KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. That’s the structure for Snakebird Complete. Take one of the most universally appealing games of all time (Snake), and translate that into an instantly playable puzzler with bright, cheery birdies to make it all so… fun.

We (I) overuse words beyond belief. How often have you heard ‘awesome’ about those most mundane things? I worked for someone who’d say someone’s efforts were phenomenal. Jesus… they just sawed through a piece of wood. Let’s go back to basics with a simple one: fun. This puzzle game from Noumenon Games is genuinely fun.

I’d turned up fashionably late for this Snakebird Complete review as I was so enamoured by Dredge that a handful of titles were put to one side, including this. Now it’s time to savour it.

My family were duly treated to daddy playing on the telly, using his big brain to solve puzzles. There’s no faffing about with any unnecessary story (not required for this type of puzzle game, surely?). Instead, you’re introduced to the mechanics: a 3D version of Snake, gravity and all.

Snakebird Complete Review Switch - Jungle is massive
Jungle is massive. Source: PR

Snakebird Complete Review – 

In Snakebird Complete you’re in control of these snake-like birds that expand each time they eat fruit. However, as with the humble ostrich, these things can’t fly and are hampered by gravity should they titter over the edge of a drop.

Luckily, they don’t have a health bar to falling from great heights onto land is ok. Should they back up onto themselves through their ever-extending girth (wrong choice, I know…), it’s either a case of restarting or undoing a move.

Restarting is a bit drastic as sometimes you can solve one of the many Snakebird Complete puzzles (which includes Snakebird and Snakebird Primer) almost perfectly, albeit making one cheeky little mistake. Unlike the excellent Gubbins, which fiendishly penalises undos, you can do so for the time it takes to learn to fly.

Snakebird Complete does come across as a mobile-type game as it’s pretty basic, though it suits the Switch. It’s very comfortable to play in handheld mode, but because of the mass appeal both in terms of playing and spectating, it’s better in docked mode.

Snakebird Complete Review Switch - Ice, ice birdie
Ice, ice birdie. Source: PR

I Got One Snake In My Pocket, And The Other Hand…

My non-gaming wife never had a Nokia in Japan like we did in Europe and didn’t have Snake in her pocket (dodgy sentence averted) like how we (you?) would play on the bus, in class, or on the lav – but she still knew the concept and played a variation of it somewhere. The kids, too, played educational games at school with the same premise, so Noumenon Games were on to a winner here with accessibility. It’s certainly not as hard as Snakeybus.

Hold on a second: is Billy Big Bollocks saying that Snakebird Complete is easy? Initially, yes. Bizarrely, the world map begins with a sequence of levels in numerical order, and then suddenly, the numbers shift out of place, yet you can attack them in any order.

Pfft! Easy. Let’s do this. Ah… yeah, there is an increase in difficulty as multiple birds are introduced, and you have to utilise their grasp over Earth’s pulling powers to give a one-up to their counterpart. The end goal of each stage is to collect all fruit and then get all birds into a portal.

Inevitably, you will get stuck. It only took about 20 or so levels for there to be a bottleneck with my logic and concede to a hint. Hints don’t spoil the game with an answer and an actual clue to push you in the right direction, giving a subtle outline of where you should position your bird friends.

Snakebirds ARE Real

Snakebird Complete is far from an adrenaline rush, but it is addictive. Now and then, I cement my tastes as an old-fashioned point and click adventurer with a penchant for open worlds, beat ’em ups, RTS, racing, sports…and then full circle to realise that yes, I am a narrative-driven husk, but puzzle games such as this have longevity and make me appreciate the choice available. 

Snakebird Complete is a decent puzzle game. I’m not selling you snake oil – this won’t blow your mind or your wallet. It will give hours and hours of satisfying gameplay and the occasional bragging rights to your loved ones when you solve a puzzle with finesse (albeit the early ones).

This review is based on the Switch edition. A PC release is due later this year.