Review: Coconut Dodge Revitalised
If you have followed PSNStores’s activity throughout the last three years, chances are you’ve seen or heard us talk about Coconut Dodge. The original Coconut Dodge released back in 2010 on the minis platform. It was FuturLab’s first game on the PlayStation Network, and by most accounts it was a smashing success. I’m not here to re-review one of my favorite PSN games.
Ben’s review sums it up well by stating that the game deserves to be played by everyone. I couldn’t agree more. As a matter of fact, Coconut Dodge is one of the first games I recommend people play when they ask me what the PSN has to offer. Sounds crazy, right? Let me explain why.
Coconut Dodge is masterfully designed. It is comprised of subtle stimuli that tap into our human hardwiring. Its title alone tells the player exactly how to play. Dodge coconuts. By spotting the ever-increasing score at the top-right of the screen, you intuitively know that staying alive longer leads to more points. And you always want more points. The shiny gems and gold bricks falling from the sky look alluring, and sure as eggs is eggs, they boost your points. At this point, the game is simple enough to be picked up and played by nearly everyone. But Coconut Dodge doesn’t stop there.
Warning: Playthrough Preview may contain spoilers.
Holding the X button makes Clawrence dash, so you can weave in and out of coconut traffic more wistfully. Double tapping X and holding it sends Clawrence into a turbo dash, to be used only when you need to travel great distances in a short time. The introduction of the first airborne maze might throw you for a loop, but it doesn’t take long to realize that each maze contains an easy route (to stay alive) and a hard route (to score mega points). It’s also not long before a beach ball with a number painted in the middle of it wafts onto the screen. Again, our innate human reflex to bounce a floating ball coming toward us kicks in. It sounds insane when I break it down into words, but these things exist, and they are a large part of why Coconut Dodge is such a pleasure to play. Speaking of sound, I am considering putting lyrics to the game’s main theme and recording a crooner-esque song. It’s so catchy that I find myself whistling it at least once a day. The sound effects in Coconut Dodge are also ace, turning some of the airborne mazes into somewhat of a rhythm game. Again, masterful design.
Three years after its initial release, Coconut Dodge has been given new life on the PlayStation Vita. The game looks great on the Vita’s holographic ultra-sensitized 6D enslaving screen, and button controls are really the only way to play. (I coerced my girlfriend to buy it on iOS, then scoffed at how inferior it was compared to the minis version.) The only bells and whistles added to the new version are trophies (8) and online leaderboards (main game only). I’m psyched that I can finally compare my scores with others on an interweb-scale, but I’m pretty bummed that only the main game supports leaderboards. For me, that made the other modes – Keepy Uppy, Hardcore, Impossible, Maze Master – feel a bit sterile. I still play the crap out of Keepy Uppy, but I wish I could post my score and see exactly how average I actually am at the game. It’s motivating in a weird way, which is the distilled point of leaderboards.
If you haven’t played Coconut Dodge before, now is a great time to start. It’s one of the best games I’ve played in recent years; full of simple, intuitive joy. From its sound design to its subtle sense of humor (the game cites bad luck when you lose in Maze Master), Coconut Dodge is well worth your time and money. Before you know it you’ll be simultaneously screaming at the screen and forcing yourself to have one more go.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Vita version of the game.
What I Like:
- Simple, effective
- Sound design
What I Dislike:
- Lack of Keepy-Uppy leaderboards