As the resident indie lover, I was so pleased to get my hands on a local indie game, Snailboy. Part Angry Birds, part platformer, Snailboy is a beautifully realized iOS physics-based puzzle game from Cape Town-based developer, Thoopid.

The first thing I noticed when loading up Snailboy was just how beautiful it was. No, really – it is a visually stunning game, the likes you might expect from an experience mobile development house. The colors are crisp, the animations are well executed and the game immediately draws you in.

Snailboy comic

Gameplay is fairly simple. As a shell-less snail (no, not a slug), you must travel through levels finding a variety of snails for your pack. This means jumping over obstacles, sticking to walls, and even scooting along the ground when necessary. Along your way, you collect slime. This slime can be used to purchase upgrades, as well as buy extra lives. I ended up doing just this when I got stuck on a level and died over 20 times. Yeah, I’ve told you before, I suck at platformers!

The game starts off simple enough, with difficulty increasing as you progress. Soon spikes appear on walls, bugs start crawling and flying around to stab you, and platforms can no longer support your weight for long. I must say, when the platforms dropped and bees started flying, I actually enjoyed the game a bit less. I like to take my time setting up the perfect jumps – when I reached that part in the game I actually stopped worrying about going for a three-star result or collecting all the slime. Survival was all I cared about.

Snailboy sling

Like most mobile games, Snailboy is ideal for picking up and putting down. Play through a level while waiting for a meeting, although I think it best to play somewhere you’re alone so that you can keep the volume on. One of the tips says that you can enjoy the game best with headphones on – definitely a true statement. Fantastic sound and art direct on this project.

However, there are some things that aren’t great with Snailboy. For the most part, the controls are easy and intuitive. However, the scooting movement is done by “slapping” (actually swiping) Snailboy. A small slap moves him a short distance while a large slap moves him a greater distance. Unfortunately, the differentiation between the two swipes is not very well done – I often found myself slapping him clean off a platform instead of just scooting forward a bit. Or, I’d want to move along a level and have to keep slapping him like a childish girl-fight.

Snailboy slap

I had a completely glitch-free experience on my iPhone 5. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Geoff, who desperately needs an upgrade. The iPhone 4 simply couldn’t handle Snailboy – he kept getting stuck and the game was very buggy for him. Not a good time.

Looking or listening to Snailboy, you might expect a bit more from this game. It’s generally well done, but I suppose I was expecting something a bit deeper based on the aesthetics. It’s a fun game, and definitely well worth the $2 it costs. Just don’t expect it to revolutionize the mobile gaming world. I’d wait for Snailboy 2 on that one.

Last Updated: October 3, 2013

Snailboy
A beautifully designed game with some minor gameplay flaws. Slime flies when you're having fun, and I definitely enjoyed playing Snailboy.
7.5
Snailboy was reviewed on iOS
/ 100

33 Comments

  1. Rikus

    October 3, 2013 at 15:51

    “The iPhone 4 simply couldn’t handle Snailboy – he kept getting stuck and the game was very buggy for him.”

    I guess you can say it is sluggish on the iPhone 4?

    Reply

    • Rincethis

      October 3, 2013 at 15:56

      Boom!

      Reply

    • Her Highness the Hipster

      October 3, 2013 at 16:12

      yes, yes you could! this made me laugh more than it should have πŸ™‚

      Reply

  2. Jonah Cash

    October 3, 2013 at 15:51

    Is this available in the SA store?

    Reply

    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      October 3, 2013 at 16:01

      No, but soon, apparently.

      Reply

      • Jonah Cash

        October 3, 2013 at 16:03

        How in the name of world do I get onto the USA or UK stores? I have tried to apply but then they ask for Credit card details and it doesn’t want to take mine!!!

        Reply

        • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

          October 3, 2013 at 16:06

          there are guides available online; involves buying a “free” app and the using dodgy address details. Well worth it though.

          Reply

          • Jonah Cash

            October 3, 2013 at 16:07

            I got the doggy address bit right… I apparently lived in a video store in California… Guess I will have to try it again… Thank you sir!!

          • Rikus

            October 3, 2013 at 17:04

            Well, I’m living in a Wallmart

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            October 3, 2013 at 17:05

            I used to live in a Red Lobster in Ohio….

          • r1g0

            October 3, 2013 at 21:03

            Not sure if actually living there or just for the store(?)

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            October 4, 2013 at 12:58

            Uhm … I decline to comment, and I never had relations with that woman.

          • Tarisma

            October 4, 2013 at 07:42

            I live in a Chinese restaurant in New York

          • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

            October 4, 2013 at 07:53

            I’mma living in a box. I’mma living in a cardboard box. Imma living in a box.

          • Tarisma

            October 4, 2013 at 08:16

            A box .

            You were lucky. We lived for three months in a paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the paper bag, eat a crust of stale bread, go to work down t’ mill, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi’ his belt.

    • Mossel

      October 3, 2013 at 16:03

      Sadly, no.

      Reply

  3. Rincethis

    October 3, 2013 at 15:56

    Nice! Actually, the depth was brought up in the meeting I attended. A suggestion was that when you managed to get a shell back it would carry properties that may unlock different areas in levels. Like a shell that acts as a parachute, or one that allows you to triple jumps etc. I think that could added a nice RPG element to add depth!

    Reply

  4. ElimiNathan

    October 3, 2013 at 15:56

    “You should escargot for this game “, I nearly face palmed πŸ˜›

    Reply

  5. Getting Thoopid

    October 3, 2013 at 16:55

    Thanks for the review LG and all the great feedback. Just to note, Snaiboy is optimised for iPhone 4s so that is the unfortunate reason for the “sluggishness.” But we will be releasing an updated version very soon with improved controls and accuracy. Please keep an eye out for the update. Ingenious witty puns!

    Reply

    • Skoobaz

      October 4, 2013 at 09:23

      PC version?

      Reply

      • Getting Thoopid

        October 4, 2013 at 11:06

        @Skoobaz:disqus We are not planning on releasing a PC version currently. Focused on the iOS update and Android release next!

        Reply

  6. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    October 3, 2013 at 17:07

    Since I’m boycotting Apple because of their lack of support for South African gamers, any word on this game launching on Andoid?

    PS: I used to do the create a dodgy account to access their stuff, but I realised that I’m only benefiting them. So no more!

    Reply

    • Gavin Mannion

      October 4, 2013 at 09:49

      I’m sure Apple are crushed at your boycot πŸ™‚

      Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        October 4, 2013 at 12:57

        I doubt they even know where South Africa is, but the principle is what matters to me.

        Reply

        • ToshZA

          October 21, 2013 at 17:22

          And, to be fair, the problem wasn’t Apple, but rather our local Film & Publication board not allowing games into the Apple store.

          Reply

    • Getting Thoopid

      October 4, 2013 at 10:39

      @JimLenoir:disqus We will be releasing on Android very soon, but Snailboy will also be available for ZA. It is submitted to the App Store and waiting for review. No need to boycott. Just takes a little bit more time. πŸ™‚

      Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        October 4, 2013 at 12:53

        Awesome thanks!

        Reply

    • ToshZA

      October 21, 2013 at 17:21

      Randomly on this post – old as it is – Apple now have a local games store.

      Reply

  7. Mythryl

    October 3, 2013 at 23:23

    Android version coming? But well done for a local dev.

    PS: A snail without a shell is a slug…just sayin XD

    Reply

  8. Hermann Schwindt

    October 4, 2013 at 11:58

    Flippen awesome that its a local developer!!

    Reply

  9. Getting Thoopid

    October 11, 2013 at 10:32

    NEW Update to Snailboy Available Now! Update includes sweet slapping, increased accuracy and Improved controls! Please share your thoughts on the new update! http://bit.ly/176e0Ju

    Reply

  10. Getting Thoopid

    October 11, 2013 at 11:27

    NEW Update to Snailboy Available Now! Update includes sweet slapping, increased accuracy and Improved controls! Please share your feedback on the update! Start collecting your slimeys: http://bit.ly/176e0Ju

    Reply

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