Break out the Whip Cream and Cherries!
Relationships are all about sharing. First, it starts out simple, like sharing a double scoop on a summer day. Then it gets more complex. Ready or not, you'll be sharing your living space, bank accounts, and crybaby kids. But are you ready to "share" your controller?
The Adventures of Cookie and Cream has been billed as the first-ever date game. And why, you ask? You and your significant other get to share a single controller. I'll pause a moment to let that sink in. Scary, isn't it?
Okay, so the concept is new, but arguably every game out there can be "two players." One person takes care of movement, the other takes care of the action buttons. You could even make it a m'nage " trois by letting multiple partners each man a button and watch the ensuing hijinx. But of course, that would be just plain stupid.
The Adventures of Cookie and Cream is different. Each player controls a member of the rabbity duo naturally known as Cookie and Cream. The screen and the controller are split in half for each partner. Each player takes on one of the analog sticks and the corresponding right or left buttons.
And well, the only way I can think of reviewing a "dating game" is by playing it with a "date." So, I grabbed my video game playing princess and we had ourselves some Cookie and Cream (Please keep that kind of thing to yourself, Johnny ~Ed.).
So the story goes that Cookie and Cream are going to the Moon Festival. The bad news is that the Moon has mysteriously disappeared, and since everybody knows that you can't have a Moon festival without the moon, the two bunnies set out on a quest to find it.
It's definitely one crack-addled story, but the rest of the game's quirks keep things interesting and oddly edgy. The graphics are sharp and cartoony and the sound effects measure up well. Especially the indecipherable high-pitched noises that bunnies apparently make.
But what may sound like a simple game is actually very challenging. Basically, in order to finish the obstacle-course-like levels, each player must set off switches and devices to help out their partner on the other half of the screen. Some switches are direct, while other involve a more complicated use of timing. For example, there's a crocodile on my half of the screen. My partner's side has a crocodile leash, and she has to pull the leash to keep the croc at bay. Each player must keep up with the other, because these switches require teamwork. So if you have a lagging partner, time will quickly run out, forcing you to try again.
This ends up breaking the game down into a trial and error system that can become really repetitive. You'll be playing these levels over and over in order to race through as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, there are more problems. The clock takes away from the fun rather than add challenge. When you get hit, it often feels like too much time is taken away. A better time allowance or even a way to turn the clock off would put more of a focus on strategy.
The most annoying time killers, however, are the flying creatures that attack the bunnies. If your character remains in place for too long, a creature will swoop down and bother your bunny, causing time to deplete faster. But sometimes the game simply requires you to stand still while waiting for your partner to catch up. These creatures end up becoming a huge nuisance. Isn't the clock enough to compel speed?
Even with all the annoyances, there's still some fun to be had. It doesn't lie so much in the action of the game, but from the communication the game demands. It's just fun to co-op, considering how few co-op games are out there.
To draw another parallel, the need for communication fits with the whole idea of a "dating game." I can't just go and do my thing without consciously watching what my partner is doing. If my partner is stuck or stumbling on something, I have to see what I can do to help.
Speaking of the dating aspect of the game, sharing one controller isn't all that cozy. I have yet to find a real comfortable position while sharing a single controller [I can suggest a few books... ~ Ed]. Thankfully, there's still an option to use separate controllers.
Equally handy is the ability to play by yourself, but in a game that's meant for two, you might be taking on more than you can handle. Think about trying to keep two completely incongruous ideas running in your head at once, like, for instance, the text of the Declaration of Independence and the lyrics to the DK 64 rap. That's what it's like to control two rabbits with one player.
So, the final verdict? I love the creativity and the attempt to create something unique, but there are more than a few flaws that get in the way. The fun comes from the communication elements, and for that alone, Cookie and Cream is a worthwhile rental for couples. But be forewarned that arguments can result. If you want to please your date, try sharing a real bowl of ice cream instead.