The Many Pieces of Mr Coo review – a brief but fun burst of Spanish surrealism | Games

Mr Coo has a problem: he’s in pieces. Three of them, to be precise, and before you have a chance to consider whether that really qualifies as “many”, you find yourself tugging on a pensive demon’s thoughts to make it turn into a raincloud. You need it to rain on the plant pot where Mr Coo’s apple has turned itself back to a seed.

Even by point-and-click adventure standards, the puzzles and scenarios here are odd. This short burst of surrealism from the Spanish director and animator Nacho Rodríguez has the feeling of a half-forgotten cartoon you watched on holiday when you were a kid, and its constant artistic flourishes are absolutely the main event here. Solving the puzzles is secondary – like Mr Coo himself, pulling at a lever to make an old Punch and Judy show kick into life, you often feel as if your role is simply to interact with things in order to motor along more gorgeous, dreamlike visuals.

And you are happy to do so, because every new scene is such a delightful cavalcade of jazz, surrealist painting, Monty Python collage and mid-20th century cartoons. It’s just a joy to spend time with a game that is this well-read, this aware of the broader landscape beyond gaming. It makes you feel clever and sophisticated for clicking on apples and tricking monkeys into falling down holes, even though your average Monkey Island game has far more going on in the mechanics of its puzzles.

The joy is only fleeting, because that is the nature of the game itself. Less than an hour after you first set eyes on the main menu, it’s all over and you are left thinking about the striking amorality of the characters, the acts of violence that punctuate the levity, and the fact you paid north of £15 for this. As a pure value proposition it is hardly going toe-to-toe with Skyrim. Even more confrontationally, Mr Coo deletes all your progress if you quit before reaching the end. You will complete it in one sitting, or else you will start from the beginning. And that will be fine, because there is an immeasurable satisfaction in waltzing through puzzles that stumped you last night. Still, it’s unconventional.

Experiences such as this don’t come along very often: titles that pull from disparate influences that other games haven’t already done to death, and bob along on a dream logic that makes sense while you play and then evaporates immediately after. Why did stealing a coin from that one-eyed lady end up giving you a sword to slay a many-eyed crocodile? And how did you end up inside that egg with an unborn chick? It matters not. They are vivid memories now, the kind your brain will randomly turn over, decades down the line when you are trying to get to sleep.

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