Published on December 16th, 2017 | by Craig Forshey0
Jewel Snake Review
The original collect-a-thon returns with 3D platformer inspired mechanics in this masterful modern reimagining.
The Snake genre is almost as old as gaming itself, as such there have been countless variations of the timeless classic on every platform in existence leaving little room left for improvement over the years. Google Play alone boasts almost 100 different versions available but indie developer Tankbuster Games has done the seemingly impossible and released what I can say without hyperbole is the absolute best Snake game on Android. Simply titled Jewel Snake, this excellent 3D take on the formula meshes Snake’s core premise with the tschockie hunting mechanics found in collect-a-thon platformers such as Super Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie to great success.
Like in any Snake game the objective in Jewel Snake is to gobble up as many gems as possible without running into one’s own tail or colliding with an obstacle but in this case that is only the start of things as rather than slither around a static 2D surface ad-infinitum here players must explore Zelda-esque dungeons brimming with tricky platforms, deadly traps, and reptile hunting enemies in their search for sustenance. Each level is filled with puzzles to solve and keys to hunt down as players attempt to unlock the path to the exit without succumbing to hazards like lava, spikes, or their own ineptitude in the process. While munching down on gems to add to their score and making it through the exit door are sufficient to clear a stage the real objective players are after are a series of gold colored diamonds scattered in hard to reach places around the map that are akin to stars in Super Mario 64 or moons in Mario Odyssey. Collecting all the diamonds in each section of the game will unlock extra special bonus stages designed to test their mettle.
As they direct their cold blooded friend around using either a virtual analog stick, gamepad, or direct touch input players must carefully take environmental physics into account as there are multiple stories to each level and more than a few ways to lose their footing or lack thereof. Reaching higher plateaus is sometimes as simple as climbing a flight of stairs but oftentimes players will have to deal with trickier means of egress such as giant wind turbines that send them flying into the air or slender columns they’ll need to curl around in a somewhat similar fashion to the console game Snake Pass. These elevating elements are where Jewel Snake really starts to come into its own as each level turns into its own puzzle of sorts where players must deduce what path will take them to that next diamond, switch, or exit door.
It won’t just be the level geometry that players have to deal with either as a menagerie of gem eating ghosts and evil snakes try to prevent their temples from being plundered at all costs. If a ghost catches sight of players it will make a beeline straight for them whereas enemy snakes take a more tactful approach and attempt to box players in to block their escape. Fortunately the same rules that apply to players also apply to enemy snakes which means players can use their tails like a light-cycle trail in Tron to outsmart them and knock them out of commission.
Great cartoon style graphics help bring each labyrinth to life as snake idols adorn the walls and fiery torches mark the path forward. By garnering a high enough score players can unlock multiple skins for their snake ranging from different colors to a cool looking lava snake costume. Flowing waterfalls and boiling pits of magma add personality to the differently themed stages and do more than serve as eye candy with their own unique level mechanics. The 3D graphical style is put to good utilitarian use as well with the camera shifting perspective to show what effect a switch has had or to illuminate parts of the level when a top down view won’t suffice. Rather than simply being used for visual flair Jewel Snake’s 3D graphics play an integral part in its fantastic level design.
Summary: Excellent 3D level design and engaging collect-a-thon mechanics make Jewel Snake the best game of its kind on Android.