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From the smug charm of the pigs in Angry Birds, to the teddy bears of Snuggle Truck, there are a number of app games that rely on “cuteness” to help sell their concept. It’s not a bad idea, but I think we’ve met the peak of this trend with Coco Loco. Good luck finding anything more endearing than marshmallows (often referred to in-game as “marshies”) trying to free their comrades trapped in chocolate fortresses.
The gameplay is essentially Angry Birds with marshmallows, right down to the numerous special marshmallows that each have a different power-up, making them useful for certain portions of a level. Where Coco Loco ups the ante is in subtle differences. To start, the player doesn’t have to use the marshmallows in the order they’re presented. If you need to blow up a wall with the exploding marshmallow and he’s slated to come up last in order, you can push him to the front of the line. The freedom of choice presents an extra lawyer of strategy that makes Coco Loco a real treat.
Coco Loco’s level design also deserves some applause. Often times an Angry Birds level can feel rather aimless – just throw the birds into the structure until it falls down. But the better Coco Loco levels actually have clearly defined goals. In one level you might need to use the Jell-O marshmallow to block up a flowing hot chocolate spout so it floods the level, knocking a marshmallow you need to save into your range.
It’d be asking an awful lot for this fantastic game to unseat the king of all apps, but if there’s a title that could do it, I’d put my money behind Coco Loco. Playing it for just a handful of levels was enough to get me hooked, and I don’t anticipate stopping any time soon.