Game Review: WildSnake - SNES

If you thought Tetris was fun, get ready for Tetris with snakes! Yeah, actual Snakes; Wild Snakes. Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris, thought it would be a good idea to add snakes to the classic game.
5 Minutes
Published: November 18, 2017

Wildsnake Cartridge

If you thought Tetris was fun, get ready for Tetris with snakes! Yeah, actual Snakes; Wild Snakes. Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris, thought it would be a good idea to add snakes to the classic game. To be honest, when I started playing this game I thought it was just a crappy rip off of Tetris, but NOPE the creator of Tetris himself thought this was a good idea… sigh.

The game starts, and I am greeted with a familiar board layout: a gridded game board on the right; the next snake in the top left; and score information on the mid to bottom left. “this can’t be too hard” I thought to myself… and boy was I right! After understanding how to manipulate the snakes, I continued to play and found “levels” in this game just add more snake types to the board. This difficulty scaling mechanic was an interesting way to make the game harder… but how far would it go. At the max, I believe there were 12 different types of snakes on the screen, and the game started to become very challenging.

Unfortunately, After playing this game for a while, I became bored and decided to explore the options for a two-player mode or harder difficulties. It turns out there is a two-player mode, but I didn’t have any friends to play with… so that idea was thrown out the window. But, there were one-player difficulties: easy, normal, hard, and king cobra. Playing through the first three difficulties were easy/borning. They even had an option to change the “style” and “grid shape” but these proved to be underwhelming, and I was about to turn off the game and put it away forever until… until I selected KING COBRA and my life changed forever.

wildsnake - options screen

The Only Way To Play The Game

It turns out there is a fun way to play this game! One-player difficulty king cobra is a challenge mode that has nine levels (I think) with one intro challenge and one hard challenge at each level. These challenges have a few different objectives: Eliminate X snakes of X types, Eliminate X snakes in X seconds, Eliminate X snakes of each color in X seconds, Eliminate the eggs with snake of the same color in X seconds, Have X or more snakes on the screen in X seconds. Now, this is how to play the game!

wildsnake - challenge 1

Working my way through the challenges, I found the terrible storyline of me, a mongoose, sneaking up and attempting to kill the king cobra rather fun, and it drove me to play just to kill this damn snake! (yes, I am easily entertained) Death after death I thought I would never kill this snake. My first playthrough I, the mongoose, died at level 7. Trying again I died at 8… then 5… 6… 7… 3… 4… was I getting worse? Maybe I was just tired. Then it happened! I was in the zone, and I got to the hard challenge in level 9: Eliminate 3 snakes of each color, eliminate the eggs with snakes of the same color, and have 20 snakes on the screen in 250 seconds.… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I took a deep breath and thought “here we go” as I pressed A to start the challenge.

Rushing as fast as I could, I blew through the eggs and half of the snakes of each color and I then I realized, I only had 120 seconds left to eliminate the rest of the snakes and pile snakes onto the screen! The faster I went, the more mistakes I made reassuring myself “we need snakes on the screen anyway so don’t fret.”… boy oh boy was I kidding myself. I ended up running out of time with more snakes than needed on the screen and only a few snake types to eliminate, but those types were on the bottom of the stack, and unless I were to get the same snake type in a row there was no way I was going to succeed. It was apparent to me eliminating the types of snakes first was imperative and getting snakes on the screen should be the focused of the types of snakes where you have already eliminated 3.

For the next weeks, I attempted to make it back to level 9, but never could. After a while, I convinced myself I was cursed and put the game away to attempt this feat at a later date.

Wildsnake PCB

Final Thoughts

Although playing this game in any other difficulties then king cobra bored me to tears, having that challenge mode made the game fun and I would 100% play this game again. I do wish king cobra was the default play mode or at the very least make it easier to find! I almost put the game down before I even played the challenges. What a shame that would have been.