Have you ever taken a piece of construction paper and snipped away at it endlessly until you were left with some ornate design? That's probably a staple of most people's childhood. Cutting away at colorful paper is just fun to do, because you either never know what you're going to end up with or you finish up with something precise and beautiful. That's how playing the Nintendo Switch's debut puzzle game "Snipperclips - Cut it out, together!" made me feel. When engaged with a good friend or loved one, colorful puzzles, and a duo of silly paper people, "Snipperclips" feels absolutely sublime.
CUT IT OUT, DUDE
Snipperclips is the most colorful game on the Nintendo Switch right now, in terms of personality and visuals. It's an adventure that's meant to be played with others, which is exactly what I did in order to fully test everything it had to offer. Once I had a friend along for the ride, I loaded up the game and headed straight into the main puzzle mode, which offers a decadent serving of co-op puzzle-solving goodness.
You're assigned one character apiece: Snip or Clip. Your goal is to snip away at your partner's character (and vice versa) until you can solve the problem placed before you. If you make a mistake and cut the wrong shape out, you can just hold a button to reform your character immediately and try it all over again. The only real penalty you get for making mistakes is attracting the ire of your partner in real life, which I managed to do several times when just getting the hang of "Snipperclips." That's not the game's fault, though.
If you're playing with a friend, each of you takes a Joy-Con controller and turns it on its side like a regular gamepad. You can jump, reform yourself, and snip at the other player with the face buttons, moving your character around with the analog stick. You can rotate your character around using the shoulder buttons, just in case you need to reposition yourself for a certain snip. It's a comfortable setup, and it works well with the game's premise.
The game's main mode is split up into bite-sized puzzle chunks so you never feel too overwhelmed with what it asks of you. Sometimes you might be asked to shape yourself into a scoop so that you can pick up a basketball and send it through a hoop. Other times you might be trying to trap a firefly so you can push it near a jar-like encasement to keep it there. No matter the goal, Snip and Clip are hilarious to watch as they make mischievous grins and even grimaces as you work to cut them into viable shapes for the task at hand.
One of my personal favorite puzzles so far was being asked to cut out a path for a virtual video game character to make her way to an end goal by using Snip and Clip to cut the paper and use a joystick to move the character at the top left of the play area. It involved a lot of trial and error, but there was immense payoff when the little character reached her goal. This type of interaction is common in the several worlds "Snipperclips" is split up into. The only time this doesn't happen is when you find that you've been able to brute force your way through a puzzle's solution rather than sitting and planning it out, or finishing a puzzle in a matter of seconds because it's simply not that difficult. These are few and far between, but they can and do pop up from time to time.
When you finish the main mode, which offers a group of themed stages that follow a certain pattern, you can take on additional modes that offer support for 2-4 players, such as the "Party Mode," which puts together even more difficult puzzles meant for four players to figure out. If you've got a group of friends and enough Joy-Con controllers, this makes for a great alternative to other multiplayer games, and a great way to show off the Switch.
You can opt for "Blitz Mode" instead as well, which supports 2-4 players as it rotates out three different mini games, including Hockey, where players engage in a round of air hockey, Basketball, where players try to navigate a basketball all the way through a net, and another game where you do your best to try and snip your opponents to death. Don't worry, it's way less cruel than it sounds.
For characters that resemble two halves of a gelcap you might take to relieve a headache, Snip and Clip are the absolute stars of the show, and it doesn't matter which one you play as, they're full of personality. But there's no denying this game is absolutely meant for two or more players. You must work together with your partner (or yourself, if you fancy swapping between both characters) if you want to succeed, and "Snipperclips" makes playing with another person feel effortless. There's some stumbling in the beginning as you both learn to orient yourself and what shapes mean what in a basic 2D plane, but all of this dissolves as you rack up victory after victory and pass through each puzzle stage. There's so much joy attached to the feeling of progression you get after completing the next puzzle that it becomes an addictive experience in no time flat. It can be a slog sometimes to figure things out, but that's what makes the game so entertaining in the first place.
While "Snipperclips" is an excellent puzzle game and exemplary of the Switch's capabilities, it's unfortunately not so much a game that works as well with one player. It's clear from the very beginning of the game that it's meant to include friends and family, with the insinuation from the first menu that "two players" is optimal. You can play alone, but it makes the game feel much less innovative and mired in convention. Swapping between both characters is not only time-consuming, but it feels tedious and awkward when compared to the effortless teamwork that comes with adding another human player. You'll need an impressive amount of patience if you want to play this way, and it isn't recommended.
NO PAPERCUTS HERE
"Snipperclips - cut it out, together!" is an impressive showing both as far as first-round Nintendo Switch games go and puzzle titles in general. It's a bargain for the amount of time you'll get out of it, and it's rife with color, intrigue, challenging puzzles, and adorable graphics. The only real problems arise from the fact that it's meant to be played with others, so if that's not your bag you won't get as much out of it. For everyone else, however, this is a system-seller, especially since you can enjoy it on the go. You'll want to cut in on a "Snipperclips" session, that's for sure.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
ESRB rating: E
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