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Cocoron (NES) artwork

Cocoron (NES) review


"What shattered my illusion was that for a game set in the world of dreams, Cocoron comes off as simply another eight-bit platformer. A competent one that does possess a certain amount of inventiveness and charm, but nothing I'd deem as particularly special or noteworthy. It's fun to play, but easy to forget, as there's very little of the tripped-out unreality I associate with mystical worlds only existing in one's imagination. Inception, this isn't."



Recently, I had a bizarre dream. An obese, blue...something came to me and started rambling on about how he creates dreams and wanted to send me into a magical world so I could find a kidnapped princess and become a great hero. Hooking up with a princess and earning the adoration of the masses?!? Count me in!

To add to the strong feelings of awesomeness, I was given a brand new body that I could craft out of all sorts of pieces. After experimenting for a bit, I learned that these choices would have a huge effect on the possibility of my mission ending in success. I created bulky chaps with no mobility and agile fellows with no durability before I finally discovered a happy medium. The head of a hero combined with the body of a jet (in order to fly short distances) that used the powerful shuriken as his weapon. A worthy dream representation of myself, this being was powerful, durable and at least nimble enough to not trip over its feet. I was ready to save the day!


But then the illusion gradually faded and I realized I wasn't in my bed sleeping. Instead, I was simply zoning out in my cubicle, using company time to play weird Famicom games such as Cocoron, where I got to build my own dream warriors to save a missing princess. Horrible work ethic, displacement of reality -- just another day in my life!

What shattered my illusion was that for a game set in the world of dreams, Cocoron comes off as simply another eight-bit platformer. A competent one that does possess a certain amount of inventiveness and charm, but nothing I'd deem as particularly special or noteworthy. It's fun to play, but easy to forget, as there's very little of the tripped-out unreality I associate with mystical worlds only existing in one's imagination. Inception, this isn't.

Cocoron is a short game that's not particularly challenging after you've used a bit of trial-and-error to figure out how to construct a good hero. Some body parts are worthless, while others are godly. The shuriken is easily the strongest weapon and, when powered up, fires in three directions. A few others might be a bit more versatile, but none match its killing capacity. There are a few platforming areas with instant death being the penalty for slipping up, so having the jet body in order to fly short distances was great in ensuring I wouldn't miss any jumps. I mean, I could have used the boat body in order to float on liquid, but what would be the point? I never took damage for being submerged, so that thing had no worth. Anything that was particularly light in weight also was ignored. Why would I want to be super-quick with great jumping ability if my health wound up being so low that a mere hit or two would send me to my doom?

Really, once I came up with a combination of parts that got me through the first stage, I was set. This is one of those games that's programmed to be difficult initially, but becomes easier and easier the farther a player gets. When I started, my powerful shuriken only fired one shot at a time straight in front of me. As I collected power-ups, I built my guy up to the point he was shooting multiple projectiles in three directions. If I died, I wouldn't lose my power-ups, so it was easy to become more lethal as I progressed, allowing me to easily overwhelm foes that had initially been challenging.

Adding to Cocoron's ease was its brevity. None of its stages are particularly long. I'd go through a fairly short level, fight a boss and then travel a different path out of the place which segued me into the next destination. It was a neat touch to have the six main levels all connected, as it made me feel I was actually in an actual world, as opposed to just visiting a series of unconnected places...but it would have been nice if there was a bit more meat to the stages.

Instead, it proved to be a reasonably fun game that I blasted through without much trouble. With only a handful of short levels that mostly lacked the creativity and charm of the world of dreams depicted in Kirby's Adventure, Cocoron's best asset is simply that it's competent, with no glaring glitches or cheapness detracting from what merits it does possess. Which probably isn't the most ringing endorsement one can give anyone looking for more than an enjoyable way to spend a dull, forgettable afternoon.

Rating: 5/10

overdrive's avatar
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (October 03, 2010)

Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.

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