It's no big secret that WiiWare could use more platformers, . Cocoto Platform Jumper may count itself lucky then that this genre is relatively underrepresented at this time. Is it worth enough to spend your hard-earned cash, though? It just might be.
The player is represented by the whimsical devil Cocoto who's out to rescue his friends from the grasp of the "evil" god Zaron, who has a striking resemblance to Zeus of Greek fame. To help him achieve this, the generically named Fairy tags along to see him through the five kingdoms: Abyss, Volcano, Atlantis, Jungle, and Heaven. The plot is quite silly, but it serves to set up the stage for an enjoyable platform romp.
What may be apparent right away is the interesting blend of Nebulus and Rainbow Islands that is incorporated in Cocoto Platform Jumper. As Cocoto, the player traverses a circular stage, trying to reach the top to advance the game. Cocoto has the ability to double-jump and shoot magma arcs on which he can run and jump off, with plenty of moving platforms and springs littered throughout the stages too. Magma arcs can only be created from solid (not on ice, fire, moving platforms, or in the air) ground or off another magma arc, and are very helpful in building bridges and circumventing the pain-inflicting fire platforms. As in Rainbow Islands, they allow the player to attack or trap enemies - jump on the arc to make it collapse and kill the enemy underneath to gain double points - as well as collect items, and with the help of upgrades they can be sped up or extended. Additional attacks include the pitchfork, a distance weapon which proves particularly useful against flying enemies, and the "special" melee attack. We recommend only to use the latter as a panic attack weapon because it isn't the most effective, safe way to go about things.
Being hit by an enemy or platform hazard will make Cocoto lose all of his improvements as well as all collected golden apples. These apples are key to Cocoto's survival: it is a one-hit death if he doesn't carry any. In addition, every ten golden apples collected award the player with a life, though you can increase your chance of survival by collecting the odd life items sparsely dispersed in the given stage, with a life awarded for every 100,000 points. Luckily death won't necessarily have you start a stage from the beginning: all of the stages feature a mid-level checkpoint, and all enemies you've killed up to this point still remain six feet under.
Besides the various walking, hopping and flying beasts and critters making your life difficult - particularly on hard difficulty - the aforementioned fire platforms are best avoided, while you should also keep an eye on the ever-present timer in normal and hard mode. Once the latter counts down to zero the water or lava in the level will steadily rise; manage to fall off the deep end and you'll be a life shorter. It may only rise leisurely in normal, but you can count yourself lucky to outrace it while fighting off enemies in hard. Fortunately, the timer is reset every time Cocoto bites the dust, or time is added to the countdown when he reaches a checkpoint.
At the end of each stage the number of enemies vanquished, diamonds collected, and spare seconds left on the countdown will add bonus points to the player's score. If one has killed enough critters within the stages of a kingdom Cocoto will be sent to the appropriate bonus stage, in which he can collect extra lives and diamonds within a set amount of time.
All in all, there are twenty-five stages in single-player mode, with thirty if you count bonus stages. Every kingdom features four regular stages leading up to number five: the boss stage. The boss fights are more memorable and provide a tougher challenge than their minions. Donkey Kong, is that you? Figure out the pattern of each one to beat them and move on to the next kingdom. There are a few good hours of fun to be had; more so in hard mode, as the stages grow continually tougher.
Although the multiplayer modes aren't all too deep, they can provide bite-sized diversions. Battle mode will have two players duel it out until one loses all five hit points; the first player who collects a weapon has the advantage. Race mode can be played by up to four players as they try to keep up with everyone else or be knocked off-screen and lose one of three life points. You can also try to shove the opposition off a platform, but beware: if you're the only player left in the race the water starts to rise very quickly. Lose all points and you won't place either.
The audio in the game is a bit of a mixed bag. The bloops and grunts given off by the enemies and characters are all rather average fare and a bit repetitive. Not to mention, the gibberish talk of your guide, Fairy, does sound an awful lot like Cousin Itt from The Addams Family. On the other hand, the music suits the game quite nicely, befitting its whimsical and cartoony style.
Graphically, it is obvious that the game is pretty much a straight port from the PS2/Gamecube original. First off, widescreen is not supported. Some of the textures look a bit muddied, and they are reused a-plenty. Thankfully, the backdrops for each world fare well, although the Jungle set is a bit drab for our tastes. The enemies throughout the stages may act similar, but at least they have quite a varied look to them, which range from ghouls and (flying?) tortoises to angels. Yup, angels! That said, thanks to its cartoony look the game doesn't look quite as dated as it could have been, especially as it also features some light bloom and blur effects with a sprinkling of particles.
The game only supports the Wii Remote / Nunchuck combo for playing the game, with the player moving Cocoto via the analogue stick and performing actions by pressing the buttons provide for precise control. Only the special attack requires motion by shaking the Wii Remote. Yes, you could also keep shooting magma arcs by shaking the nunchuck, but why would you if you can do the same with the B button? Overall, the controls are tight, and we haven't come upon any particular problem that would give players any kind of headache.
It may boast one of the most generic titles ever to grace a video game, but Cocoto Platform Jumper proves to be quite the competent effort, despite its age and low-budget origin. It may not be Mario, but if you're looking for a solid platformer, you can do no wrong with Cocoto. We dare you to beat it in hard mode! You could do much worse with 700 Nintendo points.