Aiko Island is proof that cookies are totally worth fighting for
It’s an unspoken rule of the universe that when you take another person’s cookies, you’re also taking your own life in your hands. When you take all of their cookies, no jury in the world would dream of convicting them were they to track you down and visit some retribution on you. But, as Aiko Island teaches, going after someone who’s pilfered your bedtime snacks can be an awful lot of fun.
The game takes place on the Island of Unwanted Muppets where— sorry, I meant on Aiko Island. The story stars the titular Aikos, a group of fuzzy creatures who look like limbless (though still adorable) Sesame Street leftovers of different shapes. It turns out that the Blue Aikos were getting ready to enjoy their chocolate chip cookies when the Red Aikos stole the entire supply. It’s up to you to help the Blue Aikos recover all their cookies by getting rid of all Red Aikos. Yes, that’s right, you’re totally going to murder some cute fuzzy creatures because you’re too lazy to go back to the grocery store. If it makes you feel any better, though, the little buggers totally had it coming.
Aiko Island is a physics puzzler where players have to drop the Red Aikos off the map or destroy them via direct tapping and/or using environmental hazards. In some cases, the Red Aikos are stacked in formations and you’ll need to merely pop a key one to tip them off the edge of the platform they’re all sitting atop. In other cases, there are several moving parts to a map courtesy of platforms that have to be moved, ledges that have to be broken, and ropes that are swung upon. Things start off fairly easy, but they quickly grow challenging, and it’s not uncommon to take several tries per level before it’s beaten.
The tapping mechanism is a nice touch: it lets you beat many of the game’s levels simply by tapping the Red Aikos or the platforms they’re sitting on. However, if you want to earn the maximum number of cookies (which serve as a defacto star rating) on a level, you’ll have to meet or beat the required number of taps that the game sets out as a challenge. As the game progresses, Aikos that are immune to the tap-detonations begin to appear (identified by bits of metal sprouting from their bodies), which makes things more challenging – but by this point you’ll be adept enough to figure out how to remove them from the fuzzy gene pool in other ways.
Additionally, you’re afforded a reasonable amount of freedom at choosing which levels to play through. This is presented via country map that provides a branching series of pathways that provide different choices of levels. Of course, this freedom is limited, as some paths dead-end after a little while and others are locked until a certain number of cookies have been earned. So you’ll eventually have to play through them all, but it’s still nice to be presented with a choice of what order to play them in.
Aside from the fun play mechanics, Aiko Island also features some adorable graphics. As stated earlier, the Aikos look like something Jim Henson would have dreamed up if he’d been designing creatures that could double as fluffy pillows. All of the visuals have a smooth, vectorized style that is both bright and colorful. The sound, too, is pretty cute, though you’re not missing anything if you mute your device’s volume.
Aiko Island is a fun little game that contains an insane amount of content in a very attractive package. Its vast quantity of puzzles, combined with excellent production values, will keep fans of the genre entertained for quite some time.