Cocoon Review: From Geometric Interactive and Jeppe Carlson, the lead gameplay designer of Limbo and Inside, Cocoon is one of the best indie puzzle adventure games in recent years.

Cocoon Review: A Must-Play From the Lead Designer of Limbo and Inside

Recommended Videos

Watch the Review in 3 Minutes for Cocoon, one of the best indie puzzle adventure games in recent years.

Cocoon Review Transcript

Cocoon is a puzzle adventure game from Geometric Interactive and Jeppe Carlson, the lead gameplay designer of Limbo and Inside, where you explore an alien world within a world, within a world.

Cocoon gives you control of a tiny bug-like creature and has you literally jumping into and out of entire levels, nesting each one inside another as the situation permits. It’s a trippy mechanic that starts off easy enough to comprehend before going full brain-breaking as it nears its conclusion. It doesn’t depend solely on that single mechanic however, it builds classic ability-based progression into its exploration, which complements the world-hopping element in ways I dare not spoil.

If you were hoping for a thought-provoking narrative however, you may find yourself disappointed. Like many games in this genre Cocoon’s story is quite obtuse, and there’s no overarching semblance of a reason for why things are happening. That said, I never lost interest in the strange situations laid before me because of it. Things don’t feel intentionally abstract for the sake of high art. But while I still couldn’t find any meaning in the series of events, Cocoon instead lets its gameplay carry you through.

After exploring part of a location, you’ll unlock an ability you can use as you hold that area’s globe in your hands, like unveiling platforms for you to cross or swapping your location with another object. I have to commend the puzzle design for shaping progression and solutions in a way that prevents you from veering wildly off towards a wrong conclusion and getting frustratingly stuck. Bridges, switches, or other interactable elements will often clearly remove themselves once you’ve done all you can with them, subtly guiding you to focus on the tools for the answer you’re searching for. Despite that courtesy and simplistic controls consisting of just movement and a single interact button, Cocoon was consistently working my brain, and even managed to pull off a few fun boss encounters as well. There is no way to take damage in these fights, and the only sort of failure state is how bosses will simply boot you from the world and force you to start the encounter over.

A big portion of what makes Cocoon’s puzzles, bosses, and environments so enjoyable to interact with is just how truly alien everything looks and feels. I’ve had to launch myself at a boss enemy’s weakness before, but it’s never looked like how Cocoon presents it. The worlds you jump into are distinct and unsettling in an uncanny fashion. But there’s a lot of thought put into them, as you’ll instantly recognize that something is a bridge or a lever despite never having seen a bridge or lever look anything like that. The mostly ambient background music also allows the strange mashed up soundscape of futuristic chirps and larval squirming to build a distinctly otherworldly experience.

Cocoon is excellently designed, providing satisfying eureka moments at a regular clip as it methodically unveils the depths of its unique mechanics. Its 4 to 5 hour length feels just right, and if you’ve come to enjoy the slew of indie puzzle platformers and adventure games in recent years Cocoon will likely rank among some of the best. The game is out now for $24.99 on PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch. Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and included with Xbox Game Pass.


The Escapist is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Author
Image of KC Nwosu
KC Nwosu
KC Nwosu has been making video game content for nearly half a decade. He also streams with his son Starboy who has legitimately won a Mario Kart race against him.