N Amer - 06/29/2007
Cookie & Cream Review
If there is one game to show off all of the unique features of the Nintendo DS, Cookie & Cream could be the one. The game is played on both screens at the same time with touch-screen controls. The internal microphone is put to use and the game even includes WiFi multiplayer, locally and globally. However, all of these features feel crammed together to make a game instead of being core elements of the game. One minute you will be singing the praises of the game and in an instant you’ll be wishing for mercy.
The game is based upon an obscure PS2 game titled The Adventures of Cookie & Cream released several years ago. The game centers upon two rabbits, Cookie & Cream, who were about to celebrate in the Moon Festival when suddenly the moon disappeared. A stranger soon offered to them the opportunity to save the moon to restore the Moon Festival. The stranger transported Cookie & Cream to a mysterious island where clues of the moon’s disappearance could be found. The stranger advised Cookie & Cream that they must work together or the Rabbit Clan will remain in darkness forever.
The basic gameplay of Cookie & Cream is one part platformer and one part-touch screen puzzler. Controlling Cookie is the platform portion, which is played out on the top screen, by moving Cookie with the directional pad and jumping on creatures or switches. Once you’ve jumped on a switch the bottom screen with Cream will disappear and a puzzle will appear. Usually these puzzles range from touching portions of the screen to spin a wheel, grabbing a rope or even blowing into the microphone. But the game doesn’t stop once you’ve activated a puzzle switch because Cookie can still be controlled or even attacked on the top screen. Certain puzzles even require you to move Cookie at certain times that correspond to activating or solving a puzzle on the touch screen. If you miss your opportunity to make a jump or move at just the right moment you’ll need to keep working on the touch-screen puzzle, which could be bad news for Cookie.
The game ditches the whole life force/hearts vitality setup usually found in platformers. Instead Cookie & Cream focuses upon time as the life meter for the game. If Cookie runs out of time then the game is over. You can earn additional increments of time by either picking up a silver or gold watch. The silver watch provides 20 increments of time while the gold watch provides 50 increments of time. You will need to collect as many watches as possible since any damage Cookie takes will reduce your time meter by 20 increments. So not only is the clock ticking down as you play the game but you will keep losing time each time you’re hurt.
On paper this premise seems very interesting because you’re doing more than just running around jumping on monsters. The game will always keep you alert by having you switch from platform mode to puzzle mode in a heartbeat. But the puzzles in the game can range from overly simplistic to utterly confusing just as fast. I found myself mindlessly touching everything on the touch screen with the stylus to figure out a puzzle with no luck. Even clicking on the help button offered little assistance since it told me to tap the touch screen. Yeah, I figured that part out. The entire time you're trying to figure out the “solution” for the puzzle, or the right place and way to tap the touch screen, Cookie is getting pummeled. More damage means less time, which leads to 'let’s continue that section again and again and again.' Now I’m not expecting a full featured tutorial on how to solve every puzzle/touch screen portion of the game. I think a little bit more insight would have saved my touch screen from looking like a cheese grater hit it.
Even with these frustrating portions of the game Cookie & Cream can still be a fun filled experience for DS owners. The combination of platform/puzzle game is a great idea that I’m sure will keep growing on the DS. The game does a great job of trying to keep you interested in the game by offering a co-op mode where you and friend can play together to beat the eight worlds in the game. There is even a collection of 20 mini games, called Battle mode, where you and three other players can compete in a race to solving various puzzles in the game. You can even play a few levels of a co-op game and Battle Mode with a friend with just one copy of the game. If you look past the blemishes Cookie & Cream can be an entertaining title for DS owners; just don’t look too hard.
|Review Scoring Details for Cookie & Cream|
The game can sometimes feel like a jumbled mess of too much happening at one time, especially for a platform game. The puzzle elements are there but the platform portion is the core experience.
Cookie & Cream will not win any awards for best graphics for the DS but you still get a bright and colorful title. The visuals are the standard N64 3D visuals we’ve seen all too often in DS games.
Nothing in the sound effects or music will keep your ears perked but nothing that will have you looking to lower the volume.
A few more subtle clues on some of the puzzles would have kept the difficulty in the easy category.
Cookie & Cream does an excellent job of using all of the features of the DS, especially in a platforming game. The game shows off what can be done if you really want to make a DS game.
The game features plenty of multiplayer options considering it could be what some gamers describe as a low-key release. Single-card co-op play all the way to full Wi-Fi Battle mode with four players should please anyone looking for an extensive multiplayer experience for the DS.
Cookie & Cream is a game that could be described as falling in the middle. It could have been better with an easier puzzle section for certain parts of the game, while it could have been worse without all of the great features. It’s hard to really knock the game because it tries so hard to do so much while stumbling to do it just right.
Innovation is both a gift and a burden when it comes to Cookie & Cream for the Nintendo DS
Review Date: 07/10/2007