Much like the majority of halfway decent iPhone games, the most enjoyable Mini games on PSP offer simplicity over complexity and quick hit fun over lengthy campaigns. FuturLabs seem to have identified this fact and their first console game, Coconut Dodge, is evidence of how well it can work.
Much like Chicken Little, the hero of this game must surely be afraid to leave his rock, for fear of the sky falling. He is a crab, hence the reason why he lives under a rock, and it would appear that his armoured shell offers very little protection from the huge number of objects that are falling from the sky. But rather than run off and hide, our six legged hero can see the bright side to any situation. Not only are their potentially shell cracking coconuts falling, but there are also coins, jewels and gold raining down upon him. Not one to miss an opportunity and with dreams of a jewel encrusted shell and indoor pool under his rock, crab sets out to gather as much of the riches as possible without being squished. The fact that all of this has happened in my imagination is proof that Coconut Dodge is all about the quick hit gameplay. Who needs a story to slow everything down. Make your own up, I did.
So, as the little crab, the player is charged with simply collecting as many worthy items as possible whilst avoiding any that could do harm. There are two main forms of gameplay here. The first is just a matter of nipping from left to right, catching the good stuff and avoiding the bad. The second, known as mazes, is more or less the same, but the items fall in formation, giving the impression of a top to bottom scrolling shooter from days gone by, without the shooting of course. Occasionally a beach ball may fall onto the screen and our crab will need to bounce the ball a set number of times.
There are a couple of modes of play to keep you entertained. The main emphasis is scoring as many points as possible, and this is achieved not only by catching goodies, but also by surviving. The standard mode gives the player three lives with which to last as long as they can. Maze Master mode offers just one life and is played with the Maze levels only. There are also hardcore and impossible modes for the elite crabs out there, and a fun little ball bouncing mode.
As I already mentioned, simplicity is the name of the game. Actually the game is called Coconut Dodge, but you know what I mean. The graphics are bright and pleasing to the eye, especially on the lovely PSP screen, and above all simple. The same can be said of the sound work. The game looks and sounds good, but is all about the gameplay.
And how much fun is it? Loads. Not to be confused with a game that the player will spend hours playing in one sitting, this game is to be picked up and played for short bursts of simple, unadulterated fun. It is easy to pick up and easy to understand, but the temptation to get a better score is implanted right from the beginning. There is very little to complain about here, although the simplicity of Coconut Dodge will probably be seen as a negative by some gamers.
But, for the casual gamer looking for that next quick hit fix of gaming fun, Coconut Dodge is well worth a look.