Sometimes these are proper retail games: the likes of Band Bros, Custom Robo Arena, Excitebots, the Bit Generations series and New Style Boutique were all strong titles that were so underappreciated they may as well have had photos of Ben Affleck on the cover (he’s a cinema legend, deal with it).
More often than not, though, these ignored gems have been digital-only releases tucked away in each Nintendo system’s rarely browsed eShop. Indulge me for a second, there’s a big list coming because this really annoys me.
Pushmo and its sequels. Art Style PiCOPiCT. Dr Mario & Germ Buster. Three separate Mario vs Donkey Kong games. Art Style Kubos (Precipice in the US). Hydroventure. Excitebike World Rally. Dillon’s Rolling Western. Harmoknight. BoxBoy and BoxBoxBoy. All seven Picross e games.
These were all digital titles published by Nintendo that were thoroughly enjoyed by me and most of those who bought them, but were tragically ignored by the masses and ultimately didn’t sell as well as they could and should have.
If you’re thinking of buying a Switch, please don’t let Snipperclips become the latest member of that club.
At its core, Snipperclips is a co-op puzzle game in which players have to work together to perform a series of tasks.
The twist is that, as the name suggests, players are able to snip off parts of each other, thereby changing their shape.
Such scissor-themed savagery is all for a good cause, though. By trimming your pal down to various sizes, you can essentially turn them into an all-in-one tool: one minute you can fashion them into a sharp weapon, the next they could be a scoop or a container.
The benefits of this become clear fairly quickly once you start playing and get past the initial tutorial stages (which essentially teach the cutting mechanics and show how you can overlap with each other to form shapes).
The best way to explain how it works is by talking you through a single level. Early on you’re faced with a stage featuring a button that’s lodged into the ceiling, and a pencil sharpener lying over at the side of the screen.
The obvious first step is to press the button, but it’s embedded into the wall and your characters are too thick to fit in the gap to reach it. Cue some snipping (and indeed clipping) to get one of you down to a svelte enough width to fit in the gap and hit the button.
When you do this the next part of the puzzle kicks in, as a giant pencil falls vertically from the sky. I mean, obviously it falls ‘vertically’ since that’s how falling works, but you know what I mean: it falls with the eraser end pointing down.
At this point it’s clear what your final task is: you need to get the pencil into the sharpener lead-first. But the beauty of the game is you can do this using any method you can think of.
When I first played it the pencil fell onto the floor. I got my partner to cut me into a scoop shape so I could try to scoop it up, and though I eventually managed it, it took a lot of patience (and plenty of swearing).
The second time I realised that if the pencil dropped on the floor you could press the button again and make a replacement pencil fall from the sky. The new strategy was obvious: get my partner to stand under the pencil’s drop zone, hit the switch and quickly run over to them.
When the pencil dropped it landed on their flat head and fell to the side, where I was waiting to catch it. We then both slowly carried the pencil across the room, ‘to-me-to-you’ Chuckle Brothers style, until we were able to place it in the sharpener.
When I got back to my hotel that night I watched videos of others playing the game and noticed they came up with a much cleverer solution, which involved cutting a pencil-shaped notch into one player, letting the pencil drop right into them, and nonchalantly strolling over to the sharpener. You can see it in this video at the 8:40 mark.
That’s three completely different solutions, of varying levels of difficulty. And that’s just one of the first levels in the game: who knows how complex it’ll get later on.
What I love about Snipperclips is how it encourages interaction and requires you to talk through your plan with your partner. While there are plenty of co-op games out there, most of them don’t really add extra depth beyond giving you double the firepower or adding a second human-controlled player to your team.
Because this one challenges you both to think outside the box – and ultimately cut big bastard chunks out of the box – you do a lot better when you’re constantly talking to each other and trying to think of strategies.
Even more exciting, the fact it’s such a simplistic game at its core means almost anyone will be able to pick it up and ‘get’ it within a minute or two: this isn’t a Resident Evil 5 or FIFA 17 situation where if your co-op partner isn’t an expert at the game they’re a clear handicap to your team.
As anyone who listens to the Tired Old Hack podcast will know, my wife hasn’t been a gamer for years: she gave up in the mid ‘90s when games switched from 2D to polygonal. I’ve tried to play some co-op games with her, but even the likes of Lego Dimensions frustrates her because she can’t be arsed learning its complexities like the different powers available and the like.
Snipperclips is the game she’ll love playing with me, I’m certain of it. This is the game that will finally unite couples that consist of one gamer and one couldn’t-give-a-fuck-er.
Better yet, while the demo I played was a two-player one, it sounds like Snipperclips will also be the game for you whether you’re a lonely sod or you’re a bloody socialite like Hugh Hefner: it’ll support solo play and will also feature special four-player levels.
When you look at social media and forums and have a gander for Switch chat everyone’s talking about Zelda and Mario Kart, and that’s completely understandable: they’re the big triple-A titles and they’re the ones that will best show off the system’s power at the early part of its life.
From what I’ve played of it though, I’m entirely convinced Snipperclips is the Switch’s hidden weapon. My only concern is that its potential eShop-only release and lack of major hype will mean it’s a weapon that may ultimately remain hidden to most.
My Switch coverage concludes tomorrow with a 2-in-1 hands-on article for Super Bomberman R and Ultra Street Fighter II.
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