Clawrence and the machine.
Ah Futurlab, how you have made the past month spectacular. Not happy with completely redoing their Minis title Velocity Ultra which I gave a well deserved 9.5, they’ve only gone and HD remastered the game that exploded them onto the scene, publishers scrambling to get their own versions on Android and iOS; Coconut Dodge. Having not played the original but with it being free on PSPlus at the moment (£1.99 if you’re not) I thought I’d take a look and see what all the fuss is about. I’ve seen the odd video online and to be honest it looks like little more than a Flash game, however like Jetpack Joyride on mobile has proven, single game endless titles can be fantastic if done right. I’m not a fan of endless titles as I like a sense of progression but Coconut Dodge Revitalised cleverly has a bit of endless and a bit of levelling which I’ll touch on later.
The concept of Coconut Dodge is frightfully simple. Your name is Clawrence the crab and you must dodge coconuts falling from the sky and collect falling treasure. Coconuts and treasure fall randomly and gain speed the longer you stay alive. Control is simple, with the analog stick moving you left and right at the bottom of the screen. Holding the x button while moving allows you to move faster, and tapping then holding the x button allows you to move like Usain Bolt. To begin with you won’t need to use the x button to boost your speed but the longer you survive the more you’ll be relying on this feature, and luckily controls are exceptionally accurate and responsive. After each wave of randomly generated coconuts and treasure you then tackle a maze of preformed coconuts and treasure. Each maze only lasts about ten to fifteen seconds and generally has two main routes through. The easier route contains your standard treasure and the harder route contains jewels which are worth considerably more. It becomes a split second decision as to whether it’s worth risking your life for these jewels in your constant endeavour for a higher score as you only get three lives per game which can be wiped out quickly as the game gets faster and harder.
There are a few other features that help mix things up a bit as well. Every now and then you can catch a helmet that is thrown onto the screen which affords you a brief moment of invincibility, and allows you to break coconuts for points meaning you briefly switch tactic from avoiding to aiming for them. Beach balls are also thrown onto the screen from time to time and come in two flavours; yellow and blue. Both the yellow and blue beach balls have a number in the centre of them which dictates how many times you need to bounce them off your shell in order for them to pop. Yellow beach balls simply give you more points but the blue beach balls are vitally important as popping them slows the on screen action down. These are absolutely vital in order to survive and so they force you to take risks in order to pop them. Occasionally bigger and more valuable treasures also appear in the game and missing them brings on a facepalm moment. That’s pretty much all there is to the game but it’s worth noting that it is INSANELY addictive. You never feel like death is anyone’s fault but your own as the mechanics are so tight and well produced. Yes, Coconut Dodge Revitalised is a simple game that is over very quickly but you really get that “one more go” niggling under your skin feeling as you play.
There are a few other modes available to play though they provide more of a distraction than anything else. Maze master allows you to play the maze sections from the main game individually and only achieving a near perfect score allows you to progress. Keepy Uppy! involves the random falling coconut sections of the main game but introduces beach balls constantly and it’s game over if you miss one. Hardcore! mode is the same as the main game but with a single life and Impossible! mode is the same as Hardcore! But all of the coconuts and treasures are black making it much harder to work out what is what. Leaderboards are present for the main game mode but for some reason these do not appear in the bonus modes which seems like somewhat of an oversight. Also, the trophies present (mostly really hard to obtain) only refer to the main mode and not to the bonus modes. This can make them feel a little pointless and simply a distraction and it surprises me after Velocity Ultra that Futurlab would make this oversight. Even so despite this the main game mode is addictive enough for it not to matter as much, and friends list leaderboards mean the one-upmanship can be rife as you beat your mates time and time again.
Graphically Coconut Dodge Revitalised looks basic and very much like a flash game but it runs in native res, runs smoothly and it’s easy and clear to distinguish coconuts from treasure and the foreground and back ground so the clean look is perfectly apt. Musically there is only one song but it never really becomes annoying and blends in well. All in all as it’s free in the EU for Plus subscribers it’s definitely worth and look and even if you’re not it’s still a cheap package with trophies that are geared towards the masochist. The lack of trophies surrounding the extra modes and lack of leaderboards for these modes aside, Coconut Dodge Revitalised is still a great little timewaster and the sort of game that will sit happily on your home screen for many months to come so you can dip into it every now and then or when you have five minutes to kill and don’t have the time to boot up a full title. As I never played the original Minis title I can’t comment on those that have already played the game to death but as a Coconut Dodge virgin I can only sing the praises.