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About the game
The Cookie and Cream is a platform and puzzle game for the Nintendo DS.
Published in 2007 by 505 Games the story is based around two cute rabbits called Cookie and Cream. The story goes something like this -
The two rabbits were looking forwards to participating in their annual Moon Festival when the sky went dark and the festival was cancelled. On their way home a bird flew to them and told them that they must go to a mysterious island called aptly Mysterious Island (!) where they must solve clues to find parts of the moon and restore normality. The Mysterious Island is laid with traps and obstacles that the rabbits must overcome.
Teamwork is the order of the day here and Cookie is sent off to explore the island (with the messenger bird attached to his hat!) whilst Cream is despatched to the trap control centre where he/she must control the obstacles that Cookie will encounter.
The scene is set, let's play!
The game makes good use of the Nintendo's dual screen layout and Cookie is displayed in the mysterious island landscape on the top screen whilst Cream is on the lower DS screen within trap tower.
The game progresses through a series of stages that are performed against the clock which counts down in the top screen. Should your time run out then your game is over. Within each stage there are floating clock items that when collided with will add extra time to your clock; however events such as being attacked by enemies or drowning in a lake will deplete your time.
I don't wish to document the whole game so I will explain the events of the first couple of stages as the game play continues in the same style throughout, although the mini challenges do become increasingly challenging.
The first stage is quite straightforward and you have 100 seconds to get from the start posts to the finish posts (called goal posts).
Cookie hops across the deliciously coloured 3d landscape and is confronted with a drawbridge that is in the up position and impossible to cross. In front of the drawbridge is a red button and when Cookie jumps on this button a mini challenge is presented to Cream in trap tower.
The first mini challenge isn't really a challenge at all and is simply a matter of tapping a blue button on the lower screen and the drawbridge is lowered and Cookie can proceed. It's worth mentioning that each mini challenge is performed against the clock and a small egg timer is displayed alongside the challenge controls to show you how much time you have left to complete the challenge. If you fail to complete the challenge then you can re attempt it by getting Cookie to jump on the button for a second time. This may make completing the stage sound easy as you can have multiple tries though this is not the case as you are still wasting valuable time off the main countdown timer.
Whilst crossing the drawbridge you will see a log that protrudes from the surrounding water and on top there is a clock icon. If you jump off the bridge and land on the log then the clock item will add extra seconds to your countdown timer. If you miss the log then you will fall in the water and lose seconds from your countdown clock and will be placed back in the position you were prior to the jump.
Fortunately Cookie has a bird on his hat and can glide through the air towards the intended destination. He also casts a shadow as he is in the air so it is quite easy to judge your landing point. Players of the old Nintendo 64 classic Banjo Kazooie will be totally at ease with the controls and note quite a few similarities between the two games.
Once you have collected you extra time power up and jumped back on the bridge you are then faced with a second challenge; there is a crocodile asleep in your path. Fortunately there is another red button to jump on and this time Cream in trap tower must pull a rope with the stylus which moves the crocodile safely out of Cookies way!
Scattered along your path are wildlife and predators. Luckily you can despatch these by a careful aimed jump on their heads! This serves two purposes; it clears your path and adds points to your score.
With the crocodile safely behind you there is a 3 tower that you must climb and at its peak there is a second power up clock that once again adds time to your countdown timer. Unfortunately it is at this stage that you first encounter a violent bird of prey that hovers over your head and saps some of your time. Avoiding this predator is difficult if indeed possible.
The bird of prey flies away and in front of you there are a couple of small islands that cannot be jumped across as they are too far away. Fortunately there is another red button that when jumped on asks Cream to rotate a small wheel with the stylus that raises logs out of the water that can be used to safely hop across the island. In this area there are also a couple more clock power ups that can be collected. Once you have jumped across the islands to the shore you have then reached the goal and the first stage has been completed.
At the end of each stage you are shown a summary of how long the stage took to complete, a record of your previous best time (if you have played the level before) and the amount of points scored in the level.
The next stage follows the same concept with mini challenges such as pushing buttons and cutting ropes as solutions. It's in the second level that the first element of strategy is introduced and there is a challenge where Cream must spin a wheel to a precise location to enable Cookie to progress. This kind of puzzle strategy is where the game really comes to life as the latter stage mini challenges require quick action and thought if you wish to proceed.
Once you have completed the stages in a level you are then faced with the obligatory boss level where the team of rabbits must work in harmonious unison to defeat the enemy. I find these levels the hardest as controlling both rabbits simultaneously can be really difficult. Once you have defeated the boss then the Level is complete and you can progress to the next level and its series of even more difficult stages.
There are forty stages in total and these are spread over 8 levels (called Worlds in the game) and these provide hours of entertainment.
So that's the game explained, but fortunately there is more!
After you have earned sufficient points throughout the stages you can use the points accrued to play fun mini-games. The mini games are quick challenges that you will have already encountered, such as boss levels, but they are still a nice addition to the cartridge.
It is difficult playing 2 rabbits at once, and luckily the game has wireless mode where you can play wirelessly with a friend and each player can control either Cookie or Cream. This mode of play brings a further lease of life to the game and makes game play even more fun.
Sound, control and graphics
The music in the game is your standard computer generated tune that is quite pleasant though in all honesty you'll be so engrossed in the challenges that you'll probably not notice it. The other sounds such as drowning, being attacked and flying are all quite good and add to the enjoyment of the game.
The game uses all of the Nintendo's controls to good effect. The main character is moved around the screen using the D-Pad and buttons whereas the mini challenges use the touch screen and microphone to good effect. The controls are responsive and work well, though can be difficult to use at times due to the multitasking required (particularly in boss levels).
The graphics are brilliant. They are really bright and colourful and all of the landscapes are vibrant and add a sparkle to the games appeal. On some levels the graphics obscure important items required for game progression though I expect that this intentional and adds to the games challenge.
The game has the right balance of puzzle and platform game and it is a joy to play.
Admittedly, the mini challenges can become a little repetitive after hours of play and the multitasking required in boss levels can prove a little difficult. However the game looks good and has great playability and longevity. Add to this the fun of team play in wireless mode and you have an enjoyable game.
Undoubtedly the most fun that you can have with a pair of rabbits!
© M Jones (Otalgia) 2008