The Witch’s Isle is a more complex and mature Cocosola game
Cocosola is a rather unusual company. If people know the name, it is likely due to their clicker titles. After all, this is the developer that started the “evolution” game craze by putting out Alpaca Evolution, where you tap alpacas to make your alpaca absorb them and morph into unholy forms of itself, and I am Giraffe, which was Alpaca Evolution with creatures that looked a little like giraffes. The Witch’s Isle is its first foray into a deeper adventure, one that requires you to think, explore a town and be willing to fail to progress.
The Witch’s Isle is the sort of game that is about soaking up the ambiance and lore while also paying attention to the characters and their schedules. A young woman lives on an island ruled by a witch. Everyone who arrives and lives there can not leave. Those who happen upon the place find themselves with amnesia. The witch controls all. Already, the game has more backstory and setup than any other Cocosola game.
One morning, the girl is woken by the Witch at the foot of her bed. She has the curse of death placed on her. A thief stole the Witch’s urn. If the girl does not recover it by 4am, she will die. It is up to you to accomplish this goal before time runs out. Though, once you learn enough about the world and its schedules and manage to find other items before heading to the Witch’s castle, you can get one of eight different endings. It offers a sense of preparedness and complexity that none of their other games have shown, since there are multiple paths to follow as you go around the island.
In many ways, The Witch’s Isle is not all that dissimilar from other Cocosola games. Games like Alpaca Evolution and Happy Oink involve tapping characters and things to make other things happen. The same happens here. You guide the girl around the five levels of the map and its spots. You tap on the over 30 characters to unlock more characters, items and learn about the Witch and her island. There is a sense of progression that comes from exploring and learning about the area. You must go through the game a few times to know where everything is in the area, work out people’s schedules and know how different parts work together. Just this is a full-fledged point-and-click adventure, rather than an idle clicker where you tap to make things happen and put no real thought into your actions.
This focus on storytelling and worldbuilding means that The Witch’s Isle is Cocosola’s darkest game. The developer experimented with more mature games before. Wonder Tree House is an adventure clicker that stars a number of children building a tree house in the woods. Except, as you build, you learn more about a tragedy. The Witch’s Isle is similar in the sense that there is this growing dread as you play. The further along you get, the more unsettling things become. You begin to realize how much there is that you do not know. By the end, especially with the true end, you come to understand everything the people here have been through.
The Witch’s Isle can be considered a showcase piece. We have a developer who started out with the most rudimentary games. Misshapen animals evolved into stranger forms of themselves when people constantly tapped on games. Eventually, we received titles that attempted to tell a story. It is only with The Witch’s Isle that Cocosola really accomplished something meatier. This adventure requires people to pay more attention as they tap to explore a world. There is a story and a path here, with different results directly influenced by the efforts people put into the game. It is far more dark and detailed, showing how a developer itself has evolved over the years.
The Witch’s Isle is available for $2.99 on Windows and Macs and for free on Android and iOS devices.
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