Originally published at: Review | The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo - XboxEra
Abstract art comes in a lot of forms. Quite literally, it’s the whole point of the genre. But rarely do I get to enjoy it as much as I did Nacho Rodriguez’s ‘The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo’. A point ‘n click adventure developed by Gammera Nest and published by Meridiem Games, The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo sets Rodriguez’s Mr. Coo, this round little yellow square, in a landscape that changes form and function from his antics and the other creatures he runs into. It’s also a beautifully rendered one, featuring fluid 2D hand-drawn animation that (usually) flows from one action to the next as you solve Mr. Coo’s many, many predicaments.
Mr. Coo’s first order of business is to get an apple that’s been boxed away in a little present box. In animated surrealist fashion, of course, that doesn’t come easy and player’s will guide Mr. Coo to points of interest in each scene to continue to the next segment. Most of your controller time will be spent clicking away at the environment to find switches and whatnot with a mouse cursor. Other times you’ll need to think more outside of the box (or really inside one sometimes) to figure out how to get Mr. Coo outta his current kerfuffle.
I would best describe The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo as a playable animated short. There are a lot of little nuances and extra animated bits that you’ll catch as you figure out the environment and its challenges, which aren’t all too difficult leading up to the finale. You can catch hints by clicking on the ‘Hint Book’ if you find it, but I didn’t see them as a necessity and the one I did click on it I didn’t find the hint very useful. I wasn’t too keen on the game’s cursor speed either and unfortunately I didn’t see a way to speed that up for console play.
But the animation work is stellar as it is beautiful and bizarre. A mix of 2D animation and pre-rendered scenes take you from stages to deserts and a giant stone prison—the lighting work in these scenes is simply phenomenal and you know when Mr. Coo is in trouble when you see these places, especially when it’s complemented by the inconspicuous but pleasing score. Throw in the oddly growing trees, eyeballs that become friends, and an atelier’s desk and you’ve got yourself travelling through one heck of a mind.
The story is told as you progress through the actions of higher beings that trickle down to the set pieces below. It’s fairly straightforward narrative, all you really need to know is that an hourglass is making things very hard for Mr. Coo. With that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the game’s roughly hour long playthrough, especially as I’m a huge fan of traditional animation and I was happy to see that we could get more of that in the future from the game’s ending.
The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo plays its strengths through its animators’ beautiful work and the somewhat challenging puzzles that accompany Mr. Coo’s surrealist world. For fans of traditional animation, this adventure is a no brainer. ∎