This week continues Danopian December, in which I will review only games that were gifted to me by that fowl punster of fowl punsters: Danopian The Manopian.
Next up: Snakebird
Time snaked: 59 Minutes
Sponsored By: Danopian
Garter Finch Review
Never have I spent so much time on YouTube while playing a game.
Boa Cormorant Review
Greg Decker here, but you can call me Steve. Today we’re going to explore the wilderness of Pripyat in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the elusive Columbidae Serpentes, commonly known as the bird snake. Or Snakebird, depending on whether you ask an ornithologist or a herpetologist.
Columbidae Serpentes is a fascinating creature. It lives in the trees around Chernobyl, but it can’t fly and has no wings. Instead it slithers along like a snake. They use their long, feathery bodies to bridge wide gaps in the trees, avoiding the poisonous thorns that grow in this area as they search for fruit to eat.
They have no natural predators, partly because they're the biggest animal living in the region, and partly because they taste terrible. You might be wondering if overpopulation is a problem, but don't you worry. Nature always finds the balance, and the way the Columbidae Serpentes found balance is to be the dumbest, most fragile creature ever to slither along a tree trunk. The most common cause of death is falling out of their own tree, and the second most common is to starve to death after wriggling into a position they can't get out of.
There are some other biological quirks that make the Pripyat Snakebird unique in the animal kingdom. Its stomach can only expand in one direction. That means that, unlike other snakes, when it swallows a meal, it doesn't bulge out like a sock full of croquet balls, but instead stretches out like a sock full of croquet mallets. Every apple, orange or mango that is swallowed is then compressed and extruded through the Snakebird’s digestive tract, resulting in a permanent boost to its length. It's another one of those evolutionary balance things, because it means that by the time it's long enough to reach the really good fruit, it's already full.
We're going to completely ignore the fact that apples, oranges and mangos grow in the same tree in this part of the world, because this part of the world gave us the Snakebird in the first place, and after that oddity, a tree that bears three kinds of common fruit is pretty weak sauce.
The smart ones find a way to stay up high with the newer fruit until they're hungry again, but as I said earlier, there aren't many smart ones. You can always tell when the trees are fruiting in Pripyat, because you'll hear the floppy thunk of feathery tubes falling from a great height.
Crikey! Look at that, would you! There's two of the little fellows now. You see how the blue one is shorter than the green one? That means the green one will probably help the blue one climb up to the next branch for that apple up there. Yes! See how one is standing on the other’s head so it can…
Oh, well. That's nature’s way, that is.
Will I snake on?
I think not, on this one. There's a lot to recommend Snakebird: the visuals, the sound design, etc., but the difficulty curve isn't among them. After the first ten levels, it was YouTube or bust. I don't mind a challenging puzzle, but there’s something about the puzzle design that I just don’t grok. There’s usually only one way to solve a given puzzle without dying or getting stuck, and so I spent a sizeable percentage of my playtime watching other people solve the levels. I’m willing to give myself two or three free peeks at a FAQ for any puzzle game I play, just because it helps me learn what the developers expect from me, but if I hit five, six, or ten levels in a row where the only way out is to consult YouTube, then I start to wonder if I’m the one with the problem here.
Is it the Devil Daggers of mobile puzzle ports?
It's hard, no question. But it's not the kind of hard you want to keep failing at. It's more of the kind of hard that makes you want to go do something else – something less frustrating, like alligator wrestling, or building your own PC from silicon you doped yourself in your mother’s oven.