Title  : Snood
Platforms  : Game Boy Advance
Publisher  : Destination Software, Inc.
ESRB Rating  : Everyone
Game Rating  : 6.0
Review by  : Dain Neater

When the original Game Boy was released in 1989, it was an unprecedented success that owed much to the packed-in, fabulous version of Tetris. When Snood came along for personal computers, it had all the great hallmarks that Tetris had. It was both simple to play and addictive. Maybe of more importance, it appealed to not only men, but women as well, something the gaming industry doesn't pull off all that often. When it was announced that this great game was going to be delivered to Nintendo's handheld, I was excited. This game had all the right pieces, and seemed to be the perfect fit for the portable. 

Snood is a simple game, and like many simple games, the playing area consists of only one screen. This game board is filled with Snoods, which for the uninitiated, are faces of various shapes and colors. Your goal is to clear the board by firing other Snoods from a launcher located at the bottom of the board. Connecting three identical Snoods together will remove them from the board. The goal is to clear them all away using as few Snoods as possible as the board will gradually descend toward your post, reminiscent of the aliens from Space Invaders. Once a Snood reaches your level, you are done for. 

The move from the computer didn't sacrifice any of the four game play modes. Classic mode is where all you must do is clear a randomly generated level. Journey is where you gradually work your way through various boards as the difficulty level ramps up each board you pass. Time Attack and Puzzle both involve playing through 50 increasingly difficult levels that must be defeated, with the only real difference being the former limits the time allowed, and the latter limits the number of Snoods allowed. The Game Boy Advance version does differ in that there are two new Snoods that do not appear in other versions, "Wild Card" Snood, which becomes what you need at the time, and "Cutter" Snood, which explodes and takes out anything around it. Both seem unnecessary as the game is quite balanced without them. In another departure from the computer counterpart, the GBA version gives you three lives in which to play with until game over is declared. 

The visuals in the game are disappointing. Like Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, the screen is very dark and almost unplayable without a specialized lighting device. The colors are muddy and are dark, and even with an Afterburner light installed in the GBA, it still seems quite dim. The tiny GBA screen also makes for a confusing time, since the Snood you are currently firing and the one that is next seem to cause confusion in a way that doesn't happen on a large computer screen. I often found myself firing a blue one that I thought was a red one. The Snoods themselves are animated with a subtle touch, that could have easily become annoying, but thankfully does not. 

Much like the graphics, the audio is a mixed bag. While the sound effects are nearly perfect for this type of game, the audio track that plays by default during each level is just hideous. Fortunately, this is a puzzle game and music doesn't really play a big role anyway. It's amazing how much turning off the music improves the experience. 

Snood for the Game Boy Advance seemed like a great idea. Unfortunately, the developers at Rebellion couldn't put things together, and the game manages to achieve only mediocrity. The concept is great, but numerous flaws and cost cutting measures like no battery to save high scores doom this title to obscurity. The game is playable, and is still an okay puzzler; it just isn't the gem that the computer version is.


This article is copyright (c) 2003, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Gamebits, 03-Apr-03