It seems like every classic game is starting to get the Battle Royale treatment. First Tetris gets it with Tetris 99, and now the classic Snake game is getting the treatment with Caterpillar Royale. The very concept of Snake is simple, yet fun enough to stand the test of time. So taking its gameplay and putting it in a Battle Royale could work wonders, as other games have clearly shown us. Instead we find out that not every single game needs to hop on the bandwagon.
The goal of the game is simple. You play as a hungry caterpillar that is trying to outgrow its opponents and claim victory in a variety of different events. If you played the original blocky Snake game, then you already know what to expect. The same rules apply here, where if you run into a wall or an opponent you’ll explode and have to start over. The game is balanced in a way that the bigger you get, the harder the game becomes as smaller opponents are much faster and can trap you into running into them. The game does add some extra elements to its gameplay like a boost meter and some item boxes that will give you one of two power-ups.
The main mode of the game is the Mission Mode. Here you will run through a variety of small challenges such as trying to grow a certain size before your opponents or trying to collect a certain amount of diamonds. After you complete every mission once, you unlock the ability to change the rules set for each challenge in the mode. While this sounds nice, your freedom of options is very limited. You can only change the objectives range a very minimal amount, such as growing 5 centimeters taller than the original version or collecting slightly more objects. At best you’ll just be able to extend or shorten the game missions by roughly a minute.
The game also has two other game modes. Mini Soccer mode is just like it sounds: play soccer with your friends. You can only play exactly four players in this mode, so although it’s fun you’ll need some extra Joy-Con controllers to be able to access it. There’s also the obstacle course, which is by far the worst mode in the game. You just run through a very short maze that can roughly be counted as an obstacle course. Beside some easily avoidable walls, there’s not any challenge here whatsoever and it ends up becoming a bland race that almost ends as soon as it begins.
While this game has some fun modes and a neat gimmick, the experience is severely hindered by the lack of online multiplayer. The fun and appeal of Battle Royale is the rush you get from facing off against a hundred players, which won’t be found here. The game does support up to 4 players locally, but that pales in comparison to the true Battle Royale experience. Not to mention that even in the mission modes there are at most around 20 players, which isn’t even close to the magical 100 number most people associate with Battle Royale status. Now, I know that the game is probably not using “Royale” to delineate Battle Royale, but it’s obvious the developers are attempting to cash in on a popular craze.
The lack of online multiplayer might not have been as hindering as it is if the single player content was stronger. The game modes are very limiting, and it hardly lets you have fun with the game’s gimmick. The lack of a game mode that lets you set up a match where you can keep growing and trying to outlive your opponents is by far the most baffling missed opportunity in this game. Obviously setting up a mission mode with very strict rules would take much more effort to make than a free play mode, so why that wasn’t included in this game makes no sense at all.
Several other issues that hinder the experience also plague the game. The generic techno music playing during game modes, lazy UI design, lack of items, and poor gameplay decisions (like limiting how big your caterpillar can grow) are all roadblocks to greatness. There’s no reason at all for this game to be so restrictive that it even limits one of its only redeeming qualities. The lack of freedom given to the player does some serious damage to its lasting appeal. While Caterpillar Royale is relatively cheap on the eShop, it’s not really worth your time with so many other fantastic games to choose from on the Switch.
Final Thoughts: BAD
Caterpillar Royale had amazing potential that was unfortunately squandered. Too many rules and restrictions hinder the player’s freedom and the lack of online multiplayer run counterintuitive to the “Royale” moniker. This game does everything in its power to try and ruin any fun you could seep out of it, and frankly it’s not worth the time it took to download.
Jordan is a gaming fanatic who grew up in a home of shovelware. Years of discounted drivel has molded this man, shaping him into the seeker of quality he is today.