Minis Review – Sneezies

July 11, 2010Written by Adam G

Summer has arrived folks and with it brings a raft of seasonal, nose-tickling games for your enjoyment. But there is one rather important question that has so far been left unanswered in gaming. Have you ever wondered, just what exactly rockets out of your nose when a piece of pollen sends your face into an uncontrollable spasm? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think. Fortunately, Sneezies has landed on the minis scene and is eager to provide an answer to this perplexing quandary (in its own, not entirely factual way.)

As it turns out, these bubbles of mucus are unkempt prisons within which furry creatures, known as Sneezies, are in dire need of escape. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration but like most minis, Sneezies is light on the narrative so I’ve had to fill in a lot of the back story for myself — I’m currently working through the character’s motivations. What is certain though is that the Sneezies are trapped and need someone to help set them free.

These creatures aren’t called Sneezies just because they’re unhygienic and frankly, look quite disgusting: there is a logical reason. To free the Sneezies, you have to entice them to sneeze by sprinkling powder in a chosen area. Any trapped Sneezies that drift nearby will sneeze, burst their bubbles and fall to the ground (with the aide of a parachute deployed from the top of their heads: isn’t evolution amazing?) The bursting bubbles will also release its own powder, ending up in a chain reaction of popping bubbles moving across the screen.

This is pretty much the entire game with each level giving you one initial scoop of powder and a target number of freed Sneezies to reach. The game’s 45 levels gradually become more challenging, requiring you to free an increasing proportion of Sneezies on screen. Well, when I say more challenging, I mean you need more luck than the level before, since after that first drop of powder, the path of sneezing bubbles is essentially random. Despite the complete lack of skill needed, there’s something oddly addictive about listening to the sound of the bubbles bursting and watching the the number on the bottom right of the screen increasing towards its target. It provides instant gratification but even for minis, it’s much too simple to ask money for.

If you do manage to make it through ‘classic’ mode’, there are three other game options you can try, although none of them mix up the main formula by any considerable length. Easy mode gives you two scoops of powder instead of one, score mode increases the point value every time a bubble bursts and challenge mode gives you more points when you achieve certain goals such as freeing all of a certain color of creature. There’s nothing here that will keep your interest for any longer than in the main game, so they’re not worth bothering about.

As you would expect, the presentation is bright and cheery: the Sneezies themselves look sickeningly cute and are at home in all manner of placid backdrops. The soundtrack meanwhile is somewhat pleasant, even if it is just a sole guitar or piano put on a five second loop. After a while though, you may be forced to put the game on mute; the constant sound of high pitched sneezing can really get under your skin, that is presuming you haven’t lost interest by then.

Overall, Sneezies is one that I suggest you avoid. It provides a little bit fun while it lasts, but most will find it far too repetitive before the end and with little in the way of other game modes, there’s no reason to come back. Its Peggle-like addictive aspect ultimately isn’t enough to save it from becoming boring very quickly. Call me crazy, but I think there’s something inherently wrong with a game that you can beat without once needing to look at the screen.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Gameplay is basic and completely random

Replayability is limited to slight variations on the same aspect

Colorful presentation may give youngsters some enjoyment.

5 out of 10