Cut it Out, Together!
Snipperclips puts a smile on my face. Very few games, even triple-A titles, do that as consistently as this co-op puzzler, developed by SFB Games and published by Nintendo. Ingenious puzzle design gives way to creative problem-solving in an original concept unlike anything I have seen before. Every wacky idea that works brings joyful surprise. Its expressive characters and colorful visuals ooze with charm, organically leading to uncontrolled laughter. It’s rare for a game to make me feel so giddy.
As the name Snipperclips suggests, the game revolves around cutting, yet there are no scissors. Instead, you get Snip and Clip, two U-shaped paper-thin creatures with legs who can cut each other by overlapping their bodies. The shape you snip out depends on how much you overlap. You can trim your partner or go all-out and cut him out of existence with a complete overlay. But the more you cut, the less he’ll be able to cut you back with his diminished surface area. Luckily, you can easily reform your original shape if experiencing major cutbacks.
You’ll need to produce effective shapes to solve the game’s single-screen brain-teasers. Beyond cutting, you can run, jump, duck, and even rotate your body. A combination of these actions will help you when you’re tasked to fill in a shape, cut out an image, rotate a lever, or push a button. But when the game asks you to complete oddball tasks, like carrying a long pencil to its sharpener or escorting a hamster ball to the other side, sense goes out the window. You’ll find yourself bouncing a pencil on each other’s heads or creating scoops to trap the hamster ball in. Or was it bouncing the hamster on your head and creating a slit for the pencil? The puzzle design lends itself to innovative solutions as opposed to a single answer. Snipperclips rewards imagination. At worst, you’ll giggle as your characters hilariously fall on their faces. At best, you’ll let out a cheer, having solved the puzzle in your own unique way.
In later levels, not only do the challenges become more creative, but you’ll also have to perform multiple actions in succession. For example, you may need to snip your friend into some tool that can rotate a flower-shaped lever. This lowers a platform underwater, which you must ride to scoop up fish. Your friend then needs to open a cage for you to trap the fish in. Such inventive puzzle design forces you to ponder what shapes would be best to do multiple tasks. Then once you think you’ve got it, you’ll still need to achieve it; this can lead to antics where you or your partner insists on a solution, trying desperately to make it work.
I’ve been mentioning partners because Snipperclips functions best as a two-player game. The game does support one-player, allowing you to switch control between Snip and Clip. Although it captures the essence of creative problem-solving, it becomes tedious to repeatedly switch characters when puzzles were clearly designed for simultaneous co-op play. You’d also miss out on the dialogue, banter, and laughter that playing with a friend can provide.
Besides the main World mode, you can play with up to four players in a Party mode, composed of puzzles designed for four on-screen characters to complete. You can play with a minimum of two people, but both of you will need to switch between characters as in single-player. Party mode provides even more creative puzzles like rotating and dropping puzzle pieces to form a cat and working together to keep a paint blob contained within a rectangle. I have to give credit to SFB games. They could have simply created four-player derivatives of the core game’s puzzles, but they put in the effort to create over a dozen new specialized trials.
The remaining Blitz mode is a less inspired three-game collection of multiplayer games. Hoops and Hockey are simple variations of their respective sports, except with the added hilarity of cutting each other mid-game. Dojo is a simple cathartic experience where you and a friend snip each other to the death. Though these mini-games provide little depth, they’re fun diversions when your mind gets tired of solving tricky puzzles.
Otherwise, the game is pretty short with 45 main levels and about a dozen additional four-player levels. By the end, when the puzzles were most complicated and inventive, I wanted more. It’s difficult to replay the levels if you know the solution, but it’s a great game to show others, especially non-gamers. The game is easy enough to figure out even if the puzzles are not. And it’s hysterical to fail and see your characters look as ridiculous as possible.
If the gameplay somehow doesn’t make you laugh, the slapstick characters will. Snip and Clip are very goofy, expressive creatures. They chuckle when they’re being cut, gaze in shock when they’re sheared too much, stick their tongues out after performing a cut-and-run, and appear disgusted when you screw up a puzzle. Their cartoonish faces deliver the message that Snipperclips is all about enjoying yourself in their wacky world. And what a world it is. The landscapes are inspired by office supplies, graph paper, video games, and scientific tools. There is so much charm to be found in its blob creatures, 8-bit princesses, and bouncing frogs. The catchy soundtrack is filled with synthesized boings and horn sound effects that emphasize its silly nature. The music never got old, even while spending nearly half an hour trying to complete a puzzle.
Snipperclips is an absolute delight that should not go overlooked. This charming title had the ability to pull me away from Breath of the Wild, while still providing truly innovative puzzle design. This game unsurprisingly works better as a multiplayer experience, inviting others to join in with its cartoonish designs and side-splitting gameplay. Snipperclips isn’t a long game, but it’ll still provide hours of head-scratching, gut-busting, body-snipping fun.
Note: A review copy was used for this article. This review was posted on DarkStation.