I feel like I’ve said this more than a thousand times by now, but there are a ton of hidden gems over on PC that I would never ever have been aware of had they not also come to mobile, and this time around I’m talking about Rocco’s Island from developer Cogoo. Technically it’s Rocco’s Island: Pocket Edition, which is the mobile version of Rocco’s Island: Ring to End the Pain that was released on Steam in March of last year. And yes, last year was 2022, I had to rewrite that sentence because I’m still not used to it being 2023 yet.
So anyway, Rocco’s Island is an atmospheric, at times surreal, narrative adventure game where you play a young girl named Evelyn who wakes up on a mysterious island, not sure how she got there. As she begins to explore this island and try to make sense of it all, she accidentally rings a large bell, and inadvertently sets off a countdown clock to the destruction of the entire island and everyone who lives there. Oops! To be fair, the bell did have a big sign that said “Ring to End the Pain” so I kind of think we all would have done the same if we were in her shoes, no?
Gameplay involves walking down set paths, discovering hidden items, and interacting with a wide variety of extremely colorful characters. These characters often give you hints on what to do or unblock the path forward. There are also numerous puzzles that can block your path to progression, and these mainly play out in very well-designed and challenging match-3 puzzles. You will also encounter 2048-style puzzles (or should I say Threes!-style puzzles), “adjust the position of objects so their shadows cast a picture” type puzzles, and humorous riddles.
This variety of puzzle types as well as the characters and their dialogue really make Rocco’s Island a fun game to experience. I’m definitely invested in finding out the mystery behind the island and Evelyn’s own past, as it’s obvious from the various flashback cutscenes that there’s more going on than it appears on the surface. And just as I’m getting to the next juicy part of the story, I find myself hammering away at the next puzzle to solve, which as I said before are all very cleverly-designed. It’s just a great mix of elements that makes for a great game, and you can play a huge chunk of Rocco’s Island: Pocket Edition for free before committing to the one-time $5 IAP to unlock the full game. So, you know, go try it already.