JiG: Episode 2

Feature Game Releasing This Week: COCOON

When Jeppe Carlsen released Limbo back in 2010, it was a game that was 6 years in the making.  He concieved of the game in 2004 and left IO Interactive to pursue development of his vision. Fast forward to today and Limbo is known as one of the most popular indie games of all time.

Cocoon marks the inaugural release from Geometric Interactive, a game development studio established by former Playdead team members, Jeppe Carlsen and Jakob Schmid. Carlsen, renowned for his role as the lead gameplay designer on the acclaimed puzzle platformers Limbo and Inside, and Schmid, recognized as the audio programmer for Inside, previously collaborated on 140, a minimalist indie platformer. For over half a decade, they, along with a small team in Denmark, have been passionately crafting Cocoon.

Orbs serve as the linchpin of Cocoon's gameplay. These multifaceted entities act as keys, initiating switches, uncovering concealed pathways, and unraveling intricate puzzles. Yet, they also transcend mere utility to become self-contained levels in their own right. Think back to the iconic scene in Men In Black, where an entire galaxy exists within a tiny marble attached to a cat's collar. Geometric Interactive has embraced this concept, making it a central game mechanic. Each orb represents a unique world, complete with its distinct atmosphere, original puzzle dynamics, and a formidable boss encounter. Players can seamlessly transition in and out of these worlds by inserting orbs into designated sockets scattered throughout the game. Moreover, the ability to intermingle orbs, thanks to the diverse capabilities they unlock, is likely to be pivotal in charting a path forward.

While I mention "boss fights" within each orb, it's important to note that Cocoon doesn't adhere to conventional combat mechanics—there is only a single interaction button at your disposal. The method of vanquishing these bosses involves ingenious environmental tactics, such as manipulating a water spout or triggering an explosive mine. These confrontations are notably forgiving; in my experience, sustaining a "hit" led to an intriguing revelation: Instead of inflicting damage or demise, the boss ejected me from its realm. I then had to navigate my way back to the encounter to ultimately emerge victorious. Conquering these bosses yielded newfound abilities, reminiscent of classic Metroidvania gameplay, facilitating access to uncharted territories and the unearthing of additional orbs.

In Cocoon, there's an inexplicable coherence to everything, even though articulating the reasons behind it proves elusive. Much like in typical puzzle-adventure games, I anticipate encountering moments of bewilderment, but my journey through this realm unfolds with an inherent sense of harmony. Over time, I ceased to be astonished by the fact that every action I took yielded the intended outcome. Solving puzzles became an immersive, effortless rhythm as I joyfully roamed, cherishing my invaluable orbs.

Game releases on September 29 on all platforms. Currently (as of today) it is 20% off on Steam.

Game Feature: Narita Boy

Narita Boy immerses players in a platforming action-adventure set within the confines of a game console, where the circuits, wires, and lines of code have been transformed into a complex digital realm.

As the protagonist, Narita Boy, a pixelated hero, your mission is to rescue the Digital Kingdom from impending doom. Navigating through the kingdom's three distinct regions, you must confront the malevolent minions of HIM, a sinister program hell-bent on the kingdom's destruction. It's a classic 'hero saves the world' narrative, but with a unique twist—immersing players inside an '80s retro console, and Narita Boy executes this concept brilliantly.

Every element of the gaming console serves a purpose within this fantastical universe, and the game is steeped in rich lore that could rival the complexity of Game of Thrones. There's a palpable sense of mysticism, from the high-priestess of the kingdom, a supervisor program known as Motherboard, to sentient programs called techno-fathers who venerate intricate algorithms.

Even floppy disks assume the role of sacred keys to the holiest of temples, and lines of code are revered as ancient scriptures. Narita Boy ingeniously melds technology and mythology, crafting a captivating and unique world.

The sensation of thrusting your sword into the digital cores of adversaries is immensely satisfying, and delving into the origin story of this kingdom takes you on a thrilling journey filled with heartache, eerie cults, and exuberant rock. Narita Boy not only revitalizes the shallow veneer of '80s gaming nostalgia but also melds it seamlessly with an epic fantasy tale rooted in genuine emotion.

It is currently 80% off of its listed price, which is $4.99 It's available on Steam.

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