Point N Click adventures can take many forms. Some require mass inventories whereas others are about observing your environment and triggering events like a machine. Harking back to the very beginning of these types of adventures, like Dragon’s Lair, is The Many Pieces of Mr Coo. This game plays out like an interactive cartoon, and a surrealist one at that. Its brings big personality, heart, artistic design and abstract ideas and yet when it comes to solving puzzles, its as clever and direct as games come.
Mr Coo doesn’t start off in pieces but he’ll be in them by half way through the game. Instead, he gets obsessed chasing an apple or a prize. The whole story is full of evocative imagery and you can dive deep into it if you want to (and I did) but you can also let the madcap nature of the game wash over you. Mr Coo chases after the apple as a magicians glove causes havoc and an hour glass keeps turning over courtesy of an old mans shadow. The 1930’s style hand drawn sketch art is beautifully scanned and put together to create an animation that’s scrappier than Cuphead but equally as charming. I’m reminded of Steamboat Mickey visually but Mr Coo has more in line with comedic silent movies and Laurel and Hardy. There is so much emotion pouring from a simple face, Mr Coo is endearing.
There is no inventory as such in this point n click adventure. Instead, every action is triggered by the environment and moving a cursor around. Most of the time the cursor will change to a clickable version of itself to show what can be interacted with but that isn’t the case for moving around platforms and screens. Most puzzles require interacting with objects in a certain order and sometimes at a certain time. There is a puzzle where you are riding a runaway chick and whilst the cartoon loops around over and over, you are free to move around the strip working out what to trigger and then when. Yes, you can die in this game but the opportunities to do so are rare and the penalty is minor. As the quirky world and its characters do their best to act like Dumbo’s drug sequence, a toy piano led rickety rackety circus infused brassy jazz soundtrack plays out to make things even more surreal and bizarre. The game nails its aesthetic and every frame and sound is a joy to bask in.
The Many Pieces of Mr Coo isn’t a long game but the games length is extremely subjective. You could complete it in around 45 minutes with a guide but in doing so you’d miss out on a lot of the games charm. Clicking on things and finding alternative animations or alternative reactions is all part of the fun. I did get stuck a couple of times but when I did, it was because I’d missed something in the environment. When an abstract and surreal puzzle game grounds its puzzles in something easy to understand, it makes the whole game more enjoyable so you can soak in the experience. A hint system is available that tells you how to pass a level like an instructions manual, and whilst I chose to not use it on my playthrough, it will help you leapfrog a puzzle or two. Once the game is completed, you can play it through a second time collecting over 100 pieces of concept art, which was a great bonus.
If I were to be critical, my only mild complaint was that on the PS5 version I ran into a bug where in one screen, I managed to get to somewhere I shouldn’t have been able to early and it caused the camera to get stuck, requiring a restart. I also thought the game could have had an extra puzzle or two utilising the different pieces of Mr Coo working together to solve puzzles. That’s a minor niggle though as every moment of this game was a joy to play. Small but perfectly formed, this is a point n click adventure I think most gamers could approach and enjoy. I had a grin on my face throughout and its all down to a game that dares to make its personality shine in every frame, pixel and sound. Bravo.
The Many Pieces of Mr Coo
A shining example of style and substance to make a uniquely enthralling point n click adventure.
Visually and audibly superb - full of character and charm.
Evokes comedic timing of silent films.
Whilst the world is abstract and surreal, the puzzles themselves make a lot of sense.
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