Like a store-bought apple pie, Cocoto Kart imitates one of life’s great pleasures from a technical perspective but lacks the soul of the real thing. In this case, Mario Kart is to Cocoto Kart as your grandmother’s apple pie is to that of Albertson’s.
Cocoto Kart Online doesn’t do much wrong, and in fact it is a pretty solid game. Outside of the controls being a little unresponsive at times along with some truly annoying characters, Cocoto manages to retain much of the appeal of a Mario Kart title. Players can choose to play in a Grand Prix or do quick races across five colorful tracks. An online mode is available, but to be honest I was not able to get this mode to function properly. This could either mean that nobody is playing, or that my device was just having troubles connecting to the servers. Feature for feature, this game mimics Mario Kart, even the majority of the in-game items and power ups are simply palette swaps from MK with identical functionality. To put it simply, you can get red shells, mushrooms and bananas except they are lava balls, air rings and worms. New characters are available for unlock, and there are even multiple karts per racer.
Despite all of these features it is hard to reconcile just how much Cocoto mimics Mario. Each aspect it takes is slightly worse than its Nintendo counterpart if not completely terrible in the case of the characters. Earlier this year I reviewed a game titled Blades of Fury, a SoulCalibur ripoff. I really enjoyed that game and found that it even improved in some very small ways on what I had come to expect of a SoulCalibur title. This is where I reach a sticking point with Cocoto Kart. Blades of Fury brought an intuitive fighting control system to a platform that needed it. Cocoto Kart brings nothing new, and does nothing worth rewarding. I have a hard time praising a game that is ultimately a shadow of what it strives to be.
I took real issue with the “feel” of the racing, which somehow did not control quite as well as I would have hoped. The fact that there is an “autogas” option without the option to brake means that the game should be balanced to accommodate those who play without slowing but most maps contain areas where slowing down is helpful if not needed for success. At the same time, playing without autogas means I have a hard time controlling the actual movement of the kart. I also found that the tilt control options require one to tilt the device at far too steep an angle to be effective.
Characters in this game are flat out horrific. The main character, the face of the game itself, looks to be some sort of demon. Rounding out the pantheon of other playable characters we have a contorted walrus, a Zombie, an ill baby dinosaur, what looks to be a parrot, and a host of things that look like they belong to the same species as the main character. This is before the unlocks, but who am I to spoil the joy of discovering new characters?
The two things that I found commendable about Cocoto Kart, that is to say they were decent, are the music and graphics. Courses are colorful, and have a clean look to them. The music, especially on the lava stage, was overall a pleasure to listen to while playing through the races.
I can’t in good conscience say that Cocoto Kart is a complete failure, but I can definitively say that the game is a wholesale thievery of everything Mario Kart that adds nothing to the genre. Some pretty graphics and music are dragged down by iffy controls, some rubber banding AI (hey it did copy Mario Kart) and repulsive characters that yell at the player in voices that make Banjo sound sane. But hey, I can’t stop you from downloading the lite version. I will however; put my foot down when it comes to the $2.99 paid version.