New system launches are always interesting experiences. People are looking for anything and everything to play on them. Sometimes games are great (like is the case with The Legend of Zelda), sometimes they’re not so good. Sometimes you write off a game thinking it to be nothing more than a cash in at the system’s launch and you’re surprised when it turns out they’re actually really good. The Switch is no exception and I think Snipperclips is one of those games that shouldn’t be overlooked. It came out of nowhere during Nintendo’s full Switch reveal and I think some people might have thought it was just another game being released to bad out the system’s, at the time, small launch lineup. However, the game is actually very good, especially if you have people to play it with.
Snipperclips: Cut It Out Together! is a puzzle game where you, and a group of friends play as characters called Snip and Clip. The primary mode of the game is designed for two people, but it can be played in single player with one person hitting a button on the controller to switch back and forth between the two characters. You’re tasked with solving a series of single screen puzzles by cutting pieces of the characters out to help figure out the solution to those puzzles. They can be as ‘simple’ as making your characters fit into a dotted outline by snipping and clipping parts of the characters, dropping a pencil into the world and guiding it into a pencil sharpener, or moving very fragile eggs from one part of the screen to another so that baby birds can hatch from them.
The controls for the game are very simple to figure out. Each player uses one of the Joy-Con controllers. You can move the characters around, press a button while the characters overlap each other to snip those parts of the character off, jump and rotate the characters around. That’s it. However, these limited sets of abilities allow the level designers to create a large number of puzzles around those core mechanics. While I was afraid, like in many puzzle games in the past, the solutions would boil down to a small handful of solutions I’ve found that each level is very different from the ones that come before it. While there are some levels that focus on variations of one solution they’re never solvable by simply doing the exact same thing you’d done in a level before that.
There are no instructions in the puzzles given. You’re simply dropped into each level where you have to look at the objects on the screen and figure it out. They’re all incredibly intuitive and you grasp the solution of the puzzle within just a few seconds. The challenge comes in working out just how to solve that puzzle. Perhaps there is a firefly on the screen and a light bulb dangling from the roof. You know you need to get the fire fly in the bulb, but he’s constantly moving. What do you do? Do you create a little “trap” for him by clipping one player in a way that forms a makeshift trap? Do you simply have one player focus on swinging the light back and forth while the other player ‘brute forces’ the fire fly into the bulb? Every puzzle will have multiple solutions.
The game was designed with co-operation in mind, but the developers had the foresight to realize that many players were simply going to use the game as a reason to troll their friends. There are a set of modes designed just for this purpose. Some of the are better than others, but they all allow you to get those destruction, friendship crushing moments out so you can focus on working together to solve the puzzles. There are three different mini-games in this game where between two and four players compete against each other. One of them, a basketball game sees you trying to score goals against the other team. The first team to three goals wins. An air hockey mini-game plays just like any other air hockey game, but because you have the ability to snip the opponents paddle you have some strategy at hand. The first team to three goals wins. The last mode is basically a very light version of Super Smash Bros. Up to four people compete against each other to simply destroy the other players. Snip and clip your opponents completely three times and you win. It’s a great way to let smaller players who might not be able to grasp the puzzle mechanics to just have fun clipping away at people.
Visually the game is a treat. The simple design hides a ton of charm. Each of the characters has a series of facial animations that range from complete shock when they get snipped to almost devious, devilish grins as they crouch down. You’ll find yourself laughing multiple times at the things these character, who don’t speak, do. Even the backgrounds are simple, clean and easy to figure out which elements are part of the puzzles and which are simply background decoration.
Snipperclips is a treat from beginning to end. If you have the right people to play with you’ll find yourself coming back to the game again and again. Even the definition of ‘the right people to play with’ is completely up to interpretation. Maybe you want to spend an hour being mean to the people around you. If that’s the case this game gives you that. If you want to work together to solve puzzles and the people playing are on the same page it’s incredibly satisfying when that Good Job screen pops up telling you that you’ve completed the puzzle. This is easily one of those hidden gems that you could miss if you judge it by the art style alone, but Snipperclips is one of those launch titles that people will be using to showcase the system to their friends, and I think people will be talking about the game for a long time in relation to the system it’s on.
Review copy of the game purchased from the eShop
Played through numerous puzzles, did not complete all of them
Total Play Time: 7 hours