Cocoon Review: An Abs-Orbing Adventure

After I first heard about Cocoon, I used to be excited that somebody had determined to make a sport based mostly on an obscure sci-fi dramedy from the 80s. Maybe we’d even get the possibility to play as Wilford Brimley, which might be the last word energy fantasy. Sadly, this Cocoon doesn’t characteristic aged retirement house inhabitants and everybody’s favourite spokesperson for “diabetus” testing provides, though it does characteristic aliens. So shut sufficient I suppose.

If you happen to’ve performed titles like Limbo or Playdead’s Inside – a part of the “child-in-peril” style of video games – then Cocoon has probably been in your radar because it was created by Geometric Interactive, an organization made up of former members of Playdead. They banded collectively to make this bizarre little alien puzzle platformer that even after taking part in by means of to completion I’m nonetheless confused about, which I assume is type of the purpose of these items.

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As Cocoon begins, the little insect-person that you simply management awakens from a pod – a cocoon if you’ll – on a wierd, desert planet. As you enterprise ahead stepping on platforms and grabbing unusual gooey balls to resolve puzzles, you’ll uncover Cocoon’s foremost gameplay hook: each stage is contained inside a small coloured orb that can be utilized to resolve much more puzzles. So in essence, the degrees themselves are the objects you utilize to traverse the worlds. These orbs might be positioned upon pedestals to energy up equipment, or you’ll be able to enter the orbs to discover the degrees they include and struggle a boss on the very finish. Upon defeating a stage/orb’s boss, that orb positive aspects a particular energy that can be utilized to additional discover the opposite worlds. The orange orb reveals hidden pathways, the inexperienced orb means that you can journey vertically by means of translucent pillars, and so forth.

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Cocoon orbs

Cocoon is just like video games like Limbo and Inside in that you simply journey round harmful locales utilizing objects across the atmosphere to resolve puzzles with out actually realizing why you’re fixing these puzzles. Gameplay-wise, it isn’t too advanced. You progress, you work together with or choose up objects and orbs, and that’s about it. Nevertheless, as you progress and purchase extra orbs, you’ll want to search out methods to make use of their powers inside different ranges. To do that, you deliver orbs within different orbs that means that different ranges might be contained inside different ranges like some type of interdimensional Russian nesting doll.

And that’s when the sport begins to grow to be increasingly of a thoughts journey straight out of Inception. For instance, an answer to a puzzle could require you to place a platform in a single stage, then warp out of that stage into one other stage. Then in that stage, you might want to arrange one other object to fireplace projectiles into the orb that represents the extent you simply warped out of in direction of the platform you arrange earlier. If that each one appears complicated, that’s as a result of it’s. Even simply attempting to explain the gameplay of Cocoon is giving me a light headache. That doesn’t imply it’s not enjoyable although. The puzzles of Cocoon are difficult however provide up some distinctive conditions that require you to suppose laborious about tips on how to use an orb’s energy to control the degrees and their environments.

In fact, these puzzles wouldn’t be practically as attention-grabbing if the degrees they have been present in weren’t visually interesting. Cocoon has an artwork model that’s at instances charming and colourful, whereas at different instances appears to be like like one thing H.R. Giger would have come up if he had determined to develop an indie sport. Every stage has a definite taste. The primary world appears to be like like an orange desert planet filled with sand and craggy cliffs. The second world is swampy and inexperienced, the third resembles an deserted purple insect hive, and later ranges characteristic warped equipment and ethereal mountaintops. Paired with the ambient digital music that drones on within the background throughout pivotal moments, all of it creates a really eerie, alien ambiance.

Cocoon carrying orange orb

The one difficulty with this specific ambiance is that it’s slightly laborious to narrate to it on an emotional stage. With video games like Limbo and Inside, it was simple to grow to be invested in or a minimum of perceive these worlds as they resembled our actuality however with a macabre twist. Plus, in these titles, you spend the whole time making an attempt to stop the grotesque loss of life of a small baby, which provides further stakes and a layer of thriller as you’re always questioning what’s pushing this child ahead into such lethal situations.

Cocoon is perhaps a bit too mysterious. It lacks any type of actual narrative, and since every part is both mechanical, insect-like, or simply plain bizarre, it’s tough to have any response to what is going on on past “huh, that’s fairly neat.” With no plot, there’s nothing to maintain you going aside from eager to see what otherworldly setting is developing subsequent. Fortunately, that is sufficient of a draw as the sport is sweet to take a look at, however I want I cared extra about why my little bug-man was juggling orbs.

You additionally received’t be spending a lot time in these orbs as Cocoon isn’t a really lengthy sport. I managed to get by means of it in about 5 hours, and if you happen to occur to be a relatively adept puzzle solver you’ll probably be capable to blast your method by means of it in even much less time. There’s not a lot replayability right here both. There are collectibles within the type of creatures known as Moon Ancestors that may be present in every of the degrees. I’ve a tough sufficient time discovering my keys every time I depart the home, so I didn’t discover each one. However I think about that upon discovering all of them it’s going to unlock some type of secret, so that could be sufficient cause to take a minimum of yet another journey by means of the degrees. Apart from that, Cocoon is just like most different small indie puzzle platformers in that after you’ve accomplished it, there received’t be a lot of an incentive to play it once more.

Cocoon first boss fight

Whereas Cocoon didn’t join with me on the identical stage as different indie puzzlers, I had a good time venturing by means of orbs to resolve mind-bending puzzles and discover alien worlds. The sport additionally succeeds on the subject of supplying you with a terrific WTF ending, which is a requirement for this style. It’s good to see that even after leaving Playdead these builders are nonetheless capable of ship one other enjoyable albeit completely baffling expertise. All that is maintaining it from being a real masterpiece is a bit more baby hazard and an look from the Quaker Oats man himself.

Cocoon game cover image


Reviewed On PC


  • Most important gameplay hook of utilizing ranges as objects and power-ups is enjoyable and mind-bending
  • Puzzles are difficult but satisfying to resolve
  • The worlds are vibrant, colourful, and infrequently disturbing to take a look at

  • A scarcity of a story makes it tough to grow to be invested in what’s occurring
  • Fairly quick with little replayability
  • No Wilford Brimley

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