Snood 2: On Vacation is a Bust-A-Move/Puzzle Bobble clone where you have a Snood cannon, and, while on a vacation touring the world, they end up getting stuck in each location they travel to. In order to free them, you need to line up three or more of your \'Snoods\' together to remove them from play. Once all of them in each area are removed from play, you go to the next vacation spot.

What is a Snood?

A Snood is a silly little creature that has one of various shapes that fit into a hexagonal space. On each one you can see a profile of a face in some form. Each type looks different, and they all look pretty silly. They are also not particularly interesting looking: simple, really. They are just different from Bust-A-Move\'s bubbles, so someone who is not familiar with the game play style may not think they are the same basic game.

How does the game play?

There is a field of play for each level of stuck Snoods. Most levels have at least some amount of random snoods on the field, with some levels having them all predetermined. You are given a Snood of random type, and one other one (also random) in reserve. You can switch between them by pressing B, and fire them by pressing A. As you fire them into the other ones, if a combo of three or more Snoods collide, they will all fall together, and also any that are dependent on the position of those other ones. That way, you can make various combos, and sometimes even clear the whole screen in one shot! This game has several game play modes to choose from. The main game is World Tour, which is the closest thing to a story mode in this game. It is here where you unlock up to four other bonus game modes. There is also Classic mode, which is the \'standard\' game play mode where random levels are chosen and you clear one level after another. Puzzle Snood is where there are thirty-two predetermined non-random levels which progressively get harder for you to clear. Journey mode puts you against five random levels each from each difficulty level: Child, Easy, Normal, Hard, and Evil. Armageddon is the \'endless\' play mode, where there is a randomly generated level and instead of the play area getting smaller when the walls cave in after a while, another row of Snoods is generated. The object here is simply to last as long as you can. The unlockable bonus games are probably the most interesting, though they still follow the same theme. Snood Ball is where there is a rotateable ball of Snoods in the center of the screen that you have to try to clear out. If you are slow, more Snoods come out of the center. Snood Sideways is a difficult mode where instead of the Snoods being stuck to the ceiling like normal, they are stuck to the sidewall. This can make for some rather difficult shots. Snood Grab is one of the better types; instead of shooting Snoods that are given to you, you have a grappling hook which you can use to grab existing Snoods to shoot back in different locations. That makes for some interesting strategy. Snood Stack is a type which I have not been able to try yet; according to the manual it is the only mode where the Snood cannon is not in the center, but on the right of the screen. You shoot the left side, and try to clear the vertically stacked pile of Snoods to prevent them from being pushed off the top of the screen.

What are the Graphics like?

The graphics are very simple sprites that could easily have been rendered on a Nintendo Entertainment System. They are really nothing special at all, and do not make much use of the Nintendo DS hardware. On the other hand, this kind of puzzle game does not require much flashy graphics. It does get the job done, just not in a very stylistically pleasing way.

How is the Sound and Music?

The sound effects are basic \'whoosh\' sounds when a Snood is fired, as well as simple celebratory sounds when Snoods are freed or a combo is achieved. Nothing special, just passable. The music is no better. Some of the \'songs\' got on my nerves, but most levels are passable. They are generally very simple FM-synthesis style melodies. If you prefer to listen to something else while you play this game I wouldn\'t blame you.

How appropriate is this game for Christians?

There are no appropriateness issues whatsoever. They simple have backgrounds from various places around the world, like the USA (Mount Rushmore), Egypt (Pyramids & Glyphs), U.K. (Stonehenge), and various other places. There is no violence, or anything else to speak of. Perfect score in this category.

Stability & Polish

There are a lot of rough edges, in particular with the game\'s touch screen mode. Not only is the cannon aim very sensitive (which might be okay), but it does not work properly at all in Snood Grab mode. Furthermore, when you change the options in the options menu, it does not save it for the next time you power up the game. Fortunately, if you don\'t care about touch screen mode, the defaults are otherwise acceptable. It does save what country you got to in World Tour mode, fortunately. The core game play is otherwise stable enough, though they have had a few generations of Game Boy Advance, PC, etc. versions to get that cleaned up. There is a 2-player wireless mode, but each player requires a cartridge. There is little doubt that this game could have easily been a one-cart multiplayer game if the developers wanted it to. Overall, though certainly playable enough, this game reeks of Budgetitus.

Overall & Conclusion

Snood 2: On Vacation is a simple low-budget puzzle title. I would say that it is worth the low price I found it for: $10. I wouldn\'t pay much more than that. If you are looking for a simple puzzle game, in particular one in the spirit of Bust-A-Move (and you don\'t want to pay the full price of the DS\'s native Bust-A-Move), then this will fit the bill just fine.

Appropriateness Score: 50/50 Game Score: Game Play 10/20 Graphics 3/10 Sound/Music 2/10 Stability/Polish 2/5 Controls/Interface 3/5 Game Score Total: 20/50

Overall: 70/100

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