When it comes to twin-stick shooters, you generally think of fast-paced arcade action, don’t you? That’s not the case with Clid the Snail.
Developed by Weird Beluga, a studio founded by five college friends who went on to win the sixth PlayStation Talent awards, Clid the Snail is a twin-stick shooter with a bit of a slower pace. Not a snail’s pace, but something a bit more methodical. In fact, at times it feels more like an adventure game with twin-stick shooter mechanics.
The idea for Clid the Snail came as a result of a game jam, in which participants had to quickly develop a game with the theme “What means home to you”. For some reason a snail that had been exiled came to mind – his home carried on his back wherever he goes. And so you probably won’t be surprised to find that that’s actually the premise of Clid the Snail. Exiled by his clan for being a trouble causer, Clid is let loose to find his new place in the world.
The futuristic world of Clid the Snail is dark. Humans are extinct, and so animals now rule. Their anthropomorphic nature leads us to believe that years of evolution has occurred, too. There are still glimpses of human life as you explore, however; pencils and other oversized objects stick in the ground like relics of the past.
Rather than present you with stages, Clid the Snail simply lets you loose in the world, with one map connected to another. Going hands-on with the game, we wandered through a wilderness, crossing slap-dash bridges over ravines while dealing with a myriad of slugs who apparently weren’t too keen on seeing us. We encountered hostile bugs, too, and some other animals. But Clid, armed to the teeth with multiple guns, made short work of them all.
Four guns were available to us in the preview. We quickly grew to love the shotgun thanks to its high power and spread, but the basic gun – that never runs out of ammo – also impressed us. Tap the trigger and it fires a burst of energy; hold it down before releasing, however, and you’ll get a much more powerful blast, killing even tough enemies with just one shot. Other weapons in our arsenal included a gun that fired sticky, poisonous globs, and a rapid fire energy gun. More will be available in the final game, too.
With players having to take such things as line of sight and height into accommodation, Weird Beluga posits Clid the Snail as a game in which you have to think about combat strategically. There are other things to consider in the heat of battle, as well, such as the use of your medkits, a variety of grenades, and even your shell. Multiple shells will become available as you make your way through the game, each providing its own benefit. The one we had equipped, for example, allowed us to expel a furious bombardment of projectiles on our enemies when charged – useful when dangerously outnumbered.
Clid the Snail isn’t all about combat though. There’s a nice balance between shooting and nosying around, with chests to be looted, items to be found and other objects in the environment to be interacted with or avoided. In one area, for example, purple contraptions could be shot to turn laser beams on and off, while a rotating laser-spewing turret cased instant death if we didn’t make effective use of cover and our ability to dash or roll.
Our time with the game culminated with a boss battle against a troublesome rodent, who had just burned down a town full of grasshoppers. Equipped with a flamethrower, we had to avoid its fiery blasts by making use of piles of rubble as cover, popping out to unleash our own brand of justice when it was clear. And as the fight progressed, the rodent started to pull out more tricks, unleashing cavalcades of rockets and fiery rings to make the fight even more epic. It was hard-fought, but we won eventually.
Perhaps our only concern with Clid the Snail so far is its voice acting, which is pretty awful. Characters speak in an undecipherable tongue, but the performances are poor and the recordings are low quality. It’s a shame, because otherwise Clid the Snail‘s production values seem rather good for an indie release. The visuals are detailed and are given life with subtle lighting. And the soundtrack, while a little repetitive at times, draws you into the action.
If you’re a fan of adventure games and twin-stick shooters, you’d be wise to keep Clid the Snail on your radar as it approaches release. Being part of the PlayStation Talents program it’s a timed PS4 exclusive, though will release on PC later in the year. And with its snail protagonist and unique world, chances are you’ll have never played anything quite like it.
Clid the Snail launches this summer on PS4, and later in the year on PC.