Team building exercises are a love-hate relationship in any workplace. You work together for a common goal and find your partner’s strengths along the way. At the same time, you realize how frustrating your partner finds you and how difficult even the simplest task can be. Snipperclips is an adorable team building exercise and, if played with a partner, can give you moments of feeling the bliss of triumph or the anger of failing to communicate. This game will make you want to cut your friends, but in a good way.
Snipperclips takes a different approach to the puzzle genre. There are several different modes for you and your friends to take a crack at including a main mode for 1-2 players, or Blitz (battle) and Party (cooperation) mode for 2-4 players. The main mode, either played with one person controlling two shapes or two players controlling their own shape, has you working together to solve each stage’s goal by cutting your partner into various shapes and rotating to use your body as a tool. To cut your partner, all you do is hover of their shape and press the button dedicated to cutting on your joy-con. This will cut out any bits of your partner that you have covered. There is also the ability to rotate your shape by pressing the shoulder buttons on your joy-con and the ability to do a short jump.
The game features simple controls and a simple (yet delightful) art style; however, solving the puzzles can be anything but. At first, the puzzles will start out easy. On one of the first puzzles, for instance, you will be presented with dotted lines and are expected to cut your partner to fill out a shape. Sounds simple enough, but the guidelines can be very picky. My partner and I often ran into the issue of having cut off slightly too much of our bodies to fill the shape. Fortunately, the game gives you the ability to reshape either your entire body, or your most recent mistake. There is no time limit, so you can take as long as you want to reach your goal. In a way, this is a relaxing experience.
Puzzles aren’t just about filling shapes. More often, you’ll have to use your shape to overcome a variety of obstacles. One of the first challenges you’re faced with is getting a basketball into a hoop. How you get the ball into the hoop is up to you to decide. At first, my partner and I tried to balance the ball on top of our shapes, but that effort was futile. Since we couldn’t dribble the ball to the net, we decided to form a cup and carry the ball.
Despite its charming, paper and pencil look, Snipperclips does its best to not insult your intelligence. In a way, this causes just figuring out what to do a puzzle in itself. When you start a stage, you are not given instructions, prompts, or even what your goal is. You must figure out what each button does, how to overcome a given obstacle, and why the arrow is pointing to what it is.
Don’t be put off by the early levels of this game, as the puzzles have a steep difficulty curve. The shapes you will be expected to cut you and your partner into become more precise, and this is where the guidelines feel the pickiest. You’ll find yourself restarting the level several times because you accidentally cut off too much of the corner. Sometimes, these puzzles are a little too cryptic, making you play around with the environment longer than is necessary before figuring out what your goal is.
Sometimes, your biggest obstacle is each other, and that’s exactly what made my partner and I take a brief break from the game. This might have been from a buildup of miscommunication or both of us trying to execute our own ideas at the same time. In one level, we had to operate two gears to make a ball go from the inside of a circle to the outside. This simple task, rotating two gears and getting the ball into the cup took us twenty minutes to complete. She told me to cut her into a crescent moon, even though she was thinking of a half moon. Semantics aside, I didn’t make her into any moon phase; instead, I cut her into a hook, or at least, tried to. When you try to cut a reluctant partner into something they don’t want to be, they will fight you. She became a piece of art that would put Picasso to shame. While we eventually would cut ourselves into the right shapes, that was long after we took a break to cool down. My partner was livid. This was the final straw in a series of bad mistakes I made up to this point in the game.
Unfortunately, the game can feel dull if you are playing by yourself. When you’re alone, you’re switching between both characters to solve the many puzzles. While it’s easier to communicate with yourself, half the fun is cooperating with another person to figure out the puzzles.
Fortunately, you don’t need to buy a second controller to enjoy this game fully. The Switch, out of the box, comes with two joy-cons. It’s easy local multiplayer off the bat without any extra cost. This is one of the first games to truly take advantage of the fact that the joy-cons can be flipped sideways and while it may seem off-putting, the controls are simple to get used to and you’ll find yourself cutting and flipping with ease.
If you’re like me, you may want to let off some steam after you and your partner get into another spout over the incompetence of the other player (read: me). There are several other modes you can delve into.
Blitz mode, a game dedicated to competition, is for 2-4 players. There are several ways you can complete against your partner (or three other friends). One of the competitions is a battle mode where you must prove you are a cut above your friends and cut them out of existence. This mode is a great small distraction and rewards you for what you’ve been doing at the victory screen of every level: completely and utterly destroying your partner(s). You each have three lives and the goal is to be the last shape standing.
There are also basketball modes and hockey modes. These modes are just silly “make the ball reach the goal” games played in a 2v2 fashion. You can cut your partner to get an edge over the opponent, or you can stay whole to cover as much area as you can. These are both fun, but short, distractions from the main game.
Finally, we have party mode. This is a massive 2-4 player cooperative set of puzzles. If you thought coordinating with one other person was rough, getting three of your friends to listen to you is a nightmare. There is the option to do this mode with two players, each person controlling two shapes, but that proved to be as slow as playing the main game as a single player.
Overall, Snipperclips offers a variety of interesting puzzles that challenge your creativity and communication skills. The game provides a large variety of challenges that increase dramatically as the game goes on. You can have fun with up to four players in large scale cooperation or a competitive mode. Sometimes the puzzles may seem a little too cryptic or picky, but part of the fun is figuring out what the puzzle is. There is fun in playing it solo, but it’s a much slower and less rewarding experience than if you were to play it with a friend. Your success, and at times, enjoyment can be entirely dependent on how well you work together, but you’re sure to have a good laugh after it’s all over.
Snipperclips - Cut it out together!
Snipperclips offers hours of head-scratching puzzle fun with you and a friend. The price point is fair for the number of levels and modes it offers to encourage you to come back to work with your friends in party mode or take them on in Blitz mode. The difficulty curve is steep and some of the puzzles are too cryptic, but with determination and proper communication, you can tackle any problem. Make sure you bring a friend!