Cocoto Magic Circus was first introduced as a Wii Shooter. This time, it has been ported over to the iPhone and iPod Touch. This review is based on the handheld iPhone version. Cocoto Magic Circus is kind of like an arcade shooter with series of mini-games. You go from stages to stages completing tasks to proceed while failing in doing so results in a lost in life. The game is now out for $0.99 at your local appstore for a limited time.
Cocoto Magic Circus has a simple storyline behind it. A mysterious and evil clown kidnapped Pixie, the fairy. You guessed it right; it is your mission to aid Cocoto and his friends to save Pixie. Unfortunately, things are not that simple for you will find yourself trapped inside the evil circus. As such, shoot your way through different stages to finally reach the evil clown and save Pixie. The story is told with animated scenes for the beginning and end; a very nice touch to the game.
There are two ways to play the game, online and offline. I’ll talk about the offline part of the game first. Basically you have the options to choose from the main arcade mode or the training mode. Training mode allows you to practice the different mini shooting games that you will be facing in the arcade mode. There is not much need to do so since instructions are extremely straightforward and will be given before each stage starts. Nonetheless, you can specifically play and perhaps challenge your friends in some of the challenges that are of better fun and uniqueness.
With that aside, the arcade mode simply proceeds through stages. You get to choose from 4 different characters to play with and there are 5 main stages with around 7 mini levels within each. There are a variety of mini games but most of the objectives are repeated with just different enemies and environment. Still, the fun still maintains throughout the whole game as you shoot your way through the stages. There are levels where you have to shoot enemies approaching the fairy, shoot cards that matches whatever the computer wants you to shoot, timing shots to shoot enemies when they are near a certain object etc. The freshness of the game is done by adjusting and modifying little bits of the stages. Therefore even when the objectives are similar, you will always find something new for example some enemies walk in a manner that is rather hard to shoot in the later stages etc.
You get to face a boss at the very end of each main stage. The bosses aren’t particularly hard to kill. The simple skill is to spam shooting at him whenever possible. This however results in lower accuracy and thus lesser points in that particular aspect. Nonetheless, you will be able to clear the boss in no time. There are power-ups/downs within the game as well. These come in balloons where you can shoot within the level. Some gives you bonus multiplier to your score and others might alter the game to make it more difficult for example re-orientating the whole level upside down etc. There are 3 difficulty settings you are able to choose from: easy, medium and hard. Basically the harder the difficulty the more you have to shoot within a shorter time frame.
You get points at the end of each level adding to a main total when you finish the game. Not sure what the score is for since there is no highscore board of any sorts for the offline mode I believe. You are given a certain number of lives and can be increased by scoring well n the bonus stages after every main stage. Shooting is done by the simple tapping of your finger at the spot where you want to shoot your dart gun at. Controls are responsive and smooth, making the game a whole lot more enjoyable.
The online mode pits you against other players competing to see who can get the highest score possible after a series of mini-games. You get to play the same few mini-games from the offline mode but instead of simply playing against yourself, you are now competing with another live opponent. For example there is a mini-game that its objective is to shoot as many enemies as you can. You and your opponent is placed in the same field thus if he shoot that same particular enemy you are shooting and he does it in a quicker manner, you will be losing out in that enemy and thus your points. At the very end the person with the highest points wins. The online multiplayer is very fun and competitive, taking the game to a whole new level.
I tried the online multiplayer a few times and all I have to say that it is superb. There isn’t much lag to the point where it makes the game unplayable. Everything seemed to run smoothly and fine. I have one question however is perhaps to have some kind of statistics implemented into the game which would make it a whole lot more complete.
Graphics and sound effects are great as well. The 3D graphics are fantastic for me and pleasing to the eye. The colours used, environments and atmosphere created is simply magnificent. I love how the sound effects are used as well. It gives you the kind of arcade feeling like as if you walked into an arcade hearing all the bleeps and bloops. Everything matches very well to emphasize the overall theme of the game. Kudos to the animated videos added in at the start and the end of the whole game; a very nice touch that is well appreciated.
The major flaw of the game is the repetitiveness. Though it may be fun, the fun doesn’t last if you were to go for a second play-through in the single player mode. There ought to be much more variety in the game modes and though I did say the tweaks were rather good, it is better to have completely different concept/objectives for it keeps the game ultimately fresh throughout. Other than that, there isn’t much more to complain about.
It is currently priced at $0.99 for a limited time. If you love those shooting mini-game styled games, get Cocoto Magic Circus while it is still at that fantastically cheap price. If you’re looking for generic fun, get it as well. For such a price and such a quality game it is extremely hard to resist. Who knows that they might add in add-ons in future which might include much more new levels and types of mini-games?
NOTE: There is some lag present when playing the game with a 1st generation iPod Touch. The lag comes whenever the screen gets clotted up with a certain number of enemies etc. It is bearable and does not make the game unplayable.
iTunes Appstore Link: Cocoto Magic Circus