Snipperclips Plus

snips

Snipperclips Plus (2017)

When I was out shopping with my girlfriend recently, I thought my life had passed me by – that’s how long she spends in the shops. But as a reward for my nine hours of patience, she decided to treat me to a new Nintendo Switch game – only for her to hold up Snipperclips Plus. I was apoplectic with rage. Are you mad, woman?! Didn’t you see DOOM out there on the shelves? How about Breath of the Wild? I already have the Wii U version of the game, and I did neglect you completely for 150 hours plus to play it, but still. There was even a Pokémon Tekken game back there for heaven’s sake.

Even the cover art of Snipperclips Plus reminded me of the bad old days of arts and crafts in school. Whenever the teacher smiled at us all and it came time to put away the monotonous books, there was usually a jubilant cheer from the class – but an unspoken rumble of fear from me. Every artistic venture I have ever embarked upon has had devastating effects, potentially fatal to those who witness it. I know everyone says “I can’t draw”, but I can’t draw. I can’t draw or craft or make or create or assemble or design.

Being left-handed, I couldn’t use the scissors properly and God help me whenever I had a paintbrush in my hands – I’d sort of awkwardly tickle the canvas and wonder why my desired shades of Sunshine Yellow and Warm Viridian came out a fetching hue of Stale Urine and Coagulated Bile. And because I couldn’t get the colours right, the rest of the piece sort of raced beyond what you might call ‘avant-garde’, even further past ‘modern art’ and finally came to a shuddering halt at ‘clag’.

My end result would go on display for the whole class to see. Inevitably everybody else would have followed the instructions perfectly and gotten a result almost as good as the teacher’s. I’d finish up with an absolute mess and, in the vein of a furious Severus Snape throwing Harry Potter a withering look and giving him yet another verbal lashing, the teacher’s lip would quiver. They’d then come out with some back-handed compliment. Well, you managed to get most of the colours within the lines this time Burkey. You didn’t mix any of the paints into your Capri Sun by mistake. Or, at least you didn’t take anyone’s eye out when you started wielding that scissors, that sort of thing.

I do wish I had that artistic streak. In the twelve hours of college I attended, I’d find myself sat alongside like-minded slackers. As the hippy lecturer droned on and tried to bring dated Powerpoint slides to life, sooner or later we’d just begin doodling in our notepads. But what represented a doodle to them was a majestic, sweeping Chinese dragon or a stunning sunlit valley backdrop.

What represented a doodle to me was a highly crude theatre of war, where hordes of classic stickmen would hurriedly parachute into battle to fight badly-drawn tanks, to the amusement of the M-shaped seagulls and sunglasses-wearing sun in the completely-out-of-perspective sky above. A similar scene was to be found in probably all of my schoolbooks from a very young age. Do you see what I mean? Years of practice and I still couldn’t put together a good drawing, much less the panoramas that my peers were capable of – without even trying. I mean, my girlfriend drew me Randi from Secret of Mana the other day. I couldn’t even draw you a simple Rabite. Mind you, I can’t wait to see how she colours it.

No, it wasn’t for me. Give me the academia and the stats and the boring figures and long-winded paragraphs. When it comes to creativity, if I can’t draw it on the back of a fag packet, then I don’t want to know. Puzzle solving, that’s what I’m all about. Lateral thinking, all that. Well, not quite the cryptic crossword, but I’ll tell you one thing – I’ll never be able to draw a face that doesn’t look like it came out of 1960s Doctor Who.

Which of my fancies was Snipperclips to tickle? The creative artsy side or the objective thinking side? Considering you literally play as stationery, I was pretty fearful to start off with. But I needn’t have worried because Snips is worthy of the moderate amount of hype it received when it came out early in the Switch’s life. Co-op gameplay is at its best when it’s accessible, and that’s where this game excels. Because I am a big boy, and I no longer threaten people’s eyes with scissors and pour PVA glue down my throat, I was allowed to play the expanded Plus version of Snipperclips, with even more content than the original digital edition.

That’s the other great thing about Plus – it’s delightfully physical, although I was half-expecting a load of mocking stickers and papercraft doohickeys to come spilling out of the box when I opened it. A sort of final middle finger from the designers as if to tell me “Lad, we all saw your performances in arts and crafts when you were in school – just say thanks to your girlfriend and hope she kept the receipt because you don’t deserve us”.

Playing Snipperclips alone is probably sanctionable by law, so think of this strictly as a co-op game where you play as two bits of paper that can cut one another into various shapes. You will need to work together to complete all manner of nitwit puzzles, and it’s here where the other side of co-op play rears its ugly head – the arguments.

Your co-op partner for Snips may be your mother, your best pal, or your soul mate, but when they let the drawbridge contraption drop at the wrong time or knock the ball into the wrong hole or even cut you the wrong way, you better believe there’ll be bickering. Great stuff, I say. You can’t really lose either, you can just sit there and have your head melted by the puzzles. There’s no difficulty that isn’t overcome by having half a brain. There’s even a load of clever other modes, basketball and all that, where you can take your frustrations out on your buddy by beating them head-to-head. At just thirty Euro or Dollars or Drachmas or whatever you’re having yourself, it’s packed with a lot of content and there’s no other game out there like it.

Anyone can play, and you don’t even have to adopt the classic Joycon clawhand to maneuver your odd little face-making paper creature through the puzzles, or at least you won’t have to do it often. The Switch seems to be amassing a reputation as a wonderful machine for indie titles, aided by its supreme portability, and Snipperclips is one of the flagship indies here as far as I’m concerned. It may not be a bazillion seller, it may not be graphically cutting edge, and even the sound, the graphics and yes, the design, aren’t top notch. But at a great price, this is a game that’s absolutely perfect for the Switch, and I can give it no higher praise than that.

02 February 2018

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