Coqui the Game is a video game for the Wii U eShop. The game is specifically for the Wii U GamePad, but we will get to that in a moment. Coqui the Game (actually written CoquiTheGame) features a coqui venturing through colorful lands, facing an assortment of enemies and collecting butterflies and other trinkets along the way. It was developed by AR Team One, which is a team of one person. Is Coqui the Game worth your time and money? In short, I will say not yet. But I do see potential here both from the developer and the game in possible updates that would make a world of difference. And I say not yet, because the game is a passion project from the developer, who I hope takes into consideration what I say about the game to vault it higher than a double jump by Coqui.
This platformer is played exclusively on the GamePad. I was thrown for a loop when I first played it, thinking something happened to my console or TV. The volume plays on the TV along with the GamePad, but the game is only seen through the GamePad screen. Not quite sure why this is, and it is something that should be mentioned in the eShop page rather than just saying that it “supports off-TV play”. I also find it odd that if it is to be played exclusively on the GamePad, that the entire screen is not used with letterbox on the sides removing some landscape. But again, more on that momentarily.
Coqui starts with a basic story and puts the player on an overhead map similar to Super Mario World. From there, they choose a level, complete, and proceed. You play as a frog that jumps and swims, and faces different animal enemies and the occasional boss. You jump along collecting butterflies, sometimes jumping on an enemy, and doing your best to not get hit more than three times or else you start over. If you lose your lives, it’s game over. So be sure to save as you go.
A youthful game in appearance, Coqui the Game is actually rather difficult from the start. This could be appealing to some, but I reached out to the developer initially with an offer to review the game having a different opinion. It looks as if it would be something that my child could get into, which would be great as an introductory platformer. The coqui jumps along in bright levels and cheerful music. But instead, different aspects make it a game that starts with a steep learning curve and aspects that make it unnecessarily unforgiving. This is not the type of difficulty I’d like to see from Coqui, since it is so inviting on the surface. If I could make a request, it would be that some steps be taken to make the game more approachable – at least from the start. No, I am not wanting my or my child’s hand held. Let me explain. The character hops and also double hops with B. This is something most platformers are known for. Pressing X and a direction while jumping causes the coqui to slam down to the ground. I discovered this without a prompt after a lot of button variations, which is something that should be introduced in the level. Swimming, as fun as it is, allows the coqui to breathe a large bubble that harms enemies when it pops. It is used with the R button, and was discovered after my second playthrough since the time ran out the first time. Why is there a timer? Unnecessary. Simply including a control scheme screen in the main menu, or even keeping all controls start with the face buttons, allows the game to be that much more approachable. Let me also speak about saving. Two save slots are available. The player must know to save at specific points on the overheard map. Not knowing this aside, the player can lose all progress in the game if they lose too many times. Not just leave their level – see a game over screen. Again, unnecessary. Simply removing the need to save manually by allowing players to start in one of the two save slots, and saving progress automatically when a level is cleared, means the amount of lives could be kept for the challenge. Just let the player return to their last completed level with a default amount of lives if they are unable to proceed. I was frustrated after completing a stage only to lose to a boss, and have to return to my save after having beaten a level beforehand. It’s enough that monkeys threw things at me faster than I could avoid them, at times from off screen. Maybe if the entire GamePad screen is used, I would see them sooner. I can enjoy a tough game, but not when it feels as if I am given a fair shake. While I am talking about enemies, knowing which ones can be taken out by hopping on them and which ones cannot is a trial and error process. I chose to elaborate on the difficulty of the game because I think with a few tweaks in an update, this game could be a lot more fun. And fun is what it’s all about. Since the game looks like it would be enjoyed the young children in my home, it would be great to see it become something they would welcome playing.
The aesthetics of Coqui the Game are pleasant. It’s fun hopping around the levels encountering collectibles and trying to hop on as many as possible to unlock a combo reward. Different enemies do more than simply walk toward the player, meaning each encounter must be considered. The music is catchy, and fitting with the visuals. Some creativity makes for pleasant surprises, like hopping inside a giant pumpkin for a reward of extra butterflies. I liked hopping around to explore the level to find all that I can, so I can unlock other levels.
Reviewing Coqui the Game is difficult, because I see that the developer put forth effort to create the game. It’s just that for a game with such youthful visuals being so difficult, I did not feel I was experiencing what I thought when getting into the game. If the developer is interested in updating Coqui the Game, I would encourage him to include a more difficult + feature that unlocks after completing the game. As fun as it is hopping around and exploring the overhead map, making the path easier to travel would mean Coqui the Game would be a more welcoming experience for all. The game shows potential in individual aspects, but the parts that make a video game fun just don’t come together as a whole to make Coqui the Game an enjoyable experience.