Coconut Dodge Review – Go ahead and crab it!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
the updated Coconut Dodge is out!
New Score: 8.5/10