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Snake Farm – Review

The action roguelike genre (especially ones with auto fire) are spawning spawns within spawns within spawns. At this stage in the genres popularity, you have to stand out from the crowd and that’s exactly what Snake Farm did to grab my attention. The tagline for this game is ‘your truest enemy is your own hubris’ and it totally delivers on that premise.

Snake Farm takes place over 10 days, or waves of snakes that you need to kill before sunset each day. When a snake dies it leaves behind snake oil which you need to collect to convert into cash. When the day is over, you then use that cash to buy additional snakes to add into the mix for all the days to follow. This means you could buy a load of snakes and then make the game so difficult it’ll kill you off and that is very easy to do. However the crux is that the more you kill, the more money you have, the more points you’ll get at the end of the run if you survive to have the online leaderboard glory. Its risk vs reward as the foundation of the game and its makes Snake Farm compelling to play.

Each snake has a different look, speed and attack pattern and you need to avoid them and kill them all by 6pm

Sometimes its best to buy several low grade snakes to polish them off but as they increase in numbers, they can overwhelm or encircle you and trap you until you die. Snake oil also acts as health so getting hurt has a double impact on you, which may lead you to play cautiously. Different snakes have different attacks and the more a snake costs, usually the bigger the reward will be for killing it. Snakes killed can also leave behind snake teeth and this second currency is used for upgrading or buying additional weapons. There are three weapons in the game, which you’ll choose one of straight out the gate. The hose is the least powerful but as you spray the water it can slow down snakes which nullifies their threat. The fork pushes snakes back but acts like a melee attack with tiny range. The trowel is like a shotgun – powerful but with a lengthy reload. Teeth upgrade these weapons as they appear in the shop but you can also buy other things like sprinklers, watering cans and tractors which can also run you over and kill you as well as the snakes.

The last thing to mention about the gameplay tilt is the way your score is calculated. It is heavily weighed towards keeping money and teeth in your possession so this means you shouldn’t just upgrade everything willy nilly. Each weapon has its own leaderboard too and its no use buying snakes you can’t kill before sunset as you’ll just be wasting your time as you score no points for any snakes alive at sunset.

Those boss snakes are health tanks and come with deadly attacks. You’ll need to clear them and everything you’ve already bought too. Maybe you’ll need to use your upgrade teeth after all…

Gameplay premise wise, Snake Farm is a hoot. In the moment to moment gameplay, there are a couple of rough moments and this comes down to game slowdown. When a lot is going on, the game struggles to keep up and sometimes your character seems to slow down to a crawl or move a bit jerkily. With some performance smoothing, I think most of this will be cleared up but your character isn’t quite as compass nimble as I’d like them to be. Shooting, running, collecting things and dodging attacks all work well though when Snake Farm runs smoothly. The last minor negative is that sound and music is barebones and whilst graphically, the style is as retro as it comes, the decision to really skimp on the audio side of things shows on repeated runs. At launch, there is no controller support either so you’ll need to be comfortable with WASD movement and mouse aim shooting. You can turn auto-shooting on for the Vampire Survivors feel but I found the game more engaging with aiming on – especially as aiming works well here. A run itself takes about 20 minutes.

I really enjoyed Snake Farm and genuinely am in awe of some of the high scores that have been posted. The greed gets you killed mentality is expertly delivered here and whilst some framerate issues do drag the experience down a little at times, this is a well realised and well executed action roguelike. Crucially, it plays and feels unique in a genre full of cookie cutter copy cats and for that reason alone, it deserves your attention.

Review code provided by developer. Snake Farm is out now on Steam.

Snake Farm
Final Thoughts
A genuinely unique take on the action roguelike that is delivered in an easy to digest bitesized format.
Greed becoming your own difficulty curve as you chase a higher score is expertly integrated into the game.
Each weapon plays differently and requires a different style for survival.
Online leaderboards per weapon is a great decision.
Feels unique in a genre that's already very crowded with samey games.
Framerate issues can hamper gameplay at very busy times.
Minimal audio.
Buy Store Credit

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