If this writer is pressed on his favourite game from the Nintendo Switch preview event, it isn't one of the big-hitters. Some of them were grand, for sure, but tucked away in a corner - somewhat unloved in the shadow of the section for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - was Snipperclips - Cut it out, together!. The last game of the session due to time demands, we were told we simply had to try it - that was a great recommendation.
Developed - it seems - in-house by Nintendo [Update: despite simply saying copyright Nintendo on the home page, this appears to be incorrect], it feels like an evolution from the wacky style seen in the Freakyforms releases on 3DS, though the gameplay concept itself is entirely different. Playing with a buddy you each inhabit chunky and cutely animated paper characters, and you can overlap and 'snip' each other. You do this to adjust each other's shapes and capabilities, for example rotating and snipping to create a spade-like shape. All the while the characters make daft faces, scuttle around chaotically on spindly legs, and do everything possible to make you smile.
Your scribe was playing with NL Managing Director Anthony Dickens, and there's a track history of complete failure - as a duo - in co-op games. When trying out Super Mario 3D World in the past, for example, we had more fun throwing each other off stages and fighting over the crown than doing something silly like co-operating. Yet that dynamic worked in Snipperclips, to a degree; in fact, it's a game that can work for anyone.
The demo was presented in the 'tabletop' mode, with both players sitting closely with a Joy-Con apiece, and if one game showcased the simple pleasure of this particular Switch configuration it was this one. The blend of the controllers, console and outrageously quirky characters on screen was a genuinely giddy delight - it was the most 'Nintendo' moment we had in our particular session, arguably.
The puzzles themselves, in what was a demo of around 10 minutes, assigned different tasks. Initially it was all about snipping each other into specific shapes, then standing our characters over outlines for a 'perfect' match. If you mess up, or the wrong snip is made, you can reform with a press of a button, with the character pulling a face as its body pops back out to full mass. After a simple initial stage it taught us to rotate the character's bodies and then snip; next were physics puzzles.
As a duo we had to flip, lift and coax a basketball through a hoop, and then direct a pencil towards a sharpener. By now we'd been shown how to make our characters jump, too, so we naturally started figuring out shapes for lifting objects, and then trying to direct them to their goal. For the basketball one acted as a carrier, taking the ball towards the basket, with the other then jumping to try and flip it to the goal. With the pencil one picked it up after being cut into a makeshift wedge, while the other tried to lift and flip it onto a platform.
Oh, and between rounds we had snip-fights, running into each other and trying to cut away our bodies, like the great teammates we are.
We'll have some impressions on 1-2-Switch with you soon, which has positives and negatives. That game showcases the Joy-Cons, demonstrating all their clever tricks. Yet it's Snipperclips that, for this writer, best communicated the true selling point of Nintendo Switch - the way its play-anywhere setup can enable quick and ridiculously fun play sessions with friends. Sitting within elbowing distance, looking onto the console's screen and co-operating in a somewhat dysfunctional way was true gaming fun - simple, clever, and enjoyable. It's a silly and charming game, demanding teamwork while also utilising its core snip mechanic and physics to allow teams to solve puzzles the 'wrong' way. Our rep seemed both baffled and slightly impressed at our peculiar methods for clearing the stages.
(Cut to 3 hours 42 minutes in the video below if it doesn't do so automatically)
Snipperclips is a game that can work on any console with two controllers, that's undeniable. Yet as a representation of the delights that Nintendo and its hardware can bring, it is a true shining light. There were far higher profile games on show, but it was the download-only Snipperclips that made a real impression on this writer.
Ultimately, it made two 30-somethings giggle like children; it's an absolute hoot.