Rating: 4 out of 5
Retro Affect’s “Snapshot” merges robots, photos and 2D platforming into a surprisingly delightful package. With an endless supply of less-than-stellar indie platforming games flooding the market, “Snapshot” distinguishes itself with its use of a whole slew of unique gameplay mechanics that all center around the ability to take snapshots of objects in the game.
Players take control of a small robot with a camera that allows them to manipulate the environment in interesting ways. Basic items such as crates work as expected: taking a snapshot of a crate removes it from the world and places it into a stack of photos. These photos can be re-inserted into the environment at will. This allows players to gain access to areas that would otherwise be inaccessible, and to experience puzzles that make perfect use of the mechanic.
Gameplay proceeds at the perfect pace, as players are slowly introduced to new items and environments. The game is segmented into four visually and mechanically distinct chapters that all feature totally different worlds. Players will traverse cities built on movable clouds, and even visit science fiction-themed levels filled with magnetic fields and spheres of electricity.
“Snapshot” has an almost unbelievable variety of gameplay mechanics that are filtered throughout. With elephants that act as moving trampolines, plants that launch players into the sky, animal cannons, and other quirky items, this game is constantly evolving. It is borderline ridiculous just how many puzzles are in the game -- they are rarely repeated across the 40+ levels.
With all of the puzzles in the game, it is not a surprise that some of them are not satisfying. Some of the levels involve sequences that require repetitive actions, which amount to major frustration when a simple mistake leads to death. However, these hiccups do not ruin the overall experience because they occur sparingly.
What really brings the game together is the consistently pleasing art style coupled with a stellar soundtrack. The game looks great, and although it is not as distinct as something like “Braid," it is clean and it gets the job done while still looking fresh and colorful. The user interface is similarly stark, but still beautiful. Little information is presented on the screen during gameplay, despite the plentiful stats which appear on the black screen after completing a level. Retro Affect has combined great art with a soundtrack that mixes trance, ambient and electronic music perfect for the game. Each environment features different sounds and soundtracks which match up well.
“Snapshot” is an indie title that manages to incorporate fun-based mechanics with a huge number of unique puzzles. The game looks, feels, and plays absolutely great, producing a sense of elegance. Although some of the levels feature tedious, uninteresting puzzles, the majority of the game is genuinely enjoyable throughout the five to eight hour playtime.