Die, mother-slugger, die!
Nobody likes slugs. I’ve committed my fair share of slug murder in life and, I’m ashamed to say, I used to take a grotesque pleasure in pouring salt on the blighters and watching them shrivel up and become a snack-to-go for the local birds.
It’s been a long time since my troubled teenage years of slug genocide but Clid The Snail has put me back into the fray, but at least the reason this time around is a good one. Slugs are bad, snails are good. Most animals are good, but some are bad. I can get behind that a lot more than “it’s Saturday, my friends are on holiday, I’m going into the garden to make an animal suffer.” Sorry, PETA. I’ve changed, I promise. Besides, these are digital slugs. They’re not real.
Release Date: August 31st, 2021
Developer: Weird Beluga Studio
Publisher: Koch Media, Gamera Nest
Availability: PSN (Digital)
Clid The Snail is a game about a snail named… Clid. Duh. He’s a reckless boozer and after being kicked out of the snail citadel for being an asshat, he’s left alone to wander the world that The Giants (humans) have left to the little anthropomorphic animals.
After salting a dozen slugs with his pulse laser, Clid faces his first real test – a psycho mouse with a flamethrower. After a long and drawn-out battle (over several attempts…) Clid wastes the mental mouse and gets introduced to the Animal Avengers. They’re not really the Avengers, obviously, but they’re a crack group of furry (and spiky) heroes. With nowhere else to turn, Clid joins the group and starts righting his life’s wrongs.
Played from a top-down perspective, Clid The Snail is part twin-stick shooter, part puzzle game. It’s tough as nails, too, and I had to keep reminding myself that the site doesn’t pay me enough to get through new DualSense controller’s every time a game gets hard. And it is at times very hard.
Clid has a small arsenal of deadly weapons to fend off the beasties. He’s got his pulse laser gun, a puke grenade launcher (yuck…) and more. Despite having so many guns, I found myself feeling underpowered and against the odds on more than one occasion.
An early stand-off had me guiding Clid to protecting the rabbit citadel from an invasion. Stangely, the rabbits were only a touch bigger than Clid, who despite having walky-walky legs, was still about the same size as you’d expect a snail to be. The sizing of all of the characters is a bit whack, actually. But it’s not a big deal.
The invasion took me over an hour to finish and I cheesed it hard. The relentless enemies smashed their way through the barricade so many times, I wondered if I was supposed to do something else. Was there a switch nearby? An ally to let loose? An army waiting for my signal? No. Just sweaty palms, lots of swearing, and more luck than I deserve.
Generally, the combat is good, though, and it’s mostly fair. Ammo is plentiful and there’s always the trader willing to part with some bullets and bombs for a few pennies. The weapons are fun to switch around and figure out which are best for different situations.
But those moments where my back was against the wall and my DualSense was in danger of being a fixture on my wall, I wanted to go out to the garden with the salt shaker and get me mine. I didn’t, don’t worry, PETA. I’ll leave the snail munching to the French.
Clid The Snail’s puzzle gameplay is the stronger half of the game, for sure. Using Clid’s laser gun to hit crystals – and sometimes in quick succession with the accuracy of Hawkeye on meth – was fun and it gave me time to think and explore the miniature world that the humans have either left or lost.
It’s a detailed world, too, and it opens up to give more insight but also more questions. I love me a mystery and I’d love to see it pushed further, though with a few refinements.
One of the more annoying aspects of Clid’s journey from drunken zero to drunken hero is the lack of guidance. I don’t need a great big Crazy Taxi-style arrow to tell me where to go, but a simple map to show me where I’ve already explored and where else needs my attention would have been appreciated.
Instead, the game goes with the old-school cutaway to show you the path you need to take before pulling the camera back to Clid. That’s all good and well but there are collectables to, er, collect, and branching paths to explore. Once I’ve taken a turn off-route, you can bet I’m forgetting the normal path. I’m 31. Age hurts the back, knees, and the brain.
Even though I spent a lot of time cursing Clid and the murderous slugs, moles, scorpions – you name it, I cursed it – I can’t help but feel a little attached to the hero in a crunchy shell. I was invested in his story from the start to the end, and having some upgrades along the way helped build that connection. Not to the point that I’ll go on Etsy to search out some homemade Clid The Snail merch, but enough that I’ll call dibs on review duties if Clid manages to bag himself a sequel.
Clid The Snail PS4, PS5 Review
A running and gunning snail is an unusual premise for an action-puzzle game, but it’s not as silly as it sounds. There are some moments of brilliance that raise it above your standard indie twin-stick shooter and it’s easy to get lost in the miniature world.
The difficulty can be punishing, though, and without much by way of guidance, frustration sets in as the adventure often crawls to… a snail’s pace.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game that was provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Primary version tested: PS4. Reviewed using PS5.