I got angry at some birds, so I sipped some “coco” with marshmallows. Much happier now.
I have never been a fan of the insanely popular Angry Birds series. I can’t put my finger on one single thing that annoys me about the games, but I don’t like them. I had the original Angry Birds installed for just a couple weeks, and during that time I was consequently a lot more angry while playing the game than I was entertained. This pre-conceived crappy attitude is what surprised me most about my utter elation with Coco Loco, the latest “3-star physics puzzle” title from Chillingo.
The plot doesn’t really matter in these types of games, but I suppose it does set the stage for some sweet gameplay, so I’ll oblige you. The race of marshmallow people, or “Marshies”, get great pleasure from bathing in hot chocolate. It’s an odd idea to me, considering marshmallows tend to die a slow, painful, melty death in any sort of hot liquid, but I’m not one to comment on the storyline’s validity. These Marshies set off to find the “El Dorado” of chocolately-bathing goodness. When they find it, they run into the Cocoa Bean Guardians, who don’t care to have the Marshies splashing around in their chocolate, their little mallow willies tainting their otherwise-pure chocolate springs. Makes sense to me! In retaliation, the Cocoa Guardians kidnap the Marshies, and it’s up to you to “save” them by destroying/flooding/melting the Cocoa Guardians’ structures.
The gameplay in Coco Loco follows the tried and true Angry Birds routine, with a bat-toting Marshie in place of a slingshot. There are a variety of different Marshies at your disposal to solve each of the 60 puzzles featured in the game. There’s the standard exploding and diving marshies, but by far the most interesting is the Jello Marshie. This is a small red gelatinous cube that expands when tapped. These guys are cleverly used in various levels to fill cracks or redirect chocolate flows – and boy does that chocolate flow! The liquid physics for the chocolate in Coco Loco are incredible – some of the best I’ve seen on the platform. The way the hot chocolate moves and shimmers is almost hypnotic. The patches of Jello globs in the game are equally as impressive, as explosions will turn the red gel into liquid goo at a moment’s notice. There are other puzzle aspects introduced later in the game, such as steam, and all of them look and behave as well as the last.
My only complaint with Coco Loco is the lack of much difficulty in the current set of levels. Only a few of them actually made me think for more than a few seconds. While getting 3-star ratings on every level will certainly prove more difficult than simply getting past a level, I found that I completed all the levels much more quickly that I expected. Granted, this says something about how fun the game is, as I plowed through all the levels in one sitting, enjoying myself to the very end of the game. I would imagine that, like many puzzle games of this nature, Chillingo will be releasing new level packs in the future. I’m already craving new levels, and the game has been out for just a few days. Bravo.
Coco Loco may have fallen to the wayside as another Angry Birds clone if it weren’t for the obvious love and polish that went into practically every aspect of the game. The graphics absolutely pop on the iPad (the game is universal, so it works on the iPod and iPhone as well), and the liquid and gel physics behave exactly as one would expect. Some of the more complicated levels are extremely rewarding to complete, while some of the easier levels are just as fun, with their giant gelatin explosions and massive chocolate floods. Coco Loco is an unexpected treat in the tired genre of 3-star physics puzzle clones on the App Store, and proves that with enough innovation, charm, and polish, any genre of game can be made fresh and fun again.