Clid the Snail, a bizarre twin-stick shooter by the appropriately named developer Weird Beluga, makes a promising first impression with its odd setting and anthropomorphic character design. But it doesn’t take long for it to fall woefully short of its potential. Repetitive level design, muddy graphics, and arduously boring enemy encounters make the choice of a snail as the main character a little bit on the nose when it comes to the pace of the action.
The eponymous Clid is an ornery, cynical snail who loves to drink and tinker with weapons. The latter gets him kicked out of his settlement and sent into a blasted, post-apocalyptic world full of mutants and monsters who’ve used the discarded scraps of the old human world to create a newer, smaller one. Conceptually, this micro post-human world is an interesting place. Villages and outposts use discarded computer parts as building materials and CD’s as furniture. Every so often you’ll pass a human skull in the wild and someone will remark about the old Giants that used to roam this world.
Clid the Snail Preview Screenshots
The visuals often hamper themselves, though. Lighting is dark, each of the handful of locations all look like they’re in the same range of colors regardless if it’s a snowy mountain or an arid desert. A bloom-like effect lingers over everything, too, further muddying all of the environments. The little details of the slapdash constructs in the world get lost in this unfortunate effect. It’s hard to appreciate any small ornamentation when your point of view looks like a snail crawled over your camera lens.
The story of this wandering rogue, the group of outcasts he meets, and their shared interest in saving their tiny world and making money doing so is predictable, but enjoyable. The writing is solid, with some clever quips here and there, but the Simlish-style gibberish voice acting doesn’t do the story justice. There is also a lot of expository monologuing to fill us in on past events that feel inessential to what’s happening in the present. Meanwhile, the characters in your ragtag group are all tropey yet enjoyable, well-written creatures that make all the other NPCs you meet feel shallow by comparison.
Besides sightseeing, you’ll spend a lot of time shooting your way through each stage in order to push back a plague that turned the local slug population into violent, berserk monsters. Clid’s arsenal is varied, with weapons like a flamethrower, lighting gun, and a shotgun at your disposal… but the problem is that aside from the shotgun and a few others, many of these weapons don’t feel very powerful. I almost never used anything but the main blaster’s charged shot because it often felt like the most efficient tool for nearly every job.
Enemies are very dumb, often just sprinting at you in a straight line, ripe for the shooting. Occasionally, an enemy arrives that forces you to think outside of the box, like big slug gladiators with tower shields that can’t be destroyed simply shooting at them, but that only pushed me as far as Clid’s secondary arsenal of grenades and mines. Outside of the more elaborate boss fights, the majority of the enemies in Clid the Snail are just various forms of melee goon that could never overcome the simple technique of being kited across the map and blasted one by one.
Level design and enemy encounters are largely repetitive over the five-hour journey. Most stages have a linear path to travel with the occasional branch to find weapon upgrades and the like, but they always culminate with Clid exterminating the slug menace in the local “lair,” a hive where waves of enemies spawn to stop you from destroying the core. These sections go on far too long, and there are no checkpoints during them, so if you die you have to start from the beginning. This horde-wave scenario finds its way into other non-lair portions as well, and it never feels fun or welcome.