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  Mechanic #175 - Snaketroid
Posted: Jan 10, 2014

A sequel to the classic game Snake, players explore an open world eating special fruit to solve puzzles.

  Snakes Alive!



Fig 175.1 - Push block, don't eat self, ?, Profit.

This is a sequel to the classic game, Snake, but with an open Metroid-like world and puzzles.

  You Are What You Eat

The primary gameplay device for this idea is that the snake eats fruit. In the original Snake, eating something increased the length of the snake. Not so in this idea. Instead, there are a bunch of different types of fruit, each one affecting the snake different. The twist is that the fruit only affects one segment of the snake at a time.



Fig 175.2 - Snake Snack is a State Stack.

Think of the snake's stomach as a sort of first-in-last-out stack. Each piece of fruit the snake eats is pushed further into the body by each new incoming fruit. Eating more fruit than the length of the snake will cause the last fruit to be digested and pushed out the back, if you get my drift. The snake also has the ability to spit out the last eaten fruit. This allows the snake to control the order of the fruit in its body, as well as giving it a projectile to hit things from afar.



Fig 175.3 - Eating healthy builds strong, mirror-like scales.

Each piece of fruit transforms the body segment it is in in some manner. By aligning the proper fruits in the body, the snake becomes the tool of solving puzzles. For instance, use mirror skin to reflect lasers, flaming body to light torches, and even tiny little arms body to hit switches.



Fig 175.4 - Eating fruit makes my tummy feel weird.

Some ideas for body segments:

Mirror Body - Reflect lasers and hideous visages. Impervious to damage.

Flame Body - Lights adjacent torches and fuses. Can see in the dark.

Tiny Little Arms Body - Tiny hands stick out the side that can manipulate adjacent switches.

Invisible Body - Body is transparent. Laser go right through.

Fat Body - Heavy, can hit switches underneath. Can't fit through doorways.

Rubber Body - Reflects projectiles. Stretches when moving, if anchored by Fat Body.

Gun Body - Fires projectiles.

Black Hole Body - Sucks nearby objects towards it.

And so on...

  Puzzles and Stuff

The game is set up as a puzzle game with a semi-open world, not unlike Metroid. Here, progress is gated based on the size of the snake, as harder puzzles will require a longer snake with more abilities. The snake grows by finding the special golden apples, which can only be gained by solving length-specific puzzles.

Unlike Snake, the snake in this game is a more turn-based affair. Nothing moves unless you hit a button. There's no automatic forward movement. The snake can even rest in one spot for a turn. However, the snake is still limited in where it can move, since it can turn or go forward, but never go backwards. This means that something as trivial as pushing a block becomes more complicated, since you have to plan out where you will move after pushing the block, taking care to avoid hitting your own tail.

Finally, should your snake find itself eating its own tail, the body crinkles up such that the last spot on the body is the segment before the bite. The snake will then uncrinkle as it moves on from there. The snake loses hitpoints based on the number of segments past the spot where it was bit (i.e. if it were a 5 segment snake that bit itself on the 4th segment, it would lose 2 hitpoints for the 4th and 5th segments).

  Conceptual Notes

- I have the basic premise to this idea written down in my notebook as "Laser Snake". It's just a little picture of a snake with mirrors on the side to reflect laser. Kind of a limited idea and not one I was too keen on. Then yesterday, for some reason, I was thinking about it and the idea of eating fruit affecting segments of the snake hit me. It was one of those moments where you get bludgeoned with an idea and you instantly know that it was exactly what you needed, but didn't know you wanted. This idea went from a "maybe" straight to the top of my todo pile. (Didn't hurt that I already had a snake drawn).



Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.