There was a time when everyone was obsessed with whatever version of Snake they had on their terrible, invariably Nokia mobile. Thankfully, since then nobody has been obsessed with phones or reheated retro games.
Snakelike combines two things I resent to create one I enjoy. Dastardly alchemy. It is a turn based roguelike in which you are a snake, from Snake. It’s clever and cute and I’m upset it isn’t better known.
I feel bad for narrowly booting Snakelike out of Unknown Pleasures last year. It faced stiff competition, but with hindsight I think I’d rather play it some more (having just replayed it a few minutes ago) than some of what defeated it.
You move around dungeons in the classic roguelike way, square by square, trading blows with cute little monsters. There are mystery potions (apples) and treasure chests (“The chest agrees to open!”) and lots of clever ways to use the central idea that when you eat enough healthy apples, you grow another segment. They trail behind you, each with its own health bar, each able to equip spikey bits or armour, or suffer from ailments you bump into. More segments means more potential power, especially as you hit harder when surrounding an enemy. But you can also trap yourself. This isn’t fatal, but sometimes the only way out is to attack your own tail. This is also the best way to deal with a poisoned segment, lest the poison spread and kill you.
When a segment dies, it turns to stone and cuts off anything behind it. You can store apples in a satchel if you have enough segments, and then must curl around to reach back into it to use them. If you ‘sproing a sproingo’ your tail becomes your head, and if you fully surround some enemies they become claustrophobic and spontaneously expire.
It’s a fun idea but the execution is creative and really stands out. There’s a very simple, early version playable in browser on Itch.io, but the full version on Steam Early Access is far better, with better graphics, sound, magic, more of everything, and full tutorials.