The addition of demi-bosses to defeat and puzzles to decipher presents a new question to the world of Snakelike. What do you get for overcoming such trials? As a snake, you have no experience bar, no stat points to distribute or skills to unlock. So what do you get? The answer to this question is in fact quite simple. You get a bright and shiny treasure chest. This, however poses its own question. What’s in the chest? Carefully navigating a twisting labyrinth of one-way doors and color-coded switches, only to find an apple at the end would be a bit of a let down. And no matter how many Armors or Spikers we stuff in there, it wouldn’t feel a fit reward to an epic showdown with a cave-dwelling octopod.
Luckily, video games have provided a model for just this sort of reward in the form of magic items and special power-ups.
From temporary pick-ups that increase your combat effectiveness to weapons with cumbersome names like, “Kieth’s Fabricated Sword of Defenestration,” special items help to celebrate your triumphs as well prepare you for your next encounter.
In addition to making you more powerful, rare items can give the player a sense of progression. In many MMOs we’re met with this familiar loop: defeat enemies, get better equipment, defeat even harder enemies, get even better equipment. Often, rare equipment is as much about the experience of obtaining it as it is about actually using it.
In some games these special items change the way you play. In Bomberman, picking up a Bomb Kick item allows you to alter your foes’ carefully laid plans, giving you both a means of escape and a powerful offensive tool (or if you’re like me, a new way to accidentally kill yourself).
When exploring how to integrate these concepts into Snakelike, we tried to emphasize the excitement factor of special items, while preserving the simplicity of the game’s mechanics. In the end we came up with Snake Accessories, or Snakecessories. They work a lot like Armor or Spikers. Each segment can equip only one accessory. When you pick one up, it automatically gets equipped to the segment closest to your head that doesn’t already have an accessory.
If a segment with an accessory gets destroyed or turned to stone, the accessory survives, either falling off or remaining on the stone segment, allowing you to reequip it over and over again. Though your length could diminish in the blink of a Popper Bob, these special accessories can travel with you to the depths of the cave, giving you a semi-permanent upgrade.
One accessory you’ll be able to pick up during your adventure is The Shield Generator. When a segment equipped with The Shield Generator is attacked, it absorbs the attack, leaving the segment unharmed. This allows for some clever tricks, like taking a direct hit from a charging Bollgrr. However, after absorbing an attack, it takes a few turns for it to generate a new shield, so be sure to plan ahead.
We have a lot of other accessories in the works. Some affect only the segment to which they’re attached, like The Shield Generator. Others change how you interact with the world as a whole, such as adding a special effect to your attacks or by providing information about monsters in the surrounding area. We want each accessory to look and feel unique. Most importantly we want obtaining them to feel exciting and powerful, so that when you spot The Octobo minding his business in some corner of the cave, you rush into battle, not for the glory, but for the chance to Snakecessorize.