Over the past few years, puzzle-platformers have become a subset of the traditional platforming genre. The genre stretches from games like Braid to Portal, crossing from 2D to 3D and everything in between. At this year’s PAX East, the Indie Mega Booth was arguably the place to see some of the best, quirkiest, most unique games of the show, a few of which could be neatly classified within this play type.
One of the games at the booth, RetroAffect’s Snapshot, takes the genre and utilizes a novel way to resolve puzzles within it that mixes art & physics: photography.
The main hook of the game is the ability to snap a quick photograph of an area on the screen, dropping the photograph elsewhere within the level to solve a puzzle. Photographs can be taken of objects, platforms, backdrops, and even enemies to be used very nearly however we please.
My time with the demo on the show floor revolved around playing with the photography, snapping photos of nearly everything I came across. The photos are stored in a stack, and can be cycle through to find the one that best solves our puzzle. One of the first puzzles I came across was a spiked pit that, once I took a photograph of a bridge on another portion of the screen, could be crossed without injury.
The photographs can be rotated on the screen to find the right fit before being laid down permanently, leading to some neat physics-based solutions. For example, one of the next puzzles I came across required me to snap a photo of a falling box, rotate and drop it in place, and ride the box upward or across to another platform as it “fell”.
The visuals of the game looked heavily inspired by classic 16-bit 2D games, with hand-drawn art and colorful sprites throughout. Everything had the feel of a great SNES game, right down to the poppy, catchy music. Combined with the simple mechanic and precise controls, it comes off as being one of the more enjoyable puzzlers, and one that may be well worth diving in further when it launches later this year.