This is hard for me to admit, so please be kind – my name is Adam Ryan and I am addicted to nonsensical and pointless video games. Phew, that was liberating to get off of my chest. All right let me elaborate. Instead of playing RPGs with deep and engaging plots, tight responsive gameplay and gorgeous visuals, I’m far more likely to play an AI-filled tournament on Rocket League or throw around my friends in Gang Beasts. The point is, as much as I love engrossing singleplayer games, there is something about smaller, more ridiculous games that hooks me in. So it comes as no surprise at all that when I spotted Snakeybus, a mental hybrid of the classic game Snake and…ahh Bus Simulator I suppose, I knew that I’d be obsessed.
I didn’t get my drivers licence until I was in my early 20s, so I’m pretty well acquainted with catching a bus, a form of public transport that – as those of you who use it will know – is just fun on a bun. Well Stovetop Studios clearly thought that the humble bus needed an overhaul, and they have achieved just that with Snakeybus.
Cutting live to our traffic reporter we have…no idea what’s going on
The premise is as simple as it comes – you’re a bus driver that’s required to pick up patrons from bus stops littered around the place and deposit them at a designated area, so far so standard. Unlike your run-of-the-mill Metro however, this bus gets longer every time you drop off your passengers, making things just a little bit trickier.
This of course is where the Snake portion of the title comes in, as it’s your job to navigate the city streets, performing your bus driver duties while avoiding obstacles, including yourself, lest you come to a stop and explode. Being a bus driver must be stressful enough as is, let alone dealing with this crazy shit.
Don’t worry though, as if your self-extension wasn’t strange enough, your bus comes with the neat ability to launch into the air and boost for a short while, which is quite handy if you are rocketing towards your 63rd carriage with no other option in sight.
Traffic is such a bitch this time of night
As if you were behind the wheel of the bus from Speed, the faithful machine will continue on forward regardless of your input, though you do have the ability to go (much) faster, slow up to make precision turns as well as hold a button to do a sick drift. You’ll need to use all of these functions if you hope to make it past a measly dozen or so carriages which all equate to sweet, sweet points.
There are multiple modes such as classic and time trial, unlockable buses (including a kaleidoscopic party bus and a double-decker to name a few), and various locations from a dorm room (you are miniaturised obviously) to Paris and Seattle. There is an impressive amount of content for a game priced just above AU$10, just don’t expect to get hundreds of hours out of it.
With a low-fi soundtrack accompanying the ridiculousness, Snakeybus is a bizarre combination of stress and relaxation. If you want your adrenaline to start pumping you can jump into a time trial, but if you’re after a peaceful time-waster you can just as easily throw it onto endless mode and drive a mile long bus to your heart’s content.
I think someone may have snuck something into my drink
There are leaderboards for every map (and every mode within that map) that incentivises that ‘just one more try’ sentiment that never stops at just one. I found myself getting frustrated as I knew that I could best the person above me if I nailed my drifting, or if I perfected the jumping, or perhaps if I just got to know the map a little better. The game obviously isn’t a deep experience, but I definitely had a good time and I’m likely to come back to it on the odd occasion.
With all the dumb fun that Snakeybus has to offer, it isn’t without faults. The game has its fair share of janky behaviour. Most is fairly endearing in a Goat Simulator kind of way, but others not so much. I clipped into the environment (and myself) a number of times, often ending my run or shooting me into orbit, sometimes both. Like I said, this can be entertaining to witness but it’s mostly irritating. Speaking of irritation, I would completely ignore the aerial mode that has you to staying airborne the entire time. It disguises annoyance as a challenge and can swiftly find the closest exit.
Paris, know for it’s architecture, art and dragon-shaped buses
You may only play Snakeybus on the odd occasion, but that’s kind of the point. It isn’t designed to be the next big esports title, it’s a game that you can chuck on, have fun with for an afternoon and then go about your day. Sure, it’s rough as shit at points and has some fairly controller-throwing inclusions (seriously aerial mode I will fight you), but Snakeybus is fun as hell in a flash-in-the-pan way, and that shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing at all.
Reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro // Review code supplied by publisher