The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo review

This animated point-and-click adventure cranks up surrealism to an almost incomprehensible level. At one point – and bear with me on this – a man with a lightbulb for a head booted his illuminated noggin through the open window of a house, which had a gleaming face, and then the house transformed into Aladin’s lamp. Then out of the lamp sprang a green demon and a red one-eyed alien with an umbrella for a head, which I had to change into a mushroom to fool a frog. If sounds like something you’d like to witness firsthand, you’ll doubtlessly relish the surreal nature of Mr. Coo.

What we have here is a very straightforward – in terms of gameplay mechanics, at least – point ‘n clicker, with no inventory and no text or dialogue. It’s a simple case of moving the cursor around to find interactive spots on the screen – which sees the cursor change into a hand – then watching Mr. Coo either interact with items or relocate to that area. If you become stuck at any point, which is highly likely due to how abstract the game world is, you’re going to be seeing the animation loops play over until finally figuring out how to progress. A good thing, then, is that Mr. Coo – an expressive, squishy, yellow fellow created by Spanish short film director Nacho Rodriguez – is lavishly animated.

Generally, items and locations need to be interacted with in a certain order. Sometimes it’s essential to listen to musical queues, too, with at least one puzzle featuring sound clips that change pitch as you make headway. If you become really stuck, a hint book is on hand, which uses doodles as explanations. It can be used as much, or as little, as you like. Ingeniously, in one early puzzle, the book must be discovered first before it can be used.

Mr. Coo’s warped tale begins with a juicy, gift wrapped, red apple. Mr. Coo would very much like to eat the apple – but there’s an outside force manipulating the world around him, altering time and perspective. This takes Mr. Coo on a twisted adventure, even placing him inside of an egg – with the chick still incubating inside. This sequence of twisted events lasts around thirty minutes or so, with animated cut-scenes along the way. My initial thought was that this was simply the game’s introduction, but it actually turned out to be the game’s first half.

The game’s second half feels more grounded. Still surreal, but less abstract. Here, Mr. Coo finds himself split into three pieces – his head, torso, and legs. The pieces of Mr. Coo. The difficulty is increased here, with the luckless lead able to swap between his head and legs – with his lower half trapped in a prison cell until being reacquainted. There are plenty of comical instances to take in, such as his legs using an exercise bike, and his bouncy bonce turning a key with his tongue.

This quest to reform Mr. Coo is spread over just a handful of screens, yet due to the step-by-step nature of puzzle solving – or trial and error, in some instances – it forms the bulk of the experience, taking a couple of hours to untangle. Once the grand finale is over, that’s your lot. With nothing in the way of collectables or unlockables, there’s not much incentive to return – other than to witness Mr. Coo’s torment all over again.

It’s easy to get the impression that The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo was put together by a small team on a limited budget – hence the lack of text and dialogue – with the majority of its development time spent drawing and animating the titular lead. The animation quality here is impressive, right down to the loading screen animation, and there are a few events likely to either surprise or prompt a chuckle. As a bona fide point ‘n click puzzle game though, this one didn’t really ‘click’ – it’s a bit too abstract for its own good, and having to watch animation loops play out repeatedly while failing to find the means to progress did irritate. Playing on Switch, a few glitches crept in too, including one sequence not transitioning to the next, and incomplete animation loops that teleported Mr. Coo around the screen in the blink of an eye.

The developers should still be proud of what they’ve created here – especially during the game’s first half, it’s a bit like playing a cartoon, reminiscent of something like Cuphead. Mr. Coo is a likeable character, too. From start to finish, you can’t help to feel sorry for the guy. But as an experience as a whole, I found it more devious than delightful, almost as if I was sharing Mr. Coo’s struggle.  

Developed by Gammera Nest, The Many Pieces of Mr. Coo is out now on all formats. Published by MERIDIEM GAMES. A physical version is also available for PS5 and Switch.