Version Reviewed: 1.03
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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There’s no getting around it. Chillingo’s new physics puzzler Coco Loco, by Australian developers twiitch, is a lot like Angry Birds. Not in the sense that every level-based physics puzzler is derivative of the franchise; I mean my son played through a few levels and exclaimed aloud what I had been thinking: “It’s Angry Birds with Marshmallows!” And for fans of the catapult-style puzzle game that’s not a bad thing. Coco Loco is tasty in its own right, and offers variation on a beloved theme done with charm and just enough strategic differences to keep it from being redundant.
There’s not too much story, certainly no epic trauma, but the object is to save the marshmallows from evil chocolate chips and whatever happens to have them ensnared by hurling various sweets with special powers at the different structures in order to knock them down and set the cast of cleverly designed and collectable mallow-peeps free.
Like Angry Birds, players move through four worlds each with 15 levels that unlock only after successful completion of the previous one. There is the familiar three-star system for perfect solves and coins to collect while candied heroes fly their missions.
Initially the game is all about the cocoa. Billy the Batter knocks a straight marzipan flyer hoping to release the hot chocolate and have it melt away the bad chippies, or have its wave topple over the cages holding the beleaguered sugary puffs. Quickly new treats like explosive gummy bombs, Sumo slammers, even ninjas get into the act. And the levels change too. New diabetic-coma inducing substances like pools of Jello, with different physics, replace or supplement the cocoa.
Once the ninjas get into the act, the pace changes. Trajectories can be adjusted in flight, something new and fun. As the game progresses, players get multiple flyers of different sorts to use, and it's up to gamers to determine which flyers to use in what order. This adds a level of strategy that’s compelling.
The graphics are adorable, bordering on saccharine. Coco Loco has the polish one expects from the brand and the game will surely appeal to young gamers with a sweet tooth for solving. But while the introductory world, Rolling Hills, is easy to blast through, the challenges ramp up quickly in Temple Morning and by Temple Sunset I was stumped. I tremble to think what Cavern World has in store, and if I do master it, there is at least one more environment to conquer coming in a update.
Coco Loco doesn’t reinvent the physics puzzler, but it adds a honeyed style of its own to arguably the most popular genre of game on iOS. It’s only $.99 for a universal build so if you love sweets and solving, try tasting Coco Loco.