Angry Birds’ effect on the iPhone market was similar to that of a virus, with wave after wave of clones forced upon us, and now the latest, Coco Loco is attempting to entice us into the world of slingshots and topple physics.

Luckily, Coco Loco is not just up to the task of taking on Angry Birds, it is actually a far, far better game.

It is strange, as this feels like the game that Angry Birds should have evolved into, rather than endless updates with new levels and backgrounds. The level of interaction, inventive items and the fantastic liquid physics in particular, really make this into a fantastic physics based puzzle game for iPhone and iPad.

The water and jelly physics are truly brilliant, the water acting and looking every bit as clever as Where’s My Water?, while the jelly material takes it to another level. The jelly can either be launched by a certain character or found around the levels, and its sticky, bouncy properties make foe some awesome puzzles. A simple example is where you can shoot some jelly to plug a gap in the stage, allowing water to fill up and spill over.

It soon gets far more complicated than this, with the designers gleaning every possible puzzle out of the playground of toys they have created. There are many different characters, all made of marshmallow, to use, each with different abilities, and most are launched in the slingshot style, by a baseball bat. From the aforementioned jelly, to an egg-shaped vertical bomb to a water(chocolate milk) cannon, there is plenty of variety here.

The story is all about how a bunch of Cocoa Bean Guardians kidnap some Marshies, prompting their friends to set off to save them. Yes, all silly stuff, but it does allow for some gorgeous characters and an interesting setting.

Coco Loco really is a treat. The levels are so much more interesting than 99% of its contemporaries, and when the physics of the game are in full flow the effects are very impressive. The sheer mass of water being calculated on the fly in some of these stages is gob-smacking, and is a credit to the developer.

The presentation is decent overall, and I really liked the character designs. The backgrounds for each level are a little forgettable, and I wish there was a little more animation when some of the characters are tumbling around objects in the stages. This is all made up for by the stunning physics, it must be said.

There are around 60 stages to play in, which is good but not great and you will have likely seen all of them in a few hours, although if you play in small sessions, this will last a lot longer, especially if you intend to get 100% in all the levels.

In Conclusion

Overall, Coco Loco is a fantastic physics based puzzle game, the best to hit the iPhone in a long time. A combination of the best elements from other games, with some excellent physics and original characters and settings, this gets the most important thing right- decent puzzles, and is a breath of fresh air for the genre.

This review originally appeared on The Smartphone App Review (March 07, 2012).