Coinciding with the release of Cocoto Platform Jumper for Wiiware in North America, comes our chat with the folks who brought it to us. So sit back, relax, and open the floodgates of knowledge which shall pour forth from the minds of Neko Entertainment!
Nlife: First off, what can you tell us about the game? What makes Cocoto Platform Jumper the experience that it is?
Neko: Cocoto Platform Jumper has been the first game in the Cocoto series. It was developed for PlayStation 2, back in 2004. Our goal was to provide a simple and easy game for everyone. The game concept is inspired by Nebulus, a classic platformer of the 8-bit era, now translated in a 3D world. However, we kept a 2D gameplay, making the game accessible to everyone.
Cocoto, a little devil, lives in the Abyss with his demon friends. But the powerful Zaron, the god of Lightning, kidnapped them and now Cocoto has to rescue them. He has to complete 40 vertical levels made of cylindrical platforms, in a given time. But whacky creatures try to stop him! Cocoto has several weapons at his disposal to fight them, like lava arches and forks. Like in any good platformer, there are malicious traps, powerful bumpers, moving platforms and generous bonuses along the way.
We paid special attention to the Level Design, the key element in this kind of game. We spent several weeks to adjust the difficulty of the 40 levels, in order to have a simple game for beginners, but also a challenging one for regular players in the more advanced levels. The good Level Design of this game makes it very pleasant to play. The difficulty is well tuned so that the player is never frustrated.
Graphically, the characters are cute, and the five worlds to explore are colorful. We also have a nice music that fits the game very well.
Nlife: This game was originally released on the Playstation 2 and Gamecube consoles, how was it received at the time by gamers and the media?
Neko: The game has previously been released on several platforms, but only in Europe. We got only a few reviews, and most of them were rather positive. For example, in a major french video game magazine, we got a 12/20 rating. Our relatives, gamers and non-gamers alike, played the game and found it quite entertaining and addictive.
Nlife: Has anything changed for the Wiiware version?
Neko: Initially, we wanted to add new modes and improve existing ones. But then we realized that the game is quite good as it is. Only the controls have been adapted for the Wii.
Nlife: What are the controls like in Cocoto Platform Jumper? Is there anything special for Wii owners who enjoy motion sensitivity?
Neko: Cocoto is controlled with the Control Stick of the Nunchuk. Buttons are used for jumping and throwing forks. The motion sensors are used as follows: shaking the Wii Remote triggers a punch, while shaking the Nunchuk creates an arch of lava. However, it is also possible to use the B Button for that action, if the user becomes tired of shaking the Nunchuk. Buttons are more reactive than motion sensors, and reactivity is necessary in this kind of game.
Nlife: Is Platform Jumper solely a single player outing? Or will there be multiplayer modes as well?
Neko: There are 2 multiplayer modes: a Battle mode (2 players) and a Race mode (up to 4 players). They are simple yet addictive.
Nlife: There aren’t an excessive number of platformers currently available for Wiiware. Do you think this will give the game an edge in the sales department?
Neko: It's hard to say. Cocoto Fishing Master sold well, and one possible reason is that it was the only fishing game on WiiWare. So we can expect good sales with Cocoto Platform Jumper too, because there are few platformers. But now there are so many WiiWare titles available, and it's hard to say what makes the difference.
Nlife: Were you pleased with the reception of Cocoto Fishing Master following its release on WiiWare last year?
Neko: The reviews were mixed, probably because a fishing game is not a very common type of video game. The gameplay was not perfect, too. Hooking a fish with the Wii Remote was probably too difficult, and several players were stuck and asked for help.
Fortunately, once you get the point, it is then easy to hook a fish every time. This was a good lesson for us. We learned that using the motion sensor correctly is really difficult: this is why in Cocoto Platform Jumper the use of the motion sensors is very limited.
Despite this problem and the average reviews, Cocoto Fishing Master sold very well, beyond our expectations. And, on the forums, many players said they enjoyed the game, which is of course our highest reward.
Nlife: Do you have plans for any other WiiWare games to follow this?
Neko: We plan to release Heracles Chariot Racing soon, also a port from PlayStation 2. It's a fast ‘n furious racing game, with up to 4 players. The characters are greek mythological figures, like Heracles or the Minotaur.
Nlife: Finally, what would you like the readers to know about Cocoto Platform Jumper that they may not already have heard?
Neko: Cocoto is secretly in love with Fairy, a little, helpful… fairy. This character was inspired by Tinker Bell, the fairy in “Peter Pan”, and also by Jessica Rabbit, spouse of Roger Rabbit... An odd mix!