Snail Bob is the star of a series of free-to-play online games and can currently be seen in Snail Bob 8: Island Story, a low-key, entertaining platform and puzzle game. The game can be played in a small window or full screen. The graphics are colorful and cartoonish in a style that is completely appropriate for the concept and characters in the game. Each level of the game, at least in the early stages, is fully contained on the visible screen – no side-scrolling. The player knows exactly what must be accomplished to progress to the next level.
The goal is to maneuver Snail Bob along a platform and through a series of obstacles in order to reach the next level. There are several types of obstacles and each requires the use of a different mechanism; it is not always obvious what the trigger is or how it must be used – hence the puzzle component.
Some kind of platform appears in each level and it must be raised, lowered or moved left and right for Snail Bob to travel over. The trigger that moves the platform must be activated at the right moment, or Bob will fall. Some obstacles, such as tree stumps or falling projectiles, must be cleared away by shooting them with a cannon-like gun. Jungle beasts chase Snail Bob across the screen with spears or lurk in bushes ready to pounce.
Snail Bob himself has limited defenses. He can stop moving and curl up into his shell, can reverse direction, and can speed up a little – he is, after all, a snail. At least in the early levels, Bob cannot attack his pursuers; he can only strategically keep moving and avoid destruction.
The controls are very simple, mostly accomplished by mouse clicks. There are 30 levels of game play, each increasingly challenging, for the player to safely shepherd Snail Bob through. In addition, the player collects stars on each screen. The stars are not always clearly visible, and finding them adds to the game interest. Completed levels can be replayed, but cannot be skipped. The player must get Bob through all 30 levels.
The Snail Bob series is for the casual player, not die-hard gamers, and is suitable for all ages. Number 8 is fun, humorous and far more involving and complex than many free-to-play games. For a snail, Bob is very appealing and the puzzles are sufficiently difficult to keep the player engaged.