Cocoon is a debut title for developer Geometric Interactive based in Copenhagen. Published by Annapurna Interactive the masters behind Stray and What Remains of Edith Finch. Out now on PlayStation, Xbox, Switch Consoles, and PC.
Stunning World Hopping Puzzle
When I first learned about Cocoon, I was captivated not only by its beautiful art style but its ability to seamlessly transition between worlds. The strange mechanical insects and the puzzles all had my interest piqued. A title with no HUD or in-game voice or text just how good could it be??
Cocoon is a cool puzzle-adventure game where you play as a beetle exploring a bunch of different worlds. You’ll go everywhere from mechanical caverns to swamplands, all while solving puzzles that let you jump between worlds. The game has specific points in each level where you can transition from one world to another. You carry the last world you left inside a small orb on your back this orb gives you different abilities. It may sound a bit confusing, but it’s much easier to grasp when you experience it firsthand while playing the game.
In the game’s opening scene, a magnificent birth is depicted as a brilliant streak of light strikes a mountain and travels down inside a cocoon at its base. The cocoon vibrates and slowly opens up, revealing the player character, a beetle, emerging and exploring the world. As you advance through the game, you will find yourself wandering through a mysterious world, encountering a range of puzzles that start relatively simple but eventually become more intricate and challenging. The puzzles are cleverly designed and require you to use your problem-solving skills, creativity, and critical thinking to progress through the game and unravel its mysteries.
Cocoon’s orbs end with unique boss fights, each tailored to their world and providing new challenges. Bosses have specific mechanics to defeat them, like explosives or amber trapping. Geometric’s team designed intense combat scenarios with one button, using learned interactions in unexpected ways. Dodging crystal structures left in a boss’s wake in a rhythm game-like fashion is an example.
If you’re someone who enjoys a good puzzle, you know how satisfying it can be to breeze through one with ease. Feeling confident in your abilities and seeing the pieces fall into place can be a real rush. But what about when you hit a wall? Suddenly, that confidence can turn into confusion in an instant. It’s like the puzzle is taunting you, daring you to solve it. I had a similar experience where I was anticipating the usual frustration, but, surprisingly, it didn’t occur. I believe this is due to the game’s lack of HUD and absence of voice or text prompts that usually convey disapproval in a passive-aggressive manner.
One of the more regular puzzles includes 5 symbols and putting them in the right order. I had spent a few minutes trying to work out where I had seen one of the symbols before I realised they were hidden in the game’s background. These change later with symbols being hidden within the puzzles themselves it’s well done.
Graphics & Audio
As you play, the audio experience is truly mesmerizing. The sound of the metal doors opening is not just a mere sound effect, but it immerses you into the game’s world, making you feel the vastness of your surroundings. You can hear the faint sound of the character’s footsteps in some places, which adds to the game’s realism. The machines’ hum that activates as you use them to cross gaps or jump to higher areas is deeply satisfying, and it provides an extra layer of excitement to the game’s mechanics.
The contrast between the different worlds in Cocoon is truly astonishing. You can go from a rocky desert with red sand to realms with levitating platforms and cables, all with a simple dive into an orb. Although Cocoon lacks a HUD and in-game voice, the game more than makes up for it with audio that blends perfectly with the world and its circumstances. The wind sweeps around the rocks, interrupting the mechanical sounds while you solve puzzles. Overall, the game provides an immersive experience that is a feast for both the eyes and ears.
Cocoon is an impressive game that offers a magical experience while taking only around 6 hours to finish. The game developed by Geometric Interactive is a complete departure from modern gaming trends. Despite being their debut title, the game’s world-building without any dialogues is breathtaking. I am excited to see what the studio has in store for us in their future titles.
Ironically, a silent game could become such a topic of conversation. In a year that boasts an array of exceptional games, Cocoon manages to stand out due to its distinctive mechanics and unparalleled level and puzzle design. The game’s intriguing sci-fi world keeps players engaged, while its puzzles spanning multiple worlds present a challenging and rewarding experience. The game’s controls, which are both accessible and intuitive, facilitate an immersive experience, while the minimalist presentation adds an extra layer of elegance. Cocoon stands alongside some of the best games of 2023. It is for this reason that Cocoon is awarded the Thumb Culture Platinum Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.