Taking pictures never seemed charming to me, or even bearable. A general rule of thumb for me is to always exit quickly whenever there is a group picture or a close-up shot. Retro Affect may have finally found a way to make me smile around a photo opportunity with their latest puzzle platformer, Snapshot. Although puzzle aspects can be troubling at times, the overall experience proves to be very worthwhile and enjoyable throughout.
Snapshot has been long in development, a title that we were first introduced to at PAX East 2011 in Boston as a part of the Indie Showcase. After experiencing the game's rough build, our current staff agreed that this particular title was worth watching. Our predictions were proven correct after having the opportunity to sit down and enjoy the adventures of the shutterbug robot in all of its glory. The story is not necessarily told directly or even narrated, but told through pictures, which seems fitting. The game is very similar to several indie platforms that have been released in the past but without the indie cred, like Braid but without the pretentiousness. As the robot PIC navigates through several worlds capturing objects and hidden items with his (I assume it is a he) camera, he will accomplish great feats in order to complete his quest.
The controls work well with a keyboard and mouse. Navigation is regulated to the keys, and camera control is done entirely with the mouse. Switching through photographs is also done easily with the corresponding keys, and the left and right click on the mouse will take photos as well as dropping photographs into the world. Especially in moments where a split second will make all the difference between solving a tricky puzzle and restarting the level, tight and responsive controls are absolutely necessary. I personally would like to see a console version at some point for this title; it feels like twitch controls would be better suited for a controller. This is just a personal opinion, but I’m sure many other gamers would slap me for even suggesting that a controller is more responsive than keyboard and mouse.
When I say that you will restart the level, I am not making a general assumption; you will have to restart at some point. At times, puzzles will flow and solutions will come quickly. However, the majority of the time it will be trial and error until the solution slaps you right across the face. Thankfully, the option to restart and exit to the lobby is very easy and is a welcome addition, especially if you are moments away from becoming angry and upset with the sometimes difficult puzzles. How could anybody get upset with such a cute robot? He just wants to take your picture, you heartless bastard -- leave him alone!
Okay I’ve calmed down. Sorry for becoming upset. I just can’t help myself when it comes to the overall charm and feel good nature of Snapshot.
The music is somewhat forgettable, but I would still say it complements the game, and works very well with the setting. Even the random items that you will capture and use in the game are cute, like bouncy elephants and happy Venus flytraps that double as platforms. After the last photo is captured and the robot reaches his final destination, Snapshot still entertains and will give the player many reasons to play through again to achieve a fast time or to find all the hidden objects.
Although this particular picture took some time to develop, it truly is a great piece of work. Snapshot takes the proven puzzle platformer formula and is still able to make a fresh and worthwhile experience. Even though the puzzles become frustrating at times, they're never unfair or unbalanced. Snapshot is a great game with plenty of charm and whimsy for all that decide to take part in this photo opportunity.
Four out of Five Hadokens