Pocket Snap is a puzzle game that sees the player shooting balls fired from a ping pong dispenser using physics to try and land them in a variety of shaped boxes.
A very simple description for a very simple game, Pocket Snap is all about measuring the distance accurately to be able to hit your target. using one of your three balls, you hold down on the screen to depress your coiled spring, letting go to let fly the tiny ping pong ball towards the different sized boxes.
At first, the goals are simple; relatively wide boxes suspended in the air not too far from the dispenser. Each round comes with a star in the centre of the target that rewards the player with a little flashy, nicely animated dance of the star as it whooshes up to your total, giving you more points.
As you progress further through the game, however, the targets begin to move around and get progressively more difficult to land in. They start varying widely in size and width, moving around a centre point or just floating around irritatingly as if they want to directly oppose you. The movements are tauntingly small each time, but they make for frequent irritations as you struggle in vain to try and land your ping pong ball just in the right spot.
The movements are tauntingly small each time, but they make for frequent irritations as you struggle in vain to try and land your ping pong ball just in the right spot.
However, the true difficulty lies not just in the gradually more difficult levels, but in the fact that you only have three balls for the entire game; any balls you miss with are lost forever, though your ball is replaced when and if you manage to hit your target. This means the game is one of repeating the same early levels and again and again, desperately trying to claw your score higher.
What Pocket Snap has done extremely well with this is the fact that each level is randomized around a difficulty level – this means that the first few levels will always be simple and stationary, whereas certain later levels will be focused on moving targets, but the actual locations of these targets and how they move around is entirely randomized. Because of this, the difficulty of each level feels steady, yet there is never a point where you find yourself bored repeating the same levels again and again.
The greatest strength of Pocket Snap, other than its simple and elegant gameplay, is its invigorating, clear and resonant music that draws you in straight from launching the game. Mobile games are often played with the sound off by necessity – you don’t always have headphone, and you don’t want to annoy everyone on the bus – but in Pocket Snap, to not listen to the gently swaying, relaxing music would be to rob yourself of the full experience. Few games understand the importance of getting the music and animations right, but in this, Pocket Snap manages to excel.
Few games understand the importance of getting the music and animations right, but in this, Pocket Snap manages to excel.
The only real thing that Pocket Snap lacks is a reset button; any puzzle gamer knows that, when presented with a limited number of moves or abilities, when you waste one because of a stupid mistake, you just want to reset the game and start over again. In Pocket Snap however, you just have to wait until you’ve spent all three of your balls.
Pocket Snap is absolutely simplistic, but it manages to take that excellent step from simplicity to elegant and intentioned minimalism. There doesn’t need to be any fancy graphics or flashy, garish effects. The clever, small and simple animations and fantastic music are all that’s needed to prop up the excellent gameplay and create a full puzzle experience.
Pocket Snap excels at what it does, without trying to be anything more; great music, enjoyable gameplay and a complete puzzle experience.