Go on, be a devil.
Review written by
April 27th, 2009
Platform Jumper is an apt name for this game in more ways than one. Having started life as a PS2 title in 2004, it's since made passing visits on GameCube, Windows and Game Boy Advance. Now Cocoto's landed on WiiWare, but is he showing his age?
I don't know if a storyline was originally included, but on starting the main campaign you're dumped straight into the first level, without the courtesy of cut scenes or text. There's no tutorial in place either, which is a little slack since there are a few moves to get to grips with. Our guy Cocoto is an imp, his primary attack is to throw little tridents (bless him). He can also jump, which is usually handy in platformers. Lastly he can create arches of stone, these act as temporary bridges and can also kill enemies foolish enough to get in the way. That last move is similar to the mechanic used in Rainbow Islands. You can string around three of these arches together, letting you reach a good height without needing actual platforms.
The main quest is split into five distinct zones, each one has its own style (e.g. Volcano, Atlantis, Heaven..). This isn't your typical side scroller though, Cocoto takes a unique approach. Each level is basically like a tall stack of rings with segments cut out, you start at the bottom and must get to the top. It's impossible to "fall out" of the world, so your deaths will happen by way of enemies or scorching platforms. Ice is also a common hazard, even inside the volcano. Your stone-arch technique fails when used on icy or hot platforms, so some thought is required to plan your route upwards. Time isn't a luxury you can squander though, once the clock reaches zero, lower parts of the level start getting submerged.
It's not all bad news, useful pickups are strewn through the levels too, including extra lives. Some enemies drop fruit when you take them out. Fruit is to Cocoto as rings are to Sonic, if you're carrying some then you can take an extra hit instead of dying immediately. Sadly, when Cocoto loses his fruit it mostly scatters into the 3rd dimensions so you've little hope of picking any of it back up. Checkpoints are well used in each level, meaning you never have to redo a great deal after a death. The save system is fair as well, if you lose all your lives you get to continue from the start of the level you're currently on. This is great for the "one more go" mentality.
At the end of every zone you face off against a giant boss. These come in a variety of guises, including an octopus and a gorilla. The bosses are significantly different, in that it takes a variety of strategies to beat them. They're fun and serve well to break up the platforming levels which are a bit samey.
There's one choice, and one choice only in terms of controls - the Nunchuk and Wiimote combo is used. I couldn't help feel the setup was a little awkward to get used to, movement and primary attack are both on the Nunchuk (Control stick and Z). This means your left hand is seeing more than its share of the action. I would have preferred the attack to be on the B trigger, but button mappings can't be redefined so it's a case of making do. The collision detection used is a little on the unforgiving side, you can go through platforms if you're landing near the edge. This, combined with Cocoto being light on his feet, can lead to some frustration. Overall though, the feel of the game is decent.
The fun is helped along a lot by the music. Each zone has its own theme, most of which are very fitting and great to listen to. Sound effects are well done too, the noises whenever you smack an enemy are satisfying. CPJ's graphics aren't going to blow any minds in terms of technology. There's nothing here that couldn't have been done last generation (in fact it's probably a direct port), but more importantly, character and enemy designs are imaginative and have a cartoony style which is enjoyable to look at. Enemies range from creatures like crabs and turtles up to people.
In addition to the main story, some offline multiplayer modes are included for up to four players. The first is "battle", a form of split-screen deathmatch where players collect ammo and shoot each other with pitchforks. The second is "race", a single screen game where the first to reach the top platform wins.
You can expect around 5 hours of gameplay for the main quest, on the first run through in any case. It can take a while to figure out how you're meant to tackle the bosses, some of the approaches needed aren't immediately clear. Cocoto is short and sweet, and that's for the best, since the core gameplay is slightly repetitive and the experience would suffer if it dragged on too long. That said, there is a "hard" difficulty setting for fanatics.
Considering the cheap price, Neko Games has delivered a solid package. It's not the greatest platformer on WiiWare, but it's among the better ones right now. At the least, Cocoto should give anyone who tries it a few hours of fun. How many other games let you fly into heaven and give the angels a beatdown?
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