Developer: SFB Games, NST
Release Date: March 3, 2017
ESRB: E for Everyone
Snipperclips: Cut it out, together! might go down as the best puzzle game to ever release at a console launch outside of Tetris. And the best part is that it sort of came out of nowhere. Developed by SFB Games in conjunction with Nintendo Software Technology (or NST), Nintendo was so impressed with Snipperclips in its conceptual form that the Japanese video game giant picked it up for publishing and helped craft it into one of Switch's very best games yet.
The game's basic pitch is this: you (and potentially another player) control a pair of cartoony clipart-inspired characters that can "snip" (or "clip") each other into various shapes that can then be used to accomplish certain tasks in a given level. This is accomplished by transposing the character you're controlling over the other, forming a green area that indicates what will be "snipped" away from the other character.
For example, one of the first levels you play tasks you with retrieving a basketball and then taking it over and dumping it in the hoop. You'll first need to clip one character so it's the right size to push a button, then clip the other so it can hold the ball. Finally, the ball holder will need to stand on the other character's head in order to dump the ball into the hoop. This isn't even the tip of the iceberg either; there are multiple themed collections of levels that you'll play through that add a specific element to the gameplay. A retro games-inspired world will have you simulating the movement of a smaller virtual character by using your characters to snip and clip into shapes that will allow them to move a joystick or controller as well as move gears and more.
Another level has you using one character to turn a gear as the other lowers (and raises) on a platform to catch fish so that they can then return and put certain kinds in a separate contained area. Not every single level is memorable, but most of the different scenarios you'll come across are pretty creative and entertaining. And while they're rarely super challenging, the level of difficulty leaves you feeling satisfied in the end instead of frustrated. It's the perfect amount of complexity where it's not too hard but not too easy for you and a friend to tackle.
This is also one of the very first Switch games that uses each Joy-Con as a complete controller on its own, so it may take a few minutes to get used to that. If you have big hands, they'll likely feel a bit crowded at first (especially since the analog stick is so close to the buttons) but I actually found myself forgetting about that and getting used to it the more I played. The only thing that's a slight pain is that you have to return to the Switch's menu and readjust the controller alignment to normal mode when you're finished playing the game since Snipperclips uses both Joy Con as different controllers.
Snipperclip's adorable pair of cartoony clipart characters bring a surprising amount of personality to what could have just as easily been a lifeless (yet creative) puzzle game. They laugh and giggle as they "snip" each other into various shapes, they squirm and make funny faces as they squat or restore their full form; it's all a reminder that this is good, light fun. They even have distinctive visual nods that make them stand apart, with the more masculine orange character wearing shoes and a bowtie, and the more feminine pink character with her ribbon, eyelashes, and boots.
Likewise, the soundtrack is surprisingly good and pretty memorable to boot. When I'm away from the game, I find myself consistently humming or thinking about the game's upbeat and catchy tracks, only to realize, "Huh, that's from the Snipperclips soundtrack? Wow." There's a certain similarity between a lot of the tunes in this game and the Wii Shop Channel's music, which had a nostalgic sort of '50s TV infomercial vibe to it.
In all, there's a good amount of depth to the game with its 50+ levels, and when you add in the fact that you can play with at least two players right out of the box (thanks to the Switch's two Joy-Con being able to act independently as two mini controllers and the Switch's ability to be taken anywhere) and even up to four (if you have an extra set of Joy-Con), it makes Snipperclips one of the best games to play with friends. But even if you're playing solo, Snipperclips is well worth playing and makes a case for being one of Nintendo's best puzzle titles in quite some time.
+ Colorful, appealing characters and visuals
+ Great, catchy music
+ Original, innovative concept
+ Great puzzle design and level variety
- Controls are adequate, but take some getting used to at first
- Some level scenarios are re-used with added elements later
Overall Score: 9 (out of 10)
Snipperclips may not have the brand name recognition or hype of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but it's almost equally worth your time and attention due to its clever, original concept and satisfying co-op level designs. Don't miss it.
Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher