Video games as a medium differ from other forms of entertainment primarily in the ability to interact with what is being depicted. Even in extremely linear games we often find a high level of interactivity. Uncharted is based heavily on adventure blockbusters and has tube-like level passages, but allows different inputs and approaches within these zones. Adventure games require little input, but force us to interact with the game world in a cognitive way and present us with puzzles where we have to apply knowledge about the universe presented in order to progress. Especially in games with supposedly minimal gameplay, derogatorily referred to as walking simulators, the question always arises as to whether this is still the same medium and whether the term game still applies if our interaction is limited to a virtual one to wander through space, or we are dealing with something else here.
The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo (buy now €34.99) is at first glance much closer to a classic video game than, for example, Firewatch or Dear Esther. It is a 2D adventure with an outstanding art style that combines partly real backgrounds and cartoon animation.
Also interesting: Top 10: The currently best adventure and puzzle games
We play the title hero, Mr. Coo, a small yellow creature whose simple appearance is somewhat reminiscent of the HB man or the main character of the La Linea series. The game world, however, is anything but simple. All sorts of bizarre creatures cavort in front of detailed backdrops, the design of which brings to mind Bill Plympton’s animations or surreal animated films such as “The Wild Planet” that are only partially suitable for children.
The framework, in the course of which Mr. Coo is chopped into three parts, which then have to be put back together, brings back memories of Disney’s musical film Fantasia. The characters don’t speak; gestures, facial expressions and the soundtrack take over the entire storytelling.
Source: Meridiem Games Mr. Coo is controlled exclusively with the mouse. Instead of moving freely, we can only click on a few points to carry out actions. In order to progress, we have to solve small puzzles, as is usual in the genre. But they actually just consist of clicking on things one after the other in the correct order in order to trigger the correct sequence of actions.
The puzzles aren’t really challenging, but they’re not clear either due to the surreal nature of the game. In addition, it can quickly become frustrating to have to start the chain of actions over and over again if we mess up a step by making the wrong click.
There were even a few times where an inappropriate action caused the game to softlock and had to reload. For example, an important object was suddenly no longer clickable. Luckily, the autosave points are generously distributed.
Fresh from Gamescom: Indie Games: You shouldn’t miss these highlights!
Who has turned the clock?
If we get stuck at some point, we have a book with “tips” that shows us the solution step by step. If you don’t feel like puzzling for a long time or are stuck in one place and suspect that you have encountered a bug, you can simply see what needs to be done in order to quickly get to the next part of the game.
Regardless of whether you use this function or not: After about two hours of playing time, the end credits of The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo are already rolling. With help you can probably finish the game even much faster. What feels like the end of a first act turns out to be the game’s finale and all we have left is to start over.
If we have already completed the game once, sheets of paper with drawings are hidden in the game world that we can collect, but otherwise the game play is exactly the same. This isn’t a problem in itself, maybe even a feature. Most titles these days are far too long and meandering, which is why we actually welcome the slim playing time.
We still wanted to point this out, especially since the ending seems a bit abrupt. The superficial gameplay and the extremely short playing time make the title seem more like an animated film where we have to ponder a little bit every now and then.
Quelle: Midday Games
The presentation is clearly the strongest selling point, the art style looks gorgeous and the soundtrack by composer Julie Reier is atmospheric. The game was designed by artist Nacho Rodriguez, who animated every single shot himself.
We would confidently recommend Mr. Coo as a virtual showroom for the medium of animation and Rodriguez’s creativity. We can rarely guess what exactly will happen when we click on something with the mouse or how our environment will ultimately react, which sometimes leads to beautifully absurd surprises.
Since we say goodbye at the end with a “to be continued”, it stands to reason that that a successor has already been firmly planned. Rodriguez is without question an accomplished and imaginative artist who also manages to get his vision realized and published without major compromises. And there can’t be enough people like that in the video game industry.
Nevertheless, for another spin-off with its mascot, we would like the same playfulness and polish that obviously went into the representation of the world to find its way into other areas.
If you look at the title as a pure video game, only a minimum of these virtues is offered. Even compared to other games with little freedom of play, the little flourishes that make a gaming experience just that much more immersive are simply missing.
Things that are outside of what the game expects you to do. Small Easter eggs or actions that have no effect other than making the character or world a little more lively. Moments in which you simply want to pause and be amazed or even make you think.
In line with this topic:
Simon the Sorcerer – Origins preview: Who needs Harry Potter?!
Baphomet’s Curse 2: Retro special for the point & click adventure
Best of Style: Ten video game beauties to fall in love with!
The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo (PC)
Some annoying bugs and a lot of wasted potential make Mr Coo an ambivalent experience despite a loving presentation.
The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo has been available on almost all common platforms since September 7, 2023. The PC version was tested. The game is available for current and last-gen consoles from Playstation and Xbox as well as for Nintendo Switch and PC or Mac. The price for the consoles is 19.99 euros and 14.99 euros on Steam. To start with, the title is available there at a 15 percent discount for 12.74 euros. Offer ends September 14th.