When WiiWare launched Nintendo described it as a way to buy brand new downloadable games from established and indie developers. The idea being that these small lower budget games cost the developers less money to make and therefore cost less money for you to buy. WiiWare has been operational for well over a year now and we’ve had some great titles including; World of Goo, the Strongbad series and Onslaught, sadly the great games are slightly outweighed by a larger amount of average ones. The latest trend is to port older games from previous consoles as new; yes I know that is the idea behind Virtual Console but naturally there is a 64bit ceiling. Today I present a review of Cocoto Platform jumper; previously a PlayStation 2 and GameCube game.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to read any of my previous reviews you’ll already know I seemingly go off on a weird tangent which in the end somehow relates to the game I’m actually meant to be reviewing. Well fear not, here I go again.
Some of you may not have been alive in the early 1990’s but I was and playing games on the ZX Spectrum. One of my favourites was the arcade port of the Bubble Bobble sequel; Rainbow Islands. If you’re unaware of Rainbow Islands then you won’t know that the premise of the game was to climb to the top of the level before time runs out and a giant wave of water rises from the bottom and drowns you. The catch was unlike every other platform game; you couldn’t actually jump from platform to platform like Mario because Bub and Bob can’t jump for toffee. Instead your character can shoot magical rainbows which act as bridges for him to walk across and farther upwards. But that’s not all; these special rainbows can also trap and kill the enemies buzzing around the place. Another little caveat was that the rainbows only lasted a few seconds before they dissolved; this requires the player to pass across them before falling down back towards the level start. What’s this history lesson into an old Taito arcade game got to do with Cocoto Platform Jumper you ask? Well it’s the same damn game that’s what. Ok so it’s not exactly true, Cocoto Platform Jumper for Wii isn’t a complete Rainbow Islands clone but let me tell you as far as the game play goes, it’s pretty close.
The back story to Cocoto Platform Jumper is pretty shallow; your friends are taken by some bad dude who seems to be after the magical power contained in your magical cauldron. You take control of Cocoto; a cute looking Devil who has to go and get his friends again. You do this by climbing to the top of the level before the time runs out and a wave of water or lava (etc) rises up and drowns you. Unlike Bub or Bob, Cocoto can actually jump a fair height. Actually Cocoto can even double jump but the problem is that most of the platforms are still too far for Cocoto to reach which requires you to use his special ability to create rainbow shaped rock arches which act like bridges. These rock arches can also trap and kill enemies just like in Rainbow Islands but the strange thing is; Cocoto actually has a weapon – he can shoot tiny pitchforks which can deal with the enemies at a longer range than your arches can. So the basic principle of climbing to the top of the level with the aid of the arches is exactly the same as that retro game I keep referring to, even the pickups which give you double length arches are the same too! But yes, finally there is a significant difference between the two games. Cocoto Platform Jumper is in 3D and the actual levels are 3D as well. Unlike a 3D platformer like Mario 64 where you can actually move in three dimensions; Cocoto still plays on a 2D plane like Rainbow Islands but the actual level rotates which in the end makes the levels cylindrical. By moving left and right the level rotates around and around, sometimes you’ll encounter little moving platforms which you can jump between but most of your time will be spent using the arches.
Some enemies drop magical golden pears when they are defeated, these act a little like Sonic’s golden rings. As long as you have one when you touch a bad guy you don’t lose a life, the difference though is unlike in Sonic you can’t jump around to recollect a handful of fallen rings after you have been hit, instead only if you’re very lucky will one actually drop down for you to pick up again. That’s ok though, it just makes the game more difficult and to start with that’s a good thing because the levels are quite basic at the start. Later on when you reach a level such as Volcano you also have to avoid red hot platforms that will burn Cocoto’s feet. You’ll also encounter icy pathways which cause Cocoto to slide around which is fun. Another interesting thing is that not possible to create arches on these environmental pathways which will force you to look for another way to get higher, sometimes requiring you to backtrack and find another route up. Generally this process continues for three levels until on the fourth you have to defeat the boss; strangely after you defeat it there isn’t really a reward for you efforts apart from moving onto the next world. If you scored enough points you may even unlock a bonus round which is full of gems and a couple of extra lives. A few extra lives are handy because you’ll often get snagged by some flying enemy just before you manage to dispatch it and end up falling to the bottom of the level. Practice makes perfect and once you see the path you’re meant to take and dispatch that frustrating bad guy you’re quickly on your way up to the top again. While I remember I should say that Cocoto can even punch enemies that are directly in front of him with a swing of the Wii Remote, the problem I found was that I nearly always got the timing wrong and got hit by a bad guy. I preferred to create one of those massive archways which can kill multiple enemies at once rather than bother with silly punches.
I have a feeling that I’ve made it sound that I didn’t enjoy Cocoto Platform Jumper and that is unfortunate, it’s actually not too bad and for a Rainbow Islands fan like me this gives me a glimpse into what a true next gen Rainbow Islands title could be like. I think the problem is that apart from Cocoto himself the game lacks character; the bright cheery graphics of Rainbow Islands and the incessant loop of a 4 bit rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow still give me a warm feeling to this day. Nearly everything in Cocoto Platform Jumper is so bland looking and washed out it’s hard to believe that this originally cost upwards of $25 on the 128bit Sony and Nintendo consoles of 2002 especially as it has graphics more reminiscent of the 32 bit era. Instead of retro 4 bit music I find so heart-warming we do in fact get quite a nice selection of audio which is quite reminiscent of Banjo Kazooie from the Nintendo 64, lovely stuff.
There are a couple of multiplayer modes to flesh out the game a bit; firstly a race mode for up to four players in which it’s a simple race to the top of the level, everyone has to make sure not to be at the bottom of the screen when the leader goes higher because they’ll lose a life. The other mode is only for two players and is your typical battle mode where the aim is to beat the other player by hitting them until the run out of life, you can either attack or run away but in the end with just two players it’s a little shallow. Neither of the multiplayer modes make the game an essential purchase on their own but combined with the fun single player mode actually make Cocoto Platform Jumper quite good value for just 700 Wii Points and so I award it 5 out of 10.
Get Cocoto Platform Jumper now
New: Buy Cocoto Platform Jumper from Amazon.com