Does a perceptibly peculiar point and click puzzle pique your interest? Well it should! The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo is an artfully crafted puzzle game designed by the famed artist and director Nacho Rodriguez and developed by Gammera Nest. The real and the absurd entangle together into a wholly unique point and click puzzle. Will you be able to put Mr. Coo back together again?
Calling The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo unique is an understatement, calling it normal is completely wrong. The adventure starts with Mr. Coo as a creation of the great Axolotl in the sky (also seen as a pair of magician’s gloves). While chasing the forbidden fruit (okay, it’s just an apple, he’s hungry), Mr. Coo finds himself trapped in a shell waiting to be hatched by a giant chicken. After the chick escapes and seen running around in the desert, we meet two other canonical characters in the story: a large nose green satyr and a female flamenco-dressed double cyclops. Ruining the fun of desert life, a large pesky gator enters and cuts Mr. Coo into three large pieces. The angry old janitor (who seems to have some beef with the mystical Axolotl), takes Mr. Coo away and vacuums him up into a dungeon. It is then that the real story starts, with finding and rescuing all of Mr. Coo’s parts and saving your other friends.
Trust me when I say, after playing many “puzzle” games that call themselves a puzzle game only to be a set of linear tasks, that The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo IS a puzzle game. It gives you a set of options that must be performed in the correct order. Other games may seem like puzzles, but don’t allow you to perform certain actions before you complete previous tasks. The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo allows you to explore the world without actually progressing. It can be frustrating at times because you may not understand what to do next and are furiously clicking around, but once something clicks, the game becomes a domino effect of realization. Memory plays a key role in The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo; when exploring you’ll find odd situations and actions that hint at a solution, you’ll then set the situation aside and work on another puzzle farther down the area, seemingly forgetting what you were doing previously. The puzzle you were working on somehow completes, though, and involves the other situation, and suddenly you know what to do next!
As absurd the world can be, the puzzles in The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo are still easy to understand. This is probably due to the fact that objects and actions within the game mimic the real world. The bottles and springs act like bottles and springs. Some objects are of course a little exaggerated (or completely made up, like the pull engine thought bubble), but their actions still make sense. The only other game that involves the wacky with the logical is the previous game I reviewed: Lost in Play. While the art style is more focused, the silly and absurd is still there. The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo isn’t a long game, having completed it in a couple hours, but it was a highly enjoyable couple of hours, as compared to games that draw out gameplay for the sake of drawing out gameplay. The production quality in each minute is top-notch, so you won’t feel betrayed when the game ends sooner than later. Honestly, a shorter game is the way to go. Give me a streamlined, focused emotional experience and leave me wanting more, rather than a game that “gets good after the first 10 hours.” Mr. Coo has no intention to waste your time or fill it with meaningless actions.
It’s keen to mention at The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo’s current state, there are quite a few bugs. What seems to be the problem is the rapidity of actions. If a full animation isn’t complete or if you click around too much, then the game may freeze, causing you to restart (luckily it saves at important checkpoints, making it easy to get back to where you were). You can still finish the game fully, these bugs just break your puzzle-solving flow. According to the official The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo account, the way the game performs is because of Gammera Nest, not due to the design and work of the designer/artist/director, Nacho Rodriguez. Because of this, and because The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo is such a charming game otherwise, my score for the game won’t be affected.
Okay I’ll be honest with you: it’s the noses that got me. Who could say no to cartoon characters with giant floppy nostrils? The art in The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo is phenomenal. By pitting the real with the absurd makes the world appear much more realistic. Every nook and cranny in the world has been given attention, especially when exploring the trash dungeons. Scenes expertly flip between complicated displays of objects to a focused single area. The level loader and hint display both depict character (Axolotl/magician representing rebirth with the levels and the grimy janitor with the hints to represent rules and regulations). It’s probably best to experience the art for yourself rather than me to hack my way through a description.
The audio in The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo fits snuggly with its artistic absurdism. Most of the audio is ambient (slightly creepy) background chittering. There is also a recursive circus-like music jingle that is played throughout to tie the segments of the adventure together. The sound effects give good positive feedback and make some actions feel even sillier than they are.
In summary: Great puzzle design mixed with delightful art and quirky audio. A tasty little morsel to dive into.
Jordan played The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo on PC with a review key. The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo is also available for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, and Xbox One.