Every once in a while, a game is announced that sounds so ridiculous that it has to be fun. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for Clid the Snail. The interesting concept behind Weird Beluga’s new title is lost in its slow shooting, overly difficult gameplay and muted environments.
Clid the Snail is about a grumpy anthropomorphic snail, kicked out from his home, doing his best to survive the plague of slugs. Clid plays as a twin-stick shooter with a variety of weapons and shells to use on your journey. Eventually you’ll even join up with a group of other outcasts. There’s some truly interesting characters among the group, but they overshadow every other NPC in the game, making them dull and unmemorable by comparison. However, this group is one of the few positive aspects of the game. Clid has some genuinely funny interactions with these outcasts. It’s a shame that most of their interactions happen in between missions.
While most twin-stick shooters more at a relatively fast pace, Clid the Snail plays… at a snail’s pace, with movement that’s slow and sluggish. Clid has a low amount of stamina, only letting you run briefly before running out. You’ll also use stamina in order to dodge, but it rarely feels worthwhile. The dodge is short, clumsy, and most importantly lacks invincibility frames, meaning you can still get hit during it. Unlike most games where dodging gets you out of danger, Clid’s dodge gets you killed instead.
The guns don’t help things either, seemingly sticking to the slow action of the game. Most guns fire slowly and feel clunky to use, the worst being Clid’s base gun. It’s the only weapon that doesn’t use ammo, so you’ll be using it extensively. While the gun already feels awful to use, the biggest drawback is that it’s a charge weapon. This means you’ll constantly be charging it in order to make it somewhat effective. Even worse, the gun has an incredibly annoying sound effect while charging.
These clunky weapons add to the already punishing difficulty of Clid the Snail. Things start out relatively easy, but around the time you hit your first boss, the difficulty ramps up exponentially. The enemies become more numerous, they start doing more damage, they gain ranged units, there’s even more enemies. I cannot emphasize enough the amount of enemies the game throws at you. There are times when you’ll have to deal with waves upon waves of enemies, and death means you have to start the whole encounter over. There are even some bosses that are simply waves of enemies with a health bar at the bottom.
Do you remember what I said about the invincibility frames? Well that applies to taking damage as well. When you take damage, there’s no second or half second of immunity. If three enemies all hit you at the same time, you’ll take all the damage at once, which usually results in an instant death. This combined with the massive amount of enemies rushing at you, and the fact that you can’t roll through enemies means that you will get stuck in crowds of enemies and die… a lot. Another aspect adding to the difficulty is the limited quantity of health packs. You can only purchase them at shops, and some levels only have a single shop in them. This results in many levels where I would use all of the health packs in the first few minutes and not have any for the rest of the level.
The levels themselves are interesting, but their color palette makes them hard to enjoy. The environment is full of recognizable objects from a lost human world. Seeing a giant pencil in the background or headphones repurposed as speakers always gave me a little smile. But walking through levels could sometimes hurt my eyes. Each area contains similar enough colors that everything tends to blend together into one hard to look at mess. To make it worse, the enemies tend to match the color of the setting. When not moving, they’re indistinguishable from environmental pieces. So once you add the enemies and particle effects in, the screen can become an absolute mess, once again making things more difficult than they already were.
Clid the Snail has an interesting concept, and that’s a fact. I don’t think there will ever be another game where you play as an anthropomorphic gun toting snail in a post-apocalyptic world. However, the poor, overly difficult combat and the muted environments keep Clid from achieving anything notable. Even hardcore fans of twin-stick shooters would be better off passing on this title.
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