I always love discovering old video game franchises that I never knew about, so delving into the history of the Cocoto series as part of my research for this review was most intriguing.
Even more intriguing is the fact that what should be a dire comeback - a Breakout revival, for goodness's sake - is in fact a wonderful, innovative take on the classic genre.Gogoto
You play Cocoto, a small and nimble creature who has been tasked with defending the planet from an alien invasion.
He does so with his shield, bouncing enemy bullets back at the invaders while also grabbing power-ups to make his shield that little bit more powerful.
At its core, Cocoto is a simple Breakout-style game, with the key concept being to prevent bouncing bullets from hitting the planet. But there's a lot more to it than that.
Once a bullet has been stopped, it becomes non-lethal, and you can let it hit the ground if you want. Or you can continue to bounce it over and over again, hitting multiple enemies and chaining together score combos.
And there are multiple bullets, too - sometimes a dozen bullets at a time if you can keep them bouncing - which leads to insanely enjoyable encounters.
Then Cocoto expands the concept even further, asking you to protect a 360-degree warzone all at the same time.
Aliens will descend on areas around the planet, and you'll have to run off the sides of the screen to find where they are and kill them before they blow a hole in the core while you're not looking.
The attention to detail is there too - challenges on each level keep you focused on more than just bouncing bullets, while aliens scream and screech as bullets whiz by, a terrified expression across their faces.
The game does eventually (inevitably, perhaps) fall into the same pattern as a regular Breakout clone - sort of samey, that little bit dull, not a huge amount of depth - yet the gameplay that comes before that point is still well worth checking out.
As far as games about bouncing balls around the screen go, Cocoto Alien Brick Breaker is most definitely one of the better ones.