Home » COCOON: Challenging Puzzles

COCOON: Challenging Puzzles

COCOON: Challenging Puzzles

What is COCOON

COCOON is a puzzle game released in 2023, developed by Geometric Interactive and published by Annapurna Interactive. In this game, players assume the role of a beetle capable of traversing between different worlds, challenging puzzles to uncover the enigmas of the universe. It became available on various platforms, including Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, on September 29, 2023.

How it all started

COCOON’s development started with the idea of using interconnected realm’s spatial relationships in puzzles, led by Jeppe Carlsen. After Carlsen left Playdead in 2016, full development started with composer Jakob Schmid, forming Geometric Interactive. It was originally a sidescroller, but Cocoon’s perspective shifted to top-down to enhance world traversal impact. The game’s sound design relies entirely on synthetic sounds, and certain orb designs, like the rhythm orb synced with music, were abandoned for being distracting to players.

About the game

COCOON presents an innovative twist on the puzzle adventure genre, where the essence of each world resides encapsulated within a portable orb that rests upon your shoulders. Embrace the intriguing concept of leaping between these distinct realms and apply your wits to combine, manipulate, and reconfigure them, all in pursuit of solving intricate puzzles that challenge your intellect.

Engage with alien landscapes and the remnants of a bygone, enigmatic civilization through interactions with biomechanical contraptions. Embark on an odyssey through a rich tapestry of diverse biomes, ranging from the imposing edifices of industry to the colossal, organic depths of caverns, and uncover the mysterious interconnections that bind them together.

Unlock the latent potential of each orb, transforming them into unique tools brimming with newfound capabilities. Employ these extraordinary powers to unveil concealed passages, manipulate hidden objects, launch projectiles to trigger elusive switches, and more, in your relentless quest for discovery.

Prepare for formidable encounters with formidable guardians who safeguard the sanctity of each world. Each confrontation promises a distinctive and exhilarating experience, compelling you to adapt to novel and gratifying mechanics, honing your skills with each epic battle.

Quality of the game

COCOON offers more than just its puzzles; it boasts a unique audiovisual experience as well. The visual design is strikingly crafted, featuring distinct worlds, each characterized by a clearly defined color palette. Starting from the initial orange rocky landscape to the frigid metallic expanse beyond, Erwin Kho from Geometric Interactive successfully weaves these diverse environments into a cohesive and satisfying whole. This visual consistency aids gameplay, facilitating swift transitions between worlds and helping players remember which abilities correspond to each realm.

Yet, the true unifying element is the mesmerizing soundtrack. It envelops players in an atmospheric soundscape, characterized by foreboding yet triumphant synthesizers and otherworldly sound effects. Remarkably, the music isn’t pre-recorded but dynamically generated in real-time through programmed synthesizers, ensuring a continuous stream of atmospheric tones. This quality proves invaluable when tackling the next mind-bending puzzle. Furthermore, the sound effects are crafted through synthesis, lending an otherworldly quality to every sound, whether it’s the hum of a marsh or the gusty winds atop mountain peaks, evoking a sense of the alien and the otherworldly.

COCOON’s “easiest puzzle”

COCOON, crafted by Geometric Interactive, is a puzzle enthusiast’s dream, combining minimalist gameplay with a captivating concept where players traverse between worlds encapsulated within orbs. Game designer and director, Jeppe Carlsen, revealed that designing the challenging puzzles was a natural process, whereas creating simpler ones posed a greater challenge. In COCOON, players guide a tiny beetle through a surreal, twisted sci-fi realm that seamlessly melds insect-like organic elements with industrial landscapes. The game immerses players in a continuous stream of puzzles, one after another. Again, contrary to expectations, puzzles that appear intricate and elaborate during gameplay aren’t necessarily the ones that demanded extensive refinement.

An “easy” puzzle: In the early stages of the game, when players first venture into the industrial world, they encounter a seemingly straightforward puzzle. In this scenario, two rotating doors and two switches present themselves. In the final game version, the solution appears deceptively simple: use the orb on both switches to align the doors, creating a gap through which the player can pass. Jeppe Carlsen, the game’s creator, even goes as far as to describe it as more of an “interaction” than a true puzzle due to its apparent simplicity. Surprisingly, this particular one proved to be one of the most challenging puzzles to design in the entire game.

The puzzle’s evolution: Carlsen shared insights into the puzzle’s evolution, revealing that it underwent numerous iterations despite its seemingly elementary nature. Originally, the puzzle featured a different logic for the rotating doors, somewhat similar but with a crucial difference. Initially, when you activated a switch, both doors would rotate, and you had to release the switch at precisely the right moment to align the doors in the center. Strangely enough, players found this version incredibly perplexing, spending extended periods, sometimes up to seven minutes, attempting to solve it.

Carlsen had no intention of making overly challenging puzzles. His primary goal was to allow players to smoothly navigate the world without encountering excessive complexity right from the start. The puzzle lacked the depth and intrigue to warrant being a significant hurdle for players, leading the development team to rework it. This particular puzzle underwent countless transformations. It was a lengthy process with a few development issues. It almost became an ongoing joke within the production team. However, in the end, they managed to “solve the puzzle”.

Where to find: The extensive efforts put into refining the puzzle appear to have paid off. COCOON is now available on a range of platforms, including Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, inviting players to explore its captivating world and engaging challenges.