Cocoto Magic Circus Review (iPhone)

Game Review: Cocoto Magic Circus
Release: March 03, 2010
Genre: Tap and shoot arcade shooter
Developer: Eurocenter
Available Platforms: iPhone and iPod Touch ver. 3.0 or later
Players: 1-2
MSRP: $3.99
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+

Originally released as a Wii game, Cocoto Magic Circus is the second game in the Cocoto series. Cocoto Magic Circus is a cute, cartoony tap-and-shoot arcade game. Your main goal is to eliminate the bad guys and rescue your fairy friend.

From the intro video

The story can seem a little tough to understand as you only have a cut scene at the start and end of the game. From the initial video when you load the game, Cocoto and friends discover a Magic Circus. Upon arrival, a clown puts on a little juggling act and snatches Pixie, your little fairy friend. It is up to you to stop the bad guys and retrieve the fairy. With your dart gun in hand, you select one of four characters – Cototo, Shiny, Neuro, or Baggy, and visit five challenging locations – Abyss, Volcano, Atlantis, Jungle, and Heaven.

As you enter the magical circus tent, you are presented with various mini games. At their core, the mini games require you to shoot enemies; either in their physical form, or a picture that resembles them. To shoot, simply tap the screen relative to the target. As mentioned before, there are a total of 5 locations you visit. Within each, you are given 7 mini games to complete. That’s a total of 35 games in single player! However, not every game is unique. Games will be repeated, but when they are, you are given a new target to hit that is common to that location. To start each game, the scary clown will pop up and show you the target(s) you are required to shoot. A mini game consists of shooting a certain amount of targets within a given timeframe. Each game requires,  you to either shoot oncoming enemies before they reach you, before they reach Pixie, or multiple matching target games. If you don’t hit the required targets before the time limit, you will lose a life and have the option to retry. To gain new lives, a bonus round will appear that will require you to shoot golden apples. Throughout each game, red and green balloons float across the screen. Be sure to avoid random red balloons as they will negatively affect your shooting or time. Green balloons are good and will give you extra incentives. At the end of each location, a boss will appear where you must continue shooting him until he dies.

Shoot enemies

The greatest thing about this game is the easy pick-up-and-play controls.  See a target? Tap it and your dart gun will shoot. Quick games allow you to pull out your device and play a few games while you’re bored. When you are finished the single player component, jump online and play a round of three games against another player in real time. Before and after each round, you may chat with your opponent. No one online, or don’t feel like playing another person? Play against the computer. When searching for an opponent and no one is online, you can set the game to notify you in-game when someone else is looking. If you have friends that play, or want to play someone again, there is a friends list hidden in the community balloon.

The biggest improvement this game needs is more precision in the controls. It’s frustrating when you know you’ve hit a target, but the game doesn’t think you did. Usually you know the crosshair is in fact on the target but it seems to miss slightly or not recognize the hit. I find the best way to hit the target is to tap with the flat part of your thumb instead of quickly tapping it with part of your thumb.

My overall thoughts:

I played Cocoto Magic Circus on my iPhone 3G. The game, for the most part, ran smoothly. Loading times were quick, or instant when starting a game. During the initial boot, the game would hang before showing the main menu, but after that, it ran smoothly. The overall presentation of the game surprised me as it is quite humorous. From the opening cut scene and the music throughout the game, I thought I was watching a Saturday morning cartoon. Although you won’t always find someone online, I found the online matches work well even on the edge network. Even with the occasional imprecise controls, it’s hard not to recommend Cocoto Magic Circus. As an introductory price, the game was released for only $0.99, but now at $3.99, there still seems to be more content and replay value then other games at this price. Check out the mobile version of Cocoto Magic Circus available only on the iTunes app store.

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