We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Cocoon is an Xbox Game Pass delight that I wish I played sooner

Between its innovative puzzles, impressive presentation, and undefeated vibes, Cocoon needs to be experienced on Xbox Game Pass and beyond.

Xbox Game Pass Cocoon: a tiny bug pulling a large rock next to the Game Pass logo

Last week I found myself on my deathbed – something any dude knows is code for ‘a tiny bit sick.’ While I lay there like a Victorian child who had been struck down by the plague, I decided to take a moment away from revising my will to peruse the Xbox Game Pass library one last time. There, I stumbled upon Cocoon – Geometric Interactive’s award-winning puzzler. I knew my time on this Earth was short, and this ~six-hour experience would be the perfect way to see me out.

Shortly after loading in, however, the melodrama was leached away from me. The large dopamine hit from this world-hopping, bug-based puzzler cleansed my ills, and with bodily balance now restored I began to challenge one of the best Game Pass games of 2023 in earnest.

Though I’m familiar with Jeppe Carlsen’s work, I’ve never had the pleasure of playing Inside or Limbo – two puzzle-platforming horror games that have a very similar basis to Cocoon mechanically. After my tiny cicada-like homie emerged from its cocoon, I immediately got cracking. Cocoon doesn’t tell you where to go or what to do to progress. In fact, it doesn’t say a single word full-stop. It’s simply you, your bug buddy, the left analog stick, and the A button. That’s it. Kind of.

YouTube Thumbnail

You see, Cocoon does guide you to an extent, albeit in the most subtle ways possible. The solution is never too far away, and if you’re moving in the wrong direction then you can bet the game’s already accounted for it, ensuring that you eventually find the right path without you even realizing it’s given you a gentle nudge. It almost operates as a sort of Metroidvania game in that it doesn’t allow doors to be opened until they’re meant to be. As a result of this, at no point did I feel like my hand was being held, or that I was being hurried along so I could get on with the next puzzle.

Cocoon’s conundrums are themselves wonderful. The game’s logic is so sound that piecing two and two together really makes four, and not some weird algebraic nonsense requiring a level of abstract thinking that could have quite easily killed me off during my ailing hours. That’s not to say Cocoon’s easy – its boss encounters certainly require a bit more dexterity – but it excels through innovation and presentation, rather than bludgeoning your brain with overly-complicated puzzles.

This is also super impressive and clever and just plain lovely because Cocoon is abstract and it should be complicated. The game’s driving mechanic revolves around orbs that have specific powers, that have their own mini-worlds inside, and can be stowed inside one another like a celestial Matryoshka doll. It’s as if Christopher Nolan’s decided to switch creative fields – orb-ception.

Xbox Game Pass Cocoon: a tiny cicada-like bug holding an orange orb

Yet, despite all this, Cocoon was always in my corner, silently cheering me on as I pondered the orbs (call me ‘Sick Note Saruman’). Each eureka moment I experienced – and there were several of them – felt like a warm cup of soup, revitalizing me further. It’s one of the most delightful games, let alone puzzlers, that I’ve played in a long time, and I implore you to chunk out an evening to experience it for yourself. As noted, it’s on the list of Xbox Game Pass games, but it’s worth every penny of its $24.99 price tag if you’d much rather own your media.

If you’re after more Game Pass goodies to sink your teeth into, be sure to check out Rory’s grand Roboquest adventure – it’s part Borderlands, part Hades, making for a winning formula. Otherwise, familiarize yourself with all the new Game Pass games coming to the service this month.