Overall Score 72%
Take a generous helping of Pac-Man, add a scoop of Mario Brothers and just a dash of Mega Man. Combine in a blender with a pinch of indie goodness, and you'll have something resembling our featured review offering for this week, Coin World. The protagonist is a coin. He collects coins of all kinds. Nope, it's not a misleading title.
You would be excused for thinking that with the amount of fiscal imagery in this game that it might be a marketing gimmick of some bank. No! Wait! Come back, I promise the game has nothing to do with banks. The aim of the game is to progress through the levels and collect all gold, silver and bronze coins from the various landscapes. To complicate this task there are various enemies that must be avoided or slain, the latter feat accomplished by jumping on them from above. Some of the more powerful enemies take a couple of squishes to vanquish. You will come across English 'Bobbies', gangsters, ninja, camel riders, dervishes, hamburgers, and of course the ubiquitous Scottish guy in a kilt that obligingly gives us the old 'Och!' when jumped on. In fact, you will have to manage at least 20 enemy types of all persuasions to emerge victorious.
In classic platformer style, the player will have to deal with moving and decaying sections as well as not fall into spikes, water and such. The 40 levels are divided evenly between 5 countries. England, Scotland, Japan, Egypt and the USA all come to life with well suited backdrops and enemies that convey a distinctive feel to each.
If you are good enough to clear all of the enemies from a particular level, then you will be rewarded with a credit card, which when collected, provides 500 bonus points. There are other helpful pick-ups as well. Super Shoes coin will give you a temporary speed boost, whilst the effects of extra life coins and invincibility coins are self-explanatory. The game automatically saves your progress after you clear a country's levels, but you are free to start from whichever country's levels you wish, and complete them in any order. This can help to keep the game fresh for younger players and the technically challenged oldies alike since you're not playing the same levels time after time.
If you procrastinate long enough, after about a minute or so, an invincible huge dollar bill will appear at the top of the screen and slowly chase you around until it kills you or you complete the level. My daughter giggled that it looks like the face of a giant koala. She's right you know. Now I can't see it as anything else. Judge for yourself.
The game is bright and colourful. Animations are reasonably good, and even on a lower end system (my old notebook), the game runs happily at a very good framerate. Controls are kept simple, story is kept to a minumum and as such, the game lends itself to the 'pick up and play gamer' effortlessly. There is one track of brassy background music, and good sound effects where needed. You can use a game controller or stick with the keyboard if that's more comfortable.
On the negative side - lack of a huge amount of content means that there is not a great deal of replay value. A competitive or even co-operative multiplayer mode where two players could sit at the keys (perhaps one on the arrow keys + space and one on WASD + L-Ctrl), would have kept my daughter and myself playing longer than we did. And, I suppose that it must be said that Coin World is not really showing us anything that we haven't seen in a PC game before.
In my opinion, the strengths of the game lie in its playability, and also in its family friendy content. Younger kids will love it, and the difficulty of the game is such that it's not going to get too frustrating too quickly for the casual gamer. The download size is relatively small, and the asking price is quite reasonable.
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