Coconut Dodge Review – Go ahead and crab it!

title - coconut dodge

Well, Futurlab’s Coconut Dodge is out, the very first console game released by Futurlab, so I have to take a moment to congratulate them. Now, unfortunately, I’m not supposed to be biased here, but I really wish I could be because I really like Futurlab so far. I can honestly say, the game is quite cute, and for the most part, a fun, solid title, but there’s some things I wish they took the time to implement.

According to its official website, you play as a crab named “Clawrence”, and he likes gold, good for him! Anyone can identify with that. He plans on getting some gold by standing beneath the trees it falls from and catching it. The only problem with Clawrence’s plan is coconuts also tend to fall from the trees, often in a bizarre, maze shaped, fashion. You see where this is going, don’t you? Good, now go dodge some coconuts!

coconut dodge - gameplay1

As simple as the concept is, there’s a lot of cool features, and ways to play. One of the coolest things about it is that each ‘level’ essentially has three parts. There is the part where random coconuts fall down and you just have to dodge them while catching the occasional pieces of gold that fall down. Then there’s the excellently designed “mazes”, where patterns of predesigned coconuts fall and you must navigate through them, while gathering the gold within them. The great thing about this being that there is usually one simple path that you can easily pass through with a little gold, and one expert path that requires only the greatest of skill, but usually it rewards you with lots of diamonds, which are worth 4 times the standard gold pellet. Lastly, there is a sort of bonus round after each level that rewards you with nothing but gold and you must try to catch as much of it as you can.

coconut dodge - gameplay2

In addition to the main mode where players play level after level, there is also another mode called “maze master” were players select a maze they have made it to, and are challenged to get nearly maximum points for that maze. This mode is very fun, despite how difficult it can get, and how intensely angry it can make you. My only beef with this mode is that it lacks some of the mazes in the main mode, especially the beginning ones which is a little disappointing since the later ones are difficult to get to; Oh, and it makes me want to brake my PSP in half sometimes.

There are also some power-ups and abilities. You can temporarily dig underground using the triangle button, if you really want to survive and have no other options, but this is dangerous because you cannot control where you dig back up again, and really, it is not a good way to get points, so you will probably end up never using it. You can also speed up (“Turbo”) and slow down (“Creep”) using the cross (also known as ‘x’) and circle buttons, respectively, although I find slowing down is never really necessary. Speeding up, on the other hand, is essential for getting all the gold. You can speed up if you want to go fast, which is often necessary during mazes, but if you want to really want to get across the screen in the blink of an eye, then you can double tap the ‘x’ button to do a “Super Turbo”. What I dislike about the super turbo is it would be so much easier at times to simply push the square button which is currently unused. coconut dodge - helmet

There is a Viking Helmet that occasionally gets thrown at you, and if you catch it, it gives you temporary invincibility. There are also beach balls that you must keep up, and when you hit them enough times, they pop and give you a certain reward; yellow beach balls give you points, and blue beach balls slow the coconuts when they get sped up.

I really must complement the sound and graphics for this game; they are bright, fun, and enough to make you smile, the music in particular, is really nicely done, although there is only the title theme and the song that plays while you play, they are really cute tunes. The only sound that I really hate is the annoying dying one. When you die, the game punishes you with this strange beep-like sound, and the music just stops. As if dying isn’t punishment enough. Speaking of dying, there is only one life, which can be a bit of a letdown and really discourages you from taking risks during the maze rounds. coconut dodge - beachball

As far as “replayability” goes, this game doesn’t fare too badly, although it might have been able to fit another game mode or two in there. I would have liked to have seen a keep up mode devoted to the beach ball and how many times the player can hit it, since I don’t feel the beach ball is explored as much as I would have liked it to have been, and that would have been perfect for taking turns in the car or somewhere, playing some sort of form of ‘numbers’.

I don’t think I can stress how challenging it can be, and I don’t think I will ever be able to beat all the mazes on maze master, or even get to them for that matter, but that can be really good if you are someone who plays videogames to complete the difficult challenges. Overall, it’s a nice game that its team can be proud of developing, you can see there has been a lot of love put into it. Having ‘mazes’ in a game like this is an interesting concept, and it works. Alternate routes is a really cool feature since hardcore gamers who are looking for a challenge will like it because of its potential difficulty, and even casual gamers can get something from it since it can also be simple if you are not up for such an intense challenge.

Score: 7.5/10

the updated Coconut Dodge is out!

New Score: 8.5/10

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Comments

20 Responses to “Coconut Dodge Review – Go ahead and crab it!”
  1. djax says:

    Good review, I agree with “What I dislike about the super turbo is it would be so much easier at times to simply push the square button which is currently unused.”

    Big please to developers – put super turbo on square button….

  2. FuturLab says:

    Hiya,

    Many thanks for the feedback folks!

    We’re working on an update right now (which I am assuming will be free to download to anyone that has bought the game – awaiting confirmation on that from Sony…). This update will add Super Turbo to the Square button, and will also play a little turbo sound, so that people who enjoy double tapping (like us) can tell when it has been activated :)

    We’re looking at lots of other fine tunings too, which in all honesty we wanted to do in the first place, but just didn’t have the time!

    Anyone who read our article on the PlayStation Blog will appreciate we were lucky to get Maze Master in the game at all!

    http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2010/05/12/coconut-dodges-journey-from-flash-to-psp/

    Thanks again,

    James

  3. Chris says:

    Great review. It is certainly worth mentioning the bargain £1.99 price point of this mini. Well done FuturLab for producing a fun, polished mini with a great price.

  4. Djax says:

    Great, I look forward to this game update. Currently is Coconut Dodge for me one of the best minis, most challenging. With the improvement will be much better.

    Do you plan to implement highscore table for “maze master” mode?

  5. FuturLab says:

    @Chris – Hooray! Thanks :)

    @Djax – Very happy to hear it’s one of your favourite miniS. It’s got to be one of our favourites too, alongside Rocket Racing (that game is flat out awesome) and Fieldrunners.

    A high score table for Maze Master mode wouldn’t really work as the game currently stands – you either win or lose. We might look at expanding on Maze Master with a version two of the game later on, but for now we’re just focusing on tightening up Coconut Dodge – the Director’s Cut if you will, given that we now have a bit more time to polish things :)

    We’ll keep you updated soon on the features we’ve decided to add, and give you a chance to argue with us if you disagree :p

    Thanks!

    James

  6. Cameron Leask says:

    No kidding, my favourite mini ever!
    Couple of features would make it even better:

    -Local high scores table? The high scores are very hard to beat and it would be good to see who’s top on that PSP.

    -Something that falls from the trees and when you catch it all coconuts are blasted from the screen for 5 seconds?

    Nice to see that turbo is going to square!
    Keep up the great games! Can’t wait for your second one!
    Cameron.

  7. Carson says:

    if you get some of those fine tunings in there, James, i would honestly consider revisiting it, and giving it a higher score.
    using the square button as an alternative way to activate super turbo, is probably the most important.
    and I know the lives system is something alot of people need for this game.

    other things to consider would be giving maze master all the mazes (I really think it would help make the really game feel complete), and as Cameron says, a “personal” high score table that doesn’t display the preset scores, could also be worth looking into.

    despite my little criticisms I did like this game, and I really do think you guys should be proud you did such a good job for your first ever title, alot of developers can fail on their first try.

  8. FuturLab says:

    Cool, thanks Carson.

    I’ll post here when we’ve got the updated feature list :)

    Thanks!

    James

  9. Djax says:

    And what about to generate from personal highscore some code (crypted and coded), this code user can manually put on your website – this will be online highscore table. I know, that minis are not allowed to connect to internet, this can be a solution.

  10. FuturLab says:

    That’s a fine idea Djax, thanks. I will speak to our programmer about it.

  11. Djax says:

    And some statistics in the game should be useful, for example statistics of missed gold squares etc…

  12. volcane says:

    @CARSON: Great review dude!

    This is definitely the favourite mini in my household at present! :-)

  13. djax says:

    And is possible to add movement left / right to the shoulder buttons of PSP? Similar, as it have game Luxor – dpad keys are for normal movement speed and shoulder buttons are for quick movement speed (super turbo).

  14. FuturLab says:

    Hi djax, I’ve been thinking about this myself over the last couple of days – whether we can make the game work by just using the shoulder buttons on their own, so PSPgo owners can play the game with the screen in the closed position. I’ve got an idea for how it could work, but not sure it’s in the scope for our update. Afterall, we could keep going forever with all the suggestions we’re getting, but we want to get the game update on the store as soon as possible!

  15. Bava says:

    Its a cute game but I wish there were more lives, its kinda turn down to play it just with one.

  16. Carson says:

    well, stay tuned, hopefully it wont be long until that happens

  17. FuturLab says:

    Hi Carson,

    The update is now live. I would be forever grateful if you’d give it a test run and see what you think!

    Thanks,

    James

  18. pspgamer01 says:

    well it’s not yet in my country. If it was I would make a video about it and up it on youtube then show it on the forum.

  19. Eric says:

    I recently bought this game at a discounted price ($0,99) and got that copy for review purposes. I don’t know how good the iOS version is, but the PS Minis is a really good version too. Glad I bought it!

  20. Jason says:

    I love seeing so many, “I wanted to break my PSP in half” comments on these mini titles. I love that. I miss the times when games have been this hard. To me that makes a game memorable and everlasting. :-)

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