Tanukii Studios' overlooked DSiWare gem, Go! Go! Kokopolo, came at the tail end of the DSi's time on the market, and as a result very few people played the unique action game. While a simple re-release on 3DS would have been acceptable, Tanukii Studios instead crafted a full sequel in Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D. The result is a jam-packed game with great level design, tight controls and more of the charm that should have made the original a hit.
In Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D, players take on the role of either crazy cat Kokopolo, his friend Tatsumo or the spirit guardian Jinbe, and embark on an adventure to, well, cause trouble. From a top-down perspective, each level contains a set amount of enemies that must be fed to a "snap-snap plant." To lure the various enemies to the plant Kokopolo, Tatsumo and Jinbe must approach them, scratch them, then run back to the plant and jump over it, which the enemies will mimic, getting eaten in the process. The more enemies you feed the snap-snap plant at once, the more points you get. There's a very nonsensical and brief story about a stone tablet that ties the game together, but it has very little to do with the actual gameplay.
Levels are split up evenly between Kokopolo, Tatsumo and Jinbe, with each character getting three worlds to scratch their way through. Level design is very clever; we constantly found new challenges throughout the lengthy campaign, from environmental traps that caused boulders to chase us, to enemies that grabbed us, requiring the use of the microphone to get free.
Tanukii Studios clearly spent a lot of time designing each and every aspect of this game with thought and care. Level design is excellent. There are themed worlds that feel unique and different in every stage, with every level feeling designed with the possibility to feed all enemies to the snap-snap plant at once; but get hit by an obstacle or get stuck in a corner and you'll have to scratch each monster again. There are also boss battles at the end of every world that change up the formula and use the gameplay mechanics in new ways; we won't the details spoil here.
Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D is a visual treat for fans of pixel art and fancy sprite work. Every stage is chock full of sight gags, unique structures and quirky themes, from traditional forest areas to American kitsch. Kokopolo and his friends are animated with charm and personality, and the enemies - which range from happy flowers to deranged boss monsters - are all funny and cute. The music is similarly kooky and lively, with memorable tunes throughout.
It's hard to find any real fault with Kokopolo. There are unlockables and secrets peppered throughout the campaign, a time trial mode, and (spoiler alert!) even a hidden mini-game right on the title screen. The only problem here is that if you don't enjoy the main gameplay hook - scratching enemies and engaging in high-speed chases to their doom - you'll grow tired quickly. But the gameplay is so tight and addictive we think most fans of old-school, arcade-fast action games will have a blast.
The 3DS eShop has a new hit in Go! Go! Kokopolo 3D. With addictive gameplay, pleasing aesthetics and plenty of unlockable content, you'll find a lot to love in what is clearly a labour of love from Tanukii Studios. Hopefully, this imaginative and charming sequel will find the audience and success it clearly deserves.