Somehow Snipperclips keeps getting overlooked. We’re guilty of it, too: the Snipperclips Plus/i> DLC came out a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, and we’re just now writing about it in the barren depths of another unwelcome January. It’s a good game for the season, a two player number that will keep you from being alone during this coldest and loneliest of months, and Plus is an almost too generous addition to the original, introducing 30 new levels, a new mode that lets you make art, and a few new head-to-head minigames.
Until the last decade this would’ve been a free-standing sequel. It’s the kind of progression you’d expect from a full follow-up more than a ten dollar update. (And indeed, you can buy the full package, both the base game and the DLC, for $30.) It takes the original puzzle game that was a stealth favorite at the Switch’s launch and extrapolates on its core concepts, retroactively making the original feel like a glorified proof of concept for this new fully realized and well-rounded whole. That’s what sequels used to do in this industry—the journey from Metroid to Super Metroid, or from World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. to Bowser’s final plunge at the end of Super Mario Bros. 3, is a story not just of iteration and improving technology but of the deepening experience and ambitions of the artists that created it. That same type of growth is visible within this DLC.
Nintendo was slow to embrace downloadable content, much as it was slow to embrace almost anything involving the internet. It didn’t really catch up to the trend until 2012, with a variety of paid DLC being released throughout the short lifespan of the Wii U. In a 2012 interview with Kotaku, former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata discussed a DLC strategy built on original content created after a game’s release “Our goal is to create DLC in such a way that consumers do not feel that they have been cheated or deceived,” the late Iwata told Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo. That philosophy is evident with Snipperclips Plus—this is no hastily assembled cash-in, and neither is it content designed alongside the game and then gated off until a later release date and additional purchase.
This successful embrace of a DLC plan that tries to have some semblance of a conscience shows how Nintendo has been able to adapt to industry changes that it previously steered clear from. The Wii U was a commercial failure, but it saw Nintendo’s first legitimate attempt at the kind of online architecture that PlayStation and Xbox players have taken for granted since the mid ‘00s. It’s where Iwata’s DLC strategy was first put into place. The Wii U might have crashed in a quick and ugly fashion, but the massively popular Switch and releases like Cut It Out, Together prove that Nintendo is heeding the lessons it learned from that failure, sticking to what worked with the Wii U while fixing what didn’t.
You don’t need to know any of that to enjoy Snipperclips Plus, though. You just need a Switch, the game and the desire to paper craft your way through dozens of puzzles. And, preferably, a friend to share it all with.
Garrett Martin edits Paste’s comedy and games sections. He’s on Twitter @grmartin.