The game Snake, itself a remake of the arcade game Blockade, optimized mobile gaming of the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Playing as a snake with simple, four-directional movement, players had to collect as many mice as possible (dots really, but this was the ‘90s) before the snake collapsed in on itself. It was a wonderfully simple game during a time when the mobile phones themselves were equally as straightforward.
Snake vs. Block is an obvious homage to the classic Snake. Players control the familiar snake in the chase for mice dots, except this time around, the reptile moves endlessly up the screen. As it slithers, you have control over two directions it moves in: left or right. A continual flow of dots with numbers in will appear from the top of the screen to the bottom, and you need to collect as many as you can, preferably those with higher numbers. The more numbers you collect, the more dots you grow on your body, which is crucial for the game’s main challenge: giant blocks.
Each block also has a number on it that relates to the amount of times you need to bash into it to destroy it. Say, for example, you have 10 dots on your body and you come across a block with the number 1, bash through it and you’ll be left with 9. However, try and break a box with 20 health and it’s back to the Nokia 8210 that you came from. You get the gist.
The game alone is incredibly addictive. It rewards you for quick timing and reactions, as well as taking a tactical approach. That dot with 10 life points may look appealing, but it could also be a way of luring you behind blocks of 50 or more. When you find yourself in such a situation, do you have the speed of thought and movement to be able to make it out in one piece? Snake vs. Block tests these very skills, and is all the better for it.
When you tire of all that the main game has to offer, there are other features to keep you interested for longer. Challenges give you another gameplay option, whilst unlockable characters and designs keep you going. Whether it be in pursuit of the cow design, or to beat the final 50th challenge, there are certainly reasons to return to Snake vs. Block time and time again.
It’s a sign of how far mobile gaming – and mobiles in general – have come. Yet it’s also an important step back in time, a nostalgia trip that reminds us just how good these simple games can be. And while Snake vs. Block may not prove to have the lasting legacy that Snake does, it’s still evidence that, sometimes, the simpler things are the best things.
|Addictive. Huge replay value.||Little variation in gameplay.|