Snapshot Preview (Vita)

June 6, 2012Written by Nick Michetti

The PlayStation Vita hasn’t seen very many unique or unorthodox titles released for it yet. However, one title has emerged that could be a Vita a sleeper hit, a puzzle game that blends platforming elements with creative solutions. The game is Snapshot, a PlayStation Network title from Retro Affect (also releasing for PS3 & PC). The game stars a robot named Pic who awakens in an abandoned laboratory and begins exploring the forest outside of the laboratory he was created in. Pic uses photography in a new and interesting way that may give the Vita another great puzzle game worth playing.

Snapshot is a 2D puzzle platformer, animated in style. Pic begins investigating his world with nothing more than white chalk-like drawings to guide him. Directions begin simply (how to jump, etc.) and players learning how to navigate the world platformer-wise. Pic goes to the end of a level and collects a glowing object to complete it. He also collects individual stars, too, which have unknown function but appear as frequently as coins in a Mario game. Pic has the same moves as any other platforming mascot: jumping, an edge cling, etc. and all appears normally at first.

Next, the game begins introducing the photography mechanic. Pic needs to procure a means to get past a tall area of a level, but seemingly has no option as to how to proceed. However, these circumstances are where Pic’s magic camera comes in. Pic can take pictures of objects and then bring the picture in the level, followed by the object being integrated into the level. So, in this scenario, Pic needs to take an image of a crate. The outline of the camera’s frame is situated just above Pic. The camera frame can be moved by controlling the right analog stick, moving the frame over the object, and then taking the picture by pressing a shoulder button. Once Pic has the image, he has to insert the image into the environment into the appropriate place, which is accomplished by moving the right analog stick. The image must be moved into an area where it isn’t clipped off or interfering with the environment.

Once the object is in the environment, Pic can then use it. To complete the level, Pic jumps on the box, reaches the upper level and grabs the glowing object. The great part about Snapshot‘s photography mechanic is that, thus far, it seems to be flexible — if the player takes a picture of an object and inserts it into the wrong position, a picture can be taken of it and the picture can be placed anew into the environment. Pic can also have images of multiple objects, an ability that was present in the demo, but had no use in the few early areas of the environments. Pic can also capture the momentum of objects, rotate a photo, and then use the momentum of the objects at the point they were captured in a photograph as well — however, the ability wasn’t present in the demo.

Despite having a fairly brief demo that lasted ten minutes, Snapshot left quite a positive impression and seemed to have quite a bit of potential. The photography mechanic and the possibilities it seems to lend itself to gameplay are very interesting and if Retro Affect can capitalize on that potential, they’ll certainly have a successful sleeper hit title on their hands. When combined with platforming, the game’s possibilities expand even further. Gamers should look forward to exploring those possibilities when Snapshot releases on Vita, PS3, and PC sometime in 2012.