Snakeybus’s elevator pitch is one of those ideas that sounds good when you have it at 2 A.M., but the following day you can’t stop thinking about it: What if you mixed Crazy Taxi and Snake?
This new indie game, available now on Steam, mixes the frantic city driving of the Dreamcast classic with the ever-growing challenge of the Nokia phone staple. The hodgepodge is held together by a chill, lo-fi aesthetic that makes something very high concept feel oddly grounded.
I can’t tear myself away from it.
As the Snakeybus, it’s my job to pick up passengers from around town and once my bus is full, drop these kind folks off at different landmarks. Each successful drop off adds to the length of my bus.
If I crash into a building or barrier and I stop moving, it’s game over. This isn’t so hard at first – I’m the only vehicle on the road – but the longer I play, the longer my bus becomes. In a game with very few obstacles, I become my own.
Within minutes, my bus can become so long, I must dodge myself. I can grow so lengthy that the body of my bus can block off entire intersections or streets. It’s not long before my goal shifts from picking up passengers to figuring out how to not crash into myself.
Thankfully, my Snakeybus is equipped with jet packs that let me periodically fly into the air. This is a perfect tool for leaping over my serpentine Snakeybus body in a pinch. Taking to the skies sets a fixed point where the rest of the bus will follow suit into the air. Sometimes if I plan my route right, I can see the rest of the bus jumping over and twirling around itself. It’s a satisfying sight.
Being a Snakeybus is not without some bumps in the road. At the time of writing, controller support is limited, so I opt to play most of the game with a mouse and keyboard. It doesn’t make for the most ideal driving experience. The camera can sometimes bug out, but not so much that it leads to catastrophe.
Speaking of the camera, it plays a wonderful secondary role once I do end up crashing into myself. Before restarting my run, I can fly over the stage and get a bird’s eye view of me, the mighty Snakeybus. It’s a wonderfully weird way to end each playthrough of Snakeybus. Seeing my vehicle wrapped around several city blocks in a tangled mess is fantastic. In longer playthroughs, it’s hard to tell how long my bus has become. Seeing everything from the sky really shows off how absurd the game’s concept (and the bus) can stretch itself.
Snakeybus is a little rough around the edges, but that’s fine: I’m less interested in its destination than its long, strange trip. For all its mayhem, I find Snakeybus relaxing. Perhaps it’s the lo-fi beats to chill to or the calming sway of a mile long city bus carving around itself, but each playthrough of Snakeybus has charmed me with its refreshing silliness.
My only question now is how long can I make my bus before my computer’s RAM dissolves?