Capsule Review: Snipperclips

(A note on versions - this game was originally released as Snipperclips. Additional levels and modes were released as DLC, and a new version that included the DLC was released as Snipperclips Plus.)

A cooperative puzzle game where each player controls a shape that can ‘snip’ and thus modify the shape of other characters and sometimes parts of the environment. Players must cooperate to create the shapes necessary to solve puzzles such making scoops to pick up and carry objects or gears to rotate mechanisms. This simple and easy-to-understand gameplay is used in the service of a wide variety of goals - creating a complex specified shape, moving objects with various characteristics through obstacle courses to a goal, redirecting the flow of fluids to fill containers or protect other objects, and more. My personal favorite were the “Princess Power-Up” levels where the players are tasked with creating a course for the “princess” to traverse and collect all the power-ups along the way.

There are four game modes - “World” which has puzzle levels designed for up to two players, “Party” which has fewer levels that are designed for up to four players, “Blitz” which has six competetive game modes (my favorite of which is “Territory” which feels like a boiled-down Splatoon), and “Stamp” which is a free-form art mode that allows you to paint with your characters and create screenshots to share. While the game is ostensibly for one to four players, most of its content is designed for two or four. Playing World or Party with fewer than two or four players respectively will mean someone has to control multiple shapes, switching between them with a button press, and it’s more fun to have dedicated characters who can work together simultaneously. This isn’t a dealbreaker - I played in groups of two and three and we all had fun - but I imagine the game is a lot less enjoyable alone.

The puzzles are never especially deep, but that’s fine - this is basically a party game and the fun comes from playing with the mechanics and coordinating between players. The fact that the specific things you need to do are never that complicated makes it much more approachable for folks with a variety of experience and skill levels. New folks can join in and have fun with the later levels without needing to play the early levels first. There’s also very little text, which along with the cute and responsive presentation (your shapes have entertaining reactions to your commands) makes the game seem kid-friendly and probably a good title for parents to play with their children.

Unfortunately, a few levels suffer for the lack of explicit instructions and it can take some time to figure out what you’re supposed to do - for one specific puzzle, I had to resort to looking up the goal online. Some of the later puzzles, such as a balancing act where you must distribute weights to make several sections of a ship float at the same level, don’t make good use of the snipping mechanic and are really just a more traditional puzzle with a difficult-to-use interface, but this is a fairly small percentage. Most puzzles are decently forgiving, to the point where a number of them can be solved without using snipping at all if you are sufficiently stubborn.

All in all, this is a charming co-op experience that makes good use of the Switch as a platform, since you can just snap off the joy-cons and hand one to a friend and jump right in. Working together - shaping your friend into a tool that can then be used to shape you into a tool to solve the puzzle - is satisfying and always feels like you are playing together and not just near each other. Every Switch owner who wants to be ready with party games should have this in their library.

I Stopped Playing When: My friends and I finished all the World and Party levels and tried the Stamp mode and all the Blitz modes at least once each.

Docprof's Rating:

Three Stars: Good. I liked the game enough to finish it (or just play it a bunch, for games that don't end). I recommend it to most genre fans.

You can get it or learn more here.