Review: Snapshot

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Platformers really need a unique hook to do well these days, and Snapshot certainly comes through on that front. It’s the only one I know of offhand that has a camera gimmick central to its puzzles aside from Camera Obscura, and this is certainly the more pleasing to the eye of the two. First impressions only get you so far, though, and once you dig into this one not even solid gimmicks or graphics can save it from its fatal misstep.

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The aforementioned camera dealie is that your little robot dude can take pictures of the world that save the items he snaps in them. He can then load the picture back into reality, rotating it to fit whatever the situation calls for. Pictures also capture motion, so if you snap a flying crate, it’ll still be speeding through the air when you bring it back. It’s an excellent setup which I’m sure already has you mulling over the infinite possibilities for clever puzzles. So with 120 levels to work through, along with stars to collect and hidden objects to find, you’ve got a quality mix, right?

You would, if the levels weren’t designed by a sadist. Snapshot has one massive flaw, and it’s the level design. Not five levels in, you’ll start encountering death spikes that force you to start the whole level over. There are no lives and no checkpoints, so even on the larger sprawling levels, one error can cost you a lot of time. Worse than that, many of the puzzles in the game can be rendered impossible to solve, forcing a restart of the level. This is because many levels like to make you stack objects to scale tall walls or shafts, and then continue using those items later in the level. Of course, if you fall back down after moving your items to the top, there’s no way to get them back. The very first level involving springs is very easy to ruin if you do any exploring whatsoever.

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I want to say it’s a shame, but honestly all Snapshot has going for it is the picture gimmick. The graphics are clean and cute but nothing special. There’s no story to speak of, or if there is it’s locked behind dozens of aggravating levels. And from what little I was able to see, the camera isn’t even used to the fullest despite the endless potential it carries. In the end, puzzle platformers come down to their level design and if it’s crap, nothing can save it. Surely there’s already another platformer out there that uses the same or a similar system to greater effect. And even if there isn’t, Snapshot certainly isn’t worth braving just for that.

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