Coco Loco Whips Up One Sweet Physics-based World

Posted: March 8, 2012 in Physics

Physics-based games have become a staple of the iTunes store.  Testing our ability to think logically and plan ahead, they are a fun way to keep your mind sharp.  Angry Birds in its many iterations really helped the genre gain popularity with the masses.  It’s safe to say that a worthy competitor has arrived with Twiitch’s Coco Loco, a wacky and humorous game that in some ways leaves the flock behind.  Featuring a potpourri of chocolate villains and a crazy cast of eccentrically sweet heroes, Coco Loco is an addictive adventure not only satisfies the sweet tooth of fans of the genre, but should draw more in with its epic hilarity.

Coco Loco’s publisher Chillingo seemingly has a propensity to release at least one physics-based game each week.  It would be a mistake to consider Coco Loco just another one of those games.  The amusing storyline takes place in the Land of Chocolate where some Marshmallows have gone in search of, you guessed it, hot chocolate.  They manage to find this chocolate dreamland but then become imprisoned by Coco Bean Guardians and are forced to dress as celebrities.  Yes, it’s quite the brutal punishment, but of course, all is not lost as a rag tag group of candy heroes comes to the rescue.

This little world is not only ridiculously funny, but it’s actually a neat one that allows players to experiment in many different ways.  Currently, Coco Loco has 4 chapters—Rolling Hills, Temple Morning, Temple Sunset, Cavern World—each with 15 progressively difficult levels.  Players can earn up to 3 stars per level based on the many of the “tools” are used to free your marshmallow comrades.

I’ve never played a game where it was just as enjoyable to fail as it was to succeed.  The scenarios the devs created are just plain fun to observe.  The Marshmallows in distress are typically housed in structures with explosives, cement, rocks, and of course, the Coco Bean Guardians.  But Coco Loco goes one step further in building a personality-laden world.  What you also come across are worlds full of jelly, hot chocolate, wind tunnels, and geysers.  While this all sounds crazy, it makes for a fun yet challenging experience.

The heroes in Coco Loco resemble a Swiss Miss version of the X-Men because they each have special and very unique powers.  Fortunately, there’s an almanac that keeps track of heroes as you unlock them through the levels.  These heroes have names such as Marty Marzipan, Billy Batter, Jelly Gumble, Neapolitan Dynamite, Sammy Sumo, Donutella, Corporal Clinker, and not to be forgotten Marsha Marsha Marsha.  That’s only a partial list, but the powers are all that matter.

Creatively speaking, the powers of some of these marshmallow gang members are wonderful.  Jelly Gumble can expand into a giant blob while Sammy Sumo can instantly slam into anything once activated.  Then there’s Neapolitan Dynamite with an explosive short fuse that packs quite the bang.  Donutella is the ninja of the group who has a sharp personality that cuts like butter.  If anything, this should give you an idea of what’s in store.

Get this…launching these heroes is done with a baseball bat of all things.  The controls involve simply dragging Billy Batter back, aiming with the arrow and then releasing.  And in most cases, tapping the hero, for example Jelly Gumble, will activate the special power which in Jelly’s case, transforms him into a giant goo.

Players can also pinch to zoom in and out and drag to pan the screen.  The graphics and animation are terrific and run smoothly on an iPad, and the whimsical soundtrack will have you humming long after you’re done destroying the chocolate villains.

Coco Loco offers plenty of challenges that will have you scratching your head and laughing at the same time.  Early on, you’ll need to plan for how to deal not only with wind currents and explosions, but also chocolate currents and jelly flow among other things.  The liquid physics are one of the biggest strengths, and you’ll spend part of the time dealing with hot chocolate breaches or managing jelly slides.

An additional challenge is collecting gold coins within each level which adds some replay value in terms of maximizing your high score.  Another weird, yet noteworthy addition is what I call Coco Loco’s nuclear option known happily as Fluffy, a rambunctious bull terrier. If you have trouble solving a puzzle, activating Fluffy will set him off on a playful rampage destroying everything in sight while setting the Marshmallow captives free.  Fortunately, this is the only part of Coco Loco that involves IAP.

GameCenter support currently provides 27 achievements from the basics such as high score and collecting coins to wacky milestones such as direct or awkward hits involving specific heroes.

The only shortcoming with Coco Loco is you may find yourself out of levels (even though there are 60 of them) and waiting for more in future updates.  It’s an addictive adventure that will leave you wanting for more.

Coco Loco is a fantastic physics-based game complete with a wacky storyline, quirky characters and wonderfully challenging scenarios.  If you’ve never been a fan of this genre, Coco Loco may just change your mind.  For the rest of us, this one is a keeper.

Albie Meter: 5 Stars (wacky world with equally quirky characters make this top notch; challenging levels should keep you engaged; great overall presentation, smooth controls with addictive gameplay; GameCenter support)


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