Snakeybus is a terrible form of public transport. It is a lot of fun though.
There’s a question that we all ask at some point in our lives, and that is what a cross between classic game Snake and 1994 Keanu Reeves movie Speed would be like. Well, now we need to wonder no more, as Stovetop’s Snakeybus has arrived on console! Consume commuters and deliver them to their destination, but don’t you dare stop moving or BOOM!
Starting as a simple articulated bus, you’ll drive around a map of your choice, picking up people from the bus-stops dotted around, before dropping them off at a given destination. Simple enough, but once you’ve reached that destination, your bus will increase in length based on how many people you brought with you. Before long, you’ll have a city spanning bus capable of collecting countless customers!
Everything is very simple. Moving forward is automatic, picking up commuters is automatic, as is dropping them off. The only thing you really have to focus on is making sure you don’t stop, as staying still for more than a couple of seconds results in your bus exploding and your game ending. This should be simple, and it is at first, but once your bus starts to get longer and longer you’ll start to run into your tail. You really need to plan for this happening by taking long routes around the map, although you do have a jump that recharges over time to get you out of trouble in a pinch.
And that’s Snakeybus in a nutshell. It’s not complicated, but it is a very enjoyable score-chasing game. You’ll often feel that if you’d taken a different turning you’d have been able to drop off another load of travellers and ended the game with a slightly longer bus – the main way to judge your performance. It won’t take long for that one-more-game feeling to kick in seeing as each attempt only lasts around five minutes.
Something that helps with this is the fact there are plenty of different maps to play, with each being quite distinct. From simply laid out cities like Seattle and Paris, to cylindrical space stations and oversized dorm rooms, there’s a lot of variety here. Clearly the developers weren’t satisfied with just driving around streets and wanted to create some more abstract environments. The only thing I’d have wanted here is for the maps to be a bit bigger and have a greater variety of drop-off locations. That’s a minor gripe at most though.
There are a few different game modes to play with too. Classic mode is how I’ve described it above, whilst Timed mode plays a bit like Crazy Taxi with you getting more time based on the number of passengers you drop off. There’s Aerial mode in which you need have to avoid ending up in the water whilst still picking up and dropping off passengers by making careful use of your jump and hover skills. It feels like a nightmare version of Rocket League and really should only be considered if you need a real challenge. There’s also an endless mode that has its own map that simply goes on forever with no passengers and no fail state. Just drive and chill out.
The maps, modes, and bus skins unlock quite quickly, but I often found myself playing Classic mode on the first few maps as that is where I felt Snakeybus was at its best. That’s not to say the rest of the content is bad! The whole package is a lot of fun and great for a quick blast of fun when you feel like it.
In terms of presentation, the visuals are simplistic but well used. Nothing looks particularly spectacular, but the developers just built whatever they felt like. The maps and buses don’t have a consistent art style, but that’s fine as they aren’t directly linked. Going from an ordinary city, through an almost cel-shaded suburb, to rings surrounding a tiny planet shows the level of graphical diversity.
The sound is a lot weaker. There’s a good, chilled out soundtrack that I really enjoy, although the bass on it doesn’t seem to work too well with my regular TV speakers. Beyond that though, there’s very little sound to comment on. The buses and passengers are near-silent for some reason. It feels quite odd to play with no environmental sound, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why that would be happening.
Still, for what is a very simple game at its heart, Snakeybus is a lot of fun. It’s a silly, physics-based score attack game that you can play for a quick blast before succumbing to the dreaded ‘one-more-go’ sets in. If nothing else, it’ll certainly be the best snake-themed public transport simulator you play this year.