Masterpiece? Woah there, Nelly – that’s quite the statement to open this The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo review with, but it’s to grab your attention without being clickbait. Oh wait, you already clicked. Nevertheless, this game by Nacho Rodriguez, developed by Gammera Nest and published by Meridiem Games, is bloody marvellous. Go on, treat yourself to a few minutes of messy analogies and sentence structure and weigh up if you should buy it or not.
Announced on Steam back when cell animation was just an idea, The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo was a pleasant jaw-dropper. It had all the charm of hand-drawn animation yet was supposedly an interactive game. What’s this? Point and click? Yes, please! But these types haven’t faired well in the past, irrespective of the cult status of games such as Dragon’s Lair or Space Ace. Then again, it’s not that sort of game.
The premise is simple: Mr. Coo is hungry and wants the apple that has miraculously appeared before him. Jumping down that pomoideae rabbit hole, he enters a surreal world where, eventually, he’s dismembered and has to locate all his bits, hence the title. But this isn’t a huge adventure where you’ll need to stock up on the G-Fuel – it’s painstakingly hand-drawn, and as a result, it’s over in one sitting.
The Many Pieces Of Mr. Coo Review (PS4)
The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo will likely impress on the surface. It looks incredible, and the orchestral pieces throughout are perfect; sometimes understated, other times a booming opus. Gameplay-wise? It’s simplistic and, though linear, not a conventional point and click. From my side of the fence, this is a selling point as the focus is more on discovery than problem-solving.
There are no inventory options or verb wheels. As this review copy was for the PS4, the game was played entirely on a DualSense and worked fine. QTEs don’t apply, so there isn’t any urgency to move the controller, and while you might end up pixel hunting in some scenes, it’s never really frustrating as there’s more time to admire the illustrations, et al.
When a point of interest can be fiddled with, the cursor will change, and without any other options, it’s easy to navigate through the game. However, The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo plays up to the surrealism aspect and advancing to a new area might not be as intuitive as one may think. Again, the emphasis is on discovery more than everything else as inanimate objects morph into Dali-like characters, and scenes link to one another like psychedelic transitions.
You Wanna Piece O’ Me?
As an animation fan, I love the presentation. I recall comparing it to Pixar’s Night and Day, but it has a European flavour and has a scent of some 60s shorts I can’t remember the titles of. Visually, it’s a masterpiece (albeit art is subjective), but the gameplay was more on rails with the occasional absurd setpiece. A hints book is present in most scenes should you get stuck, and to be fair, you may need this to move forward.
Alas, The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo has some technical issues. My playthrough crashed twice, so I could not interact with anything on the screen. In the latter crash, it was during the penultimate scene and comparing it to what should have happened, it was bizarre how the game got to that point. The loading times were also quite frequent and a teeny bit sluggish.
With all the rotten parts of the apple exposed, I absolutely loved The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo. It’s a stunning display of artistic talent, a unique storytelling experience bordering the avant-garde, and conceptually, it was a refreshing experience. My only beef with it (and no, it wasn’t the loading times, crashes or gameplay) was the length. If it only it were feature-length rather than a short film…