Snakeybus Xbox One review: hop aboard our magic bus

Snakeybus brings back an old concept—can it exist in modern gaming?

When you mesh together two concepts into one game — especially a challenging one — you run the risk of getting one of the aspects wrong while trying to focus on the other. However, if you manage to find some sort of balance while having a ridiculous amount of fun in the process, you could come off with a winner. And that’s kind of what happened with Snakeybus, the latest release from Digerati and Stovetop Studios.

Snake? SNAAAAAAKE!

The game copies the formula of the classic game Snake and its many variations, in which you move around a playfield, with your character becoming longer as you make progress. This way, you have to avoid parts of yourself or else the game’s over.

But what’s interesting about Snakeybus is that the concept is familiar, but the setup is entirely new. That’s because instead of a snake, you’re controlling a bus that grows longer in size with each successful customer you pick up and drop off. That’s where the game’s second aspect comes in, ala Sega’s Crazy Taxi, with the continuation of racking up points based on successful trips.

This is one wild ride.

It can be a bit chaotic at times, as you’re literally thrown into the game with very little to go on since it accelerates automatically for the most part. But after a few quick rounds in the first stage, you’ll get an idea of what Snakeybus has in store, and off you go!

Progress makes perfect

As you work your way through the venturous Snakeybus, you’ll be able to unlock new features, as well as build up a score via the online leaderboard. Surprisingly enough, this is a competitive component to the game that works really well, as you can see how others are faring and try to top their times. That is if you don’t accidentally run into yourself over the course of a trip or, dang it, pick up too many customers before getting the change to drop them off.

Among the features available in the game are new bus types, including a wicked-looking Chinese bus and, yes, a traditional school-style bus that grows incredibly in length. You’ll have to work on your score to unlock everything, but it’s worthwhile if you’re all about buses. (Busses? How’s that go?)

There is one aspect of the game that can be a little frustrating, and that’s the size of the levels overall. The early stages are a bit limited, not giving you nearly enough room to run like you’d be used to in, say, Crazy Taxi. But as practice makes perfect, you’ll open up new terrain and maybe stand a better chance of survival. Hell, you may even end up with a snake-ish string of dozens of buses (busses?), eventually filling the screen. Things can definitely get confusing at this point, and the screen slows down quite a bit. However, the chaos should be worth it to the devotees that want to extend their snake. (No, that wasn’t a joke, quit chuckling.)

Change your perspective

There is the ability to change between the third and first-person views in Snakeybus. While some may prefer the third person to see where everything is, I took a preference to first-person, as it really helps you get behind the wheel and see the limited scope of levels a little more clearly. Trust me, it’s worth a shot to see what it can do for you.

Satisfied customers? Um…

The game’s visuals are pretty nice, if not amazing. Again, small levels, but there’s something about the way your bus grows to immense size and floods the screen. And it’s fairly easy to see customers, even if they’re somewhat microscopic compared to Crazy Taxi’s. Part of the fun is remembering their positions and racking up your score with drop-offs and avoidances.

On top of that, the soundtrack is surprisingly good. It’s not over the top (and lacks in Goldfinger and Offspring), but it’s got some good beats and keeps you motivated enough to keep on your route.

And while there may not be enough modes to go around, the competitive leaderboards really go a long way to extending replay value. You’ll become addicted to Snakeybus in no time flat, along with beating the best times on the board to try and become the king of snakes. (Or queen, it’s an equal opportunity here.)

All aboard the Snakeybus?

While Snakeybus won’t be for everyone with its limited level scope and lacking features, there’s more than enough goofiness here for some to enjoy. The leaderboards are impressive; the soundtrack and presentation definitely have moments of greatness; and the gameplay is wildly addictive, albeit slightly frustrating. If you don’t mind taking an abnormal ride around the bend, and Crazy Taxi has you burned out, hop aboard this bus.

RATING: 7.5/10

Snakeybus will definitely take you for a ride with its buses (busses?). (A review code was provided by the publisher. Thanks, Digerati!)

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