Flash Friday: Snakes on a Cartesian Plane

Well. This certainly wasn’t a game I ever expected to play. The abstract-sounding title deceived me and made me overthink what this game actually was. The last thing I expected when I loaded up the game was to be presented with a game, so well-known you could probably find it pre-installed on almost any old phone from a decade ago. One of the first, most classic games ever created. Snakes on a Cartesian Plane is basically Snake. Yet it’s also so much more. Snakes on a Cartesian Plane takes an old, tried-and-tested concept and expands upon it to a degree that could frankly be considered overkill. This game is a collection of twenty eight different variations of the classic game Snake. That’s right, some guy looked at Snake and said “You know, I could probably make twenty seven different variations of Snake if I tried”. Let’s take a look at all these different snakes and see whether simplicity really is genius.

At first, you won’t have all the different snakes unlocked. Of course, you’ll start with just the Classic Snake game but it won’t take long before you start unlocking more snakes than you can try out. You can hover over all the different locked snakes to see what you need to do to unlock them almost like achievements. This adds a bit of content and replayability to the game because the game has no real achievements to speak of and I personally like to have a goal to work towards. Each snake minigame has a developer high score as a sort of challenge for you to beat and they’re all fairly challenging to beat in my opinion. I did have a problem with the main menu which was considerably laggy making it a bit of a pain to navigate and there is honestly more than there should be for a minuscule Flash game. Thankfully, the games are nothing like that or it would be incredibly difficult to play and enjoy.

Each snake also has a small description that gives you an idea of what they do which is neat and all, but it can make some snakes confusing to learn at first. For example, the Viper’s description is a reference to something called Derek Zoolander which gives you no idea at all what the snake does unless you get the reference which I didn’t. It took me a while to figure out that they can only go in a loop meaning you can only press the keys in the order: down, left, up and right. Nevertheless, some of the descriptions do give a good idea of what they do and are quite humorous. I completely lost it when I read Trouser Snakes description that said “Trouser Snakes are only interested in being the biggest snakes around”. Overall, the descriptions for the snakes are a mixed bag.

Now, let’s talk about the snakes themselves. Indeed, the description wasn’t kidding when it said there was twenty eight different variations. There are so many that it would take an entire review just to explain them all so I’ll go over some of my favourites. The aforementioned Trouser Snake constantly increases in size meaning it’s a matter of how much you can fill up the screen before your inevitable demise. When playing Boa Constrictor, every five pellets you collect reduces the size of the screen until avoiding your body becomes very hard indeed. Sea Snake tests how well you can manage your time by giving you an oxygen meter that kills you unless you return to the top of the screen/surface of the water for air. Finally, Rattlesnakes are my favourite. Every time you eat a pellet it stays as an enemy that kills you if you touch it. But the new pellet that spawns is the same colour as the ones that have been turned into enemies meaning Snake turns into a test of memory as well as quick-thinking.

Overall, although the music can drag a bit and it’s more a game to kill a few minutes with when you’re bored than a game you’ll play to 100% or complete it’s nevertheless, a fun and creative game. It’s proof that game ideas are nowhere near stagnation and there’s always ways to improve and expand upon games that were released even decades ago. It isn’t a massive time sink or an epic story but at the very least it’s worth a few minutes of your spare time if you’ve got nothing better to do as a hearken back to the older, simpler times of gaming.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Classic gameplay
  • Unique twist on a classic game
  • Humorous descriptions
  • Simplicity
  • Trouser Snake

Cons:

  • Music can get a little grating
  • Laggy menu(though that might just be my browser)
  • Confusing descriptions
  • Not much completionist content

Verdict: 7/10

Play it for free here: http://www.kongregate.com/games/netgrind/snakes-on-a-cartesian-plane

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