Cocoon serves as the ideal remedy for Baldur's Gate 3
Cocoon and Baldur's Gate 3 are incredibly distinct from each other in terms of gameplay. The only commonality that comes to mind is the shared isometr...
Cocoon and Baldur's Gate 3 are incredibly distinct from each other in terms of gameplay. The only commonality that comes to mind is the shared isometric camera perspective between Geometric Interactive's indie puzzler and Larian Studios' expansive triple-A role-playing game. However, beyond this viewpoint, the similarities between the two games are scarce.
However, as I progress through my extensive playthrough of Baldur's Gate 3, I have discovered that the concise puzzle game serves as a delightful antidote. It's not that it surpasses Baldur's Gate 3's accomplishments, or vice versa. Rather, the two games diverge so greatly in their approaches—and both achieve remarkable success—that it becomes rejuvenating to alternate between them. Both Baldur's Gate 3 and Cocoon are exceptional, but they engage entirely different facets of your cognitive abilities.
One prominent contrast lies in the storytelling approaches of the two games. Baldur's Gate 3 immerses players in an abundance of text, akin to a fully loaded baked potato garnished with sour cream and bacon bits. In contrast, Cocoon draws inspiration from Limbo and Inside, modern classic puzzle-platformers on which director Jeppe Carlsen previously worked as a designer before founding Geometric. Both of those games conveyed their narratives without words, relying solely on silent cutscenes, environmental elements, and level design to depict the perilous journeys of their child protagonists. Cocoon follows a similar path by embracing a wordless approach. It eschews tutorials, tooltips, and dialogue, instead dropping players into a mysterious world and allowing them to embark on an exploratory adventure.
While playing Baldur's Gate 3, I find myself constantly trying to recall numerous storylines - identifying minor characters and their origins, tracking my progress in completing companion quests, and understanding the intricate relationships among the various races inhabiting Faerun. The game presents dialogue, a quest log, discovered books, and more, all brimming with information, some crucial and some trivial. In contrast, Cocoon only requires you to focus on what is directly in front of you. Although that may involve mind-bending elements, the game distinguishes clearly between the puzzle you must solve and everything else. Upon entering a new area, a wall often appears behind you, symbolizing the game's broader approach. It doesn't burden you with keeping track of multiple tasks; instead, it guides you into an area where the current quest is your sole focus.
Cocoon and Baldur's Gate 3 present entirely distinct approaches to problem-solving. In Cocoon, there is always a single solution. To discover it, you must internalize the game's logic and, akin to Gandalf in Moria, patiently contemplate until the path forward becomes clear. On the other hand, Baldur's Gate 3 offers an endless array of potential approaches to overcome obstacles. You could unlock an area by picking a lock, setting fire to a door, stacking boxes and jumping, persuading a guard, eliminating everyone, or pickpocketing an NPC for the key. This freedom can be liberating but also overwhelming. In contrast, Cocoon provides freedom through confinement. It grants the freedom of not having to worry about anything else.
In the previous year, I experienced a similar feeling of complementary gameplay when I played God of War Ragnarok and Pentiment. These two games offered entirely different experiences that I enjoyed in distinct ways. It's fantastic that the gaming industry accommodates both types: the intimate and serene puzzle games, as well as the bold and intricate RPGs. It's remarkable how dissimilar games can harmonize and complement each other so well. I eagerly anticipate uncovering the unexpected combinations that 2024 has in store.