Contrary to popular belief, the ever popular mobile game Snake wasn't one of Nokia's many inventions of the last 90s and early 2000s like the Ovi Store and feature phones that can do more than most modern day smartphones. Rather it started its life on home computers since the late 70s. But Nokia's version of Snake, created by Taneli Armanto, a design engineer, is the most popular version of the bunch. It first showed up in 1997 on the Nokia 6110.
Fast forward to 2015 and Nokia is all but a ghost of its former self. Angry Birds and Clash of Clans have replaced Snake as time wasters and as for Armanto? He's now back with his latest take on Snake called Snake Rewind in collaboration with Finnish indie studio Rumilus. It hits Android, iOS and Windows Phone on Wednesday. We took it for a quick spin and found it all too familiar.
The core gameplay is unchanged,you'll find yourself controlling a line on the screen that passes off for a snake, collecting fruit along the way and growing in size. Nothing out of the ordinary. Though old timers can't help but feel that the lack of tactile feedback provided by buttons on old monochrome feature phones take away from the experience.
Sure we have cleaner, crisper lines and fruit in Retina resolution nonetheless (a far cry from the 84x48 display on the Nokia 3310) but the lack of physicality in controls emulated or otherwise does take some of the edge off. To compensate we have a snake that's just the right amount of responsive to touchscreen controls and a nifty rewind feature that lets you choose where you want to restart from in the event of a game over screen.
Micro-transactions, while present aren't thrown in your face at every possible opportunity. Rather, this is the first free-to-play mobile game we've played in awhile that doesn't try to hawk you digital wares in the first few minutes of play.
While smartphone gaming natives would bemoan the lack of a tutorial, the game is simple enough as it is. Collect fruit, keep growing, keep moving. Power-ups such as fruit magnets make their presence felt early on and add a sense of depth to the proceedings.
The game has you using the fruit you collect to rewind the game as well as purchase boosters like score multipliers, discounts on rewinds, impact shields and the like and in-app purchases range from Rs. 60 to Rs. 1,850 ensuring there's something for everyone. And if you're the sort who doesn't like spending money (read: most of us) Rumilus and Armanto have graciously allowed you to watch a video ad in exchange for some in-game currency.
Snake Rewind is a cleaner, spruced up take on a game that's been replicated by everyone and their grandmother. It doesn't make it any different, but has just enough to stand out by being fair to users. Something of a rarity in most free-to-play games. Worth a look in, for nostalgia if anything else.