4cr Plays – Cocoro: Line Defender

by Antonio Garcia

French developer Moving Player is back for more, and after the fun Tangram Style, I was ready to dive into their new release. The fact that I loved Swords and Soldiers HD and that this game is set in the same genre, sure didn’t hurt either.

In Cocoro: Line Defender, you control one of four different factions that are trying to tell a tale from their own perspective, which means you’re getting to see a story from the point of view of different groups that each saw the events unfold a little bit differently. This description from the game sums it up rather well:

A legend handed down through the ages says that the Cocoro Islands were created by the god Perfect. He breathed his spirit into them and, through his will alone, each one received a founding entity. These founding entities had extraordinary powers that were to be used for the good of Cocoro; the Yoko were their protectors. And that is the incredible story we’re going to tell you…

Each of the four factions is based on one of the four elements, and the game is presented with a heavy Asian-vibe from the character designs to lovely backgrounds that reminded me of Okami. Unlike other games in the genre, there is no resource gathering since you deploy one troop at a time by selecting the troop and weapon type and wait for a bar to fill before they spawn. Once a troop is available in the lower screen, you grab it by tapping with the stylus, and then fling it to the right to send it to the battlefield. Depending on the strength and angle of the throw, you can plan for troops to land closer to your base to defend, or closer to the enemy’s base to attack. Larger units have more hit points and attack power, but move slower, take longer to spawn, and are harder to throw it far from your base.

Cocoro Line Defender - 2

But the fun doesn’t stop there! Each weapon type also has different attack, defense and distance ratings covering damage, range, and defense capabilities. There are 3 melee and 3 long-range weapons available for each faction which unlock in different order for each faction. So even though by the end of the game they all share similar weapons, the game keeps you on your toes by requiring multitasking on the fly and changing your strategy for each new faction.

In order to balance everything, you can upgrade your weapons by using the points awarded after completing a level. Each of the factions also has access to a unique final weapon that completely changes your strategy near the final third of the game.

The first half of the game alternates between all four factions, teaching the strengths and weaknesses of each one of its soldiers and weapons. During the second half you go back to a previous faction in order to complete their story and unlock the final weapon and unit for each one of them. By then, the game is set on sending you to your grave, and it will spawn units that will test your skills every step of the way. Don’t be surprised if you lose a battle just when you thought you were ready to go in for the kill. But rest assured that all of your work will not go to waste because even in defeat you will be rewarded with several points that can be spent to upgrade your weapons to go back and give it another go.

Cocoro Line Defender - 1

Cocoro: Line Defender is an interesting take on the 2D RTS genre, and it features a fun gameplay mechanic that keeps you active during the whole experience. It will take you about 12-15 hours to complete the whole game, and having finished it I have to say I would definitely be up for a sequel.

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