbers on the cubes go up, but so do the numbers on the walls.

super snake block dx review 2
Slithering on ice

Spicing all of this up are obstacles that you can’t bash at all. Hit them and your tail dwindles until you sidestep out of the way. It was our most common way to die in Super Snake Block DX, as we found ourselves in a mangrove of trees with no way of getting out of the way – not quickly anyway. And then there are coins which unlock better/different snakes in an end-of-level shop; the magnet power-up which is ridiculously satisfying, as it hoovers up all the coins you pass; and flashing-white blocks that act like a Super Mario star. You’re invincible for a period, which would be amazing if the game was slightly better at telling you when it’s about to elapse. Still, the immunity it gives you is pretty powerful. 

This super-simple template shouldn’t have been enough for Super Snake Block DX to get its fangs into us, but get its fangs into us it did. Runs are fast enough that the ‘one more try’ addiction kicks in. If you’re like us, you’ll understand a little more about how the game works, or begin to value certain power-ups (the magnet, oh boy), which will make your next run that little bit more successful. And there’s just enough to purchase with the coins – from three new levels to slightly faster, slightly more resilient snakes, each offering their own achievement – that sticking around is worthwhile. 

We were a little bit smitten. Super Snake Block DX is no masterpiece, as it’s got too many rough edges and eventually a lack of longevity, both of which we’ll get into. But there’s the simplest of game loops here, and sometimes simplicity and elegance will take you places. We’d go on runs where we had the most improbably large snake, before the gates chewed our tail up and things got dire. But one invincibility block later, we were back to our old selves, just with a higher pulse-rate. 

The flaws of Super Snake Block DX are mostly in the way the game progresses. In that, it doesn’t particularly. You can buy new levels, but they’re nothing more than reskins of the others. You might be leathering through crypts rather than trees, but they all do the same thing. And once you have one of the better snakes, there’s no real reason to buy any of the others. So, Super Snake Block DX gets old reasonably fast. 

super snake block dx review 3
Sliding through a crypt

But lest we forget, Super Snake Block DX is £4.19. You’ll have different measurements here, but I tend to expect a couple of hours of entertainment from a sub-£5 budget game. That’s the equivalent of a movie rental, which feels about right. Against that criteria, Super Snake Block DX delivers. You’ll be reaching the fatigue point after two hours, and you’ll have got the 3000G from it too (yep, Super Snake Block DX is one of those new-fangled games that has had a title update to offer more Gamerscore). That was about right in our books. 

This is not a masterpiece. Nor is it the port of Snake that you might have wanted or expected. But while Super Snake Block DX might not be the most cerebral of entertainment, for a couple of hours it has a grip that is hard to shake. It was enough for us, and at £4.19, it might be enough for you too.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Elegant take on the endless runner
  • Some enjoyable power-ups
  • Has a certain flow to it
Cons:
  • Never finds its way to variety
  • Unlocks are largely meaningless
  • Some usability quirks
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, TXH
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One
  • Release date and price - 22 September 2023 | £4.19
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Elegant take on the endless runner</li> <li>Some enjoyable power-ups</li> <li>Has a certain flow to it</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Never finds its way to variety</li> <li>Unlocks are largely meaningless</li> <li>Some usability quirks</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, TXH</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One <li>Release date and price - 22 September 2023 | £4.19</li> </ul>Super Snake Block DX Review
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