Look, I won't mince words. The Switch launch has been kind of rough. Sure, the interface on Nintendo's new console/handheld hybrid is simple and efficient, and Breath of the Wild is a tour de force that shows the device's capabilities and promise. However, the system has turned up a number of hardware bungles, like the left Joy-Con's connectivity problems and reports of the dock scratching some screens. On top of that, games are few and far between. Aside from Zelda, 1-2 Switch, ports of indies and Neo Geo games, there's not a lot of new, exclusive stuff to play--so every game has to be pretty stellar to make up the difference. Fortunately, Snipperclips - Cut it out, together! proves itself as one of the most inventive and engaging puzzle games to come out in years.
The premise in Snipperclips is very simple: you take control of arch-shaped paper scraps and have to cut them into various shapes to solve puzzles. You don't have any precise tools to do the cuts, though. You can only trim other scraps by overlapping them and using the shape of your own body to make the clips. This means that you have to strategize on two levels: first, you have to conceptualize the shapes needed for the solution, then you have to figure out how to create that shape. Some ideas may require more exactitude than you can pull off, but even trying to make a shape and failing can be fun by itself. In an early level, you're tasked with guiding a lightning bug towards a lightbulb. My co-op partner and I had the great idea to cut me into the shape of a flyswatter. Our end result was questionable, but experimenting to get there was a total blast.
The puzzles are pretty straightforward overall. Levels are small two-dimensional boxes. The screens don't scroll, but no space is wasted. Without words, Snipperclips uses environmental clues to hint at its goals and provide all the objects required to reach it. Most of the objectives fall under a handful of categories: cutting your scraps into a shape, cutting a shape out of a background, escorting an item from Point A to Point B, and diverting the flow of liquids. Although that may sound limited, the scenarios are very creative and diverse, so it rarely feels like you're doing the same thing twice. In one level, you're scoring slam dunks in basketball, then in another, you get your scraps to operate a joystick to play a game-within-a-game.
In fact, there's only part of Snipperclips that falls prey to what I call the "Scribblenauts Effect." This is when a game provides the player with expansive user input control, then discourages experimentation by only rewarding the use of a few basic commands, like how the rope in Scribblenauts is absolutely broken. Snipperclips only has shades of this in its first world, when cutting your head into a bowl shape tends to pass muster. Beyond that, it really opens up, and soon enough the levels require more advanced shapes like bolt wrenches and gear cogs. Of course, no puzzle has only one solution. My co-op partner and I spent hours replaying levels in the first world to see who could come up with the fastest or most interesting solution. Needless to say, whether playing alone or with friends, the replay value is impressive.
If the subtitle, "Cut it out, together," didn't give it away, Snipperclips is best played with multiple people. Every level is beatable alone and still plenty of fun, but it really opens up in its co-op and competitive modes. Playing with friends and family improves the flow of the gameplay in a way that helps you get to know the other person better. What solutions do they visualize? What shapes do they want to try? What cuts do they want to attempt in order to make those shapes? This game requires more communication than some of the most tactical shooters out there. In the time that I've had the game, I've played it with two friends as well as my sister who almost never plays games. It doesn't require much hand-eye coordination or timing. Even my sister who kept forgetting which buttons did what got satisfaction just from making cuts. This inevitably led to a number of duels to see who could "kill" the other by cutting all their paper away first, but even that led to us laughing our butts off.
As far as numbers go, there are 45 main levels in the campaign, plus another 20 or so in a secondary level set meant only for 2-4 players. In addition to those, there are also three competitive modes: basketball, hockey, and karate, in case you reach an impasse with your partner in the puzzle levels and need to settle it in Snip Smash. In terms of length, the main campaign took me about four hours, but I spent countless more messing around with my friends and family. The game's music was composed by Calum Bowen, who also did the soundtrack for Lovely Planet, and once again perfectly simulates the sound experience of what living in a toybox must be like.
If you picked up a Switch and found yourself in the same boat as thousands of other consumers with nothing to play, it really should be a no-brainer to pick up Snipperclips. The puzzle design is superbly competent, allowing for experimental approaches and replays. The cooperative experience is second-to-none, fun and engaging for players of all skill levels. The first world doesn't impart quite the same exploratory feeling as the second and third worlds, but no individual levels stand out as being of poor make. Snipperclips is just an outright phenomenal title. Not enough to sell Switches on its own, but certainly something every Switch owner should keep installed.
Snipperclips was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a copy purchased by the reviewer.
Snipperclips provides seemingly endless fun due to its design ingenuity and replayability. It's a cute and charming "fun for the whole family" game that actually is fun for the whole family.
- Mechanics Offer a Great Deal of Freedom
- Inventive Puzzle Scenarios
- Addictive Multiplayer Modes
- First World Not As Good As Last Two