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March 2021

Temple of Snek

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Puzzle
Release Date: 2021


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PC Preview - 'Temple of Snek'

by Cody Medellin on Nov. 13, 2020 @ 12:30 a.m. PST

A snaky tile-based puzzle dungeon adventure. Defend the temple, monch the infidels, and grow and grow and grow ...

When you see a meme-like title such as Temple of Snek, you expect it to rely heavily on the joke factor but quickly fall apart in just about every other aspect, from the presentation to the gameplay. Our time with the pre-alpha demo shows us that Temple of Snek is deceptively clever.

The story is told without words but remains easy to comprehend. Deep in the jungle lies the temple of the goddess Snek. When grave robbers loot the temple of its treasures, the priestesses sound the mighty gong, and the goddess, having taken the form of a giant snake, awakens to protect the temple by eating every treasure hunter in sight while also taking care to avoid the temple traps.

If you're familiar with the classic game of Snake, then you already know some of the core rules of this title. Snek will always move forward, so you're only responsible for guiding her in the cardinal directions (left, up, right, down). Collisions with the wall or herself will result in Snek dying. Snek starts off at a decent size, but eating food — the grave robbers, in this case — will cause her to grow at the rate of one tile segment per consumed person.

There is one major difference to the formula, and that has to do with Snek's movement speed. Instead of smoothly moving around the level like other snakes, Snek moves at a precise rhythm of one tile per beat. As far as the demo is concerned, this doesn't translate into the title being governed like a rhythm game, where your movement can speed up or slow down depending on the song. It is consistent, and you have some breathing room to think about the next move, but it still requires you to act in a timely manner to avoid collision, so it's a much calmer experience than the traditional game.

You'll be thankful for the consistent movement speed, since the game provides enough of a challenge. Temple of Snek features spike traps that can be activated or deactivated with the press of a button. Then there are the doors, which are controlled by switches. Switches can be activated by hitting them simultaneously, and some gaps are initially too large to cross; both of these situations necessitate Snek's growth, and while it's easy to eat grave robbers, they have a tendency to hit switches on their own, and they're eager to sever your body if they linger nearby for too long.

It doesn't take long for all of this to ramp up and turn puzzles into multi-room affairs where you'll enter a room to see that it can't be solved just yet. This then forces you to find another route to locate people to eat, so you can double back to finally hit the switches or cross the gap so you can move forward and solve another puzzle in a similar fashion. While the level of deviousness appears quickly, Temple of Snek is kind in that your lives are infinite, and the generous checkpoint system means being able to immediately restart that troublesome puzzle without having to replay past sections to get there.

While the full game is expected to feature many more levels to tease your brain, two features might be of interest to more creative minds. First, the game is planning to let players create their own snake skin, so Snek isn't so green. Second, there's also the promise of a level editor with sharing ability, so the game is bound to have much longer replay value once the community gets involved. For those craving something more traditional, classic Snake is also planned, which is great for letting players take a break from being stumped by the puzzles.

As said in the beginning of the preview, Temple of Snek is deceptively clever so far. The game is darkly humorous at times, but the puzzles are well thought out, and the immediate replay and checkpoint systems are a blessing for those who will likely die over and over again just to get one room right. With the demo featuring possibly some of the easier puzzles, it'll be interesting to see how many brainteasers the full game will contain. We'll have to wait a bit to see, since the game isn't planned to hit Steam Early Access until 2021.

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