Coconut Dodge is a cheap, lighthearted and highly addictive game that has the potential to take dozens of hours of your life.
The PlayStation Minis were supposed to be cheap, engaging and highly replayable titles, but in the end, the initiative ended up being quite disappointing. Although there are dozens of games available as part of the PlayStation Minis collection, most of them are poor conversions of iOS or Android titles. In addition and for some reason, Sony didn’t promote the initiative and as a consequence, many players are still not very familiar with it. Thankfully, Coconut Dodge represents everything you can expect from a Mini: this is a cheap, simple, lighthearted and highly addictive game that has the potential to take dozens of hours of your life.
In Coconut Dodge you control a little crab which is supposed to dodge incoming coconuts (hence the name of the game.) If a coconut hits it, you lose a life and if you lose all three, the game is over. In addition to dodging, you need to keep accruing pieces of gold and various treasures (pearl necklaces, rubies and so on) that fall from the top of the screen in order to get more points. Additionally, there are also two types of beach balls that may be bounced an x number of times to pop them. Popping yellow balls translates into more bonus points and the more times the ball is bounced, the higher the extra points obtained. Then, there are blue balls which can be popped to slow coconuts down, making the game a little bit easier.
The core action becomes frantic really quick as items fall faster the longer you play. To alleviate this, you can press the x button to move faster and by double tapping it, the crab performs a super turbo. Otherwise, following the hectic action would have been simply impossible. The super turbo move is a requirement to complete certain mazes which are particularly difficult. Furthermore, if you press the circle button the crab moves slower and the triangle can be used to dig into the sand. The latter is quite risky because once the crab disappears underground you don’t know where he’ll dig up again. Finally, at specific points during the game, a Viking helmet appears and if you manage to catch it, you can smash coconuts for extra points. Although this item makes you invincible, it doesn’t last too long.
Coconut Dodge may not have a wide variety in modes, but thankfully, most of the ones included are highly replayable. In the main mode, you dodge coconuts and get points as you try to catch treasures. As you advance, more mazes are unlocked and these can be replayed again in the Maze Master mode. Mazes are puzzle games in which you need to get items at the same time you dodge coconuts. In addition, you need to get a specific number of points in order to effectively beat each maze. As a consequence, making it to the end doesn’t guarantee that you have beaten the maze. Usually, these mazes encourage you to learn a very specific pattern that makes use of most moves, so at first, trial-and-error will be necessary to proceed.
The updated version of the game also features some additional modes. In the first one, you need to pop as many balls as possible without letting even one drop (note that this needs to be done at the same time you dodge coconuts and grab gold.) The second one also features beach balls. Here, the first ball needs to be bounced once; the second one requires you to bounce it two times and so on. Eventually, you’ll be juggling multiple beach balls at the same time and keeping up with all of them becomes quite challenging. Finally, there is an impossible mode which is exactly the same as the main one, except that you have one life instead of three.
What’s really surprising about Coconut Dodge is that even though the game’s formula is extremely simple, the overall experience is solidly addictive. Even if you keep dying over and over, you’ll still stubbornly continue playing just one more game. Additional modes would have been a great addition, but the goals Coconut Dodge sets out to achieve are done consistently well. If you can find this game at a low price, definitely buy it, for that would be a purchase you won’t regret.
Editor’s Note: This review is based on the 2.0 version of Coconut Dodge which features some additional bonuses including the fact that the player has three lives in the main mode. Additionally, three hidden modes and some other minor tweaks (like subtle sound effects) have been added. Those who have purchased the old version can re-download the game to get the new one.