Platform game from Arm'd 'n' Dangerous. Reviewed by Alasdair Bailey and Tim Fountain.
Super Snail is a new game from Arm'd 'n' Dangerous which is to be published by The 4th Dimension. The game was released shortly after the Acorn Southeast Show on Saturday 27th June, but this review is based upon a pre-release version. As such, we have been a little more lenient than usual in the hope that some of the minor problems with the game will be resolved by the final release version.
|As can be seen from the screenshots, this game is a nifty little platformer which puts you in control of a speedy little snail. This snail is a good deal faster than your average garden variant and has the task of collecting the five blue spheres scattered around the levels in order to proceed on to the next stage. There are also coins to collect as well as power crystals which give score bonuses and can lead to a bonus level if all are collected.|
|The game offers both low and high resolution graphics so will run smoothly even on an ARM2 but will run equally well on a high-spec RiscPC. The graphics are well drawn throughout the game including in the menu sequences and the movement of the snail and the scrolling are also pleasingly smooth at all times. However, there was a major problem with flicker in high resolution modes in the earlier versions of the game but although this has now been almost completely removed, the flicker's still there from time to time and can be quite annoying. I expect this defect will be completely ironed out by the time of the full release version.|
|The music in this game is well written but only of average standard when compared to music in other games such as Exodus and Wizard Apprentice. The sound effects are good and add to the overall 'cutsey' feel of this game but there's nothing special here either. When using the default settings, the sound effects are barely audible above the music but this can easily be fixed and may well be altered prior to the release of the final version.|
|Overall, the gameplay is good and reminded me a lot of Sega's series of Sonic the Hedgehog titles during the early 90s/late 80s. There are a number of switches to be operated in each level to open and close doors, this adds a nice puzzle element to the gameplay something which is somewhat lacking in many other platformers. Many of the levels also feature a large amount of vertical scrolling which also adds to the puzzle-like element of the gameplay. Other in-game elements include lava which will knock a life off your snail upon contact and also force-field thingies which throw your character upwards and are what enable access to the higher areas of the levels.|
|Two player game modes are also available with both head-to-head competitive play and cooperative play possible by use of a split screen system. This adds greatly to the gameplay and the split screen approach is something which doesn't occur much in the Acorn scene. My major gripe with this game has to be its price. When we initially looked at the title we were informed that it would sell for just £9.99. However, we've since learnt that it is being sold for a massive £26. This sort of money can buy a far better title if you look elsewhere so unless you really like the look of the screengrabs, take a barge pole and use it to maintain a good distance between yourself and Super Snail.|
|The first thing that hit me about this game was the smoothness of the display. Your character glides around the screen very easily, and unlike some platform games, is quite easy to control. The game takes place in a 320x480 screen mode, and the graphics seem all fit in well with the style of the game and music.|
There are some nice touches in the game, for example I like the 'rain' like effects which carry you up to the higher areas of the level, and the 'lava' areas which force you to try and stay up in the air. The switches which allow you to pass through some blocks but not others add to the complexity of the levels, as does the large size of the playing area (which reminds me of Oddball).
|The two player mode has been well done, giving you the choice of 'team' mode, or 'head to head'. I especially like the look of the 'head to head' options screen.|
Super Snail is a pretty standard platform game, there's nothing too special in there except for the two player modes which are well implemented and deserve praise. However, at £26 there are considerably better platformers available for less (Abuse, for example, which you can pick up for £20), so unless you've got money to burn I'd try something else.
To sum up
- 2 Player modes
- Puzzle elements
- Average gameplay
- Some early levels too difficult