One of the biggest indie hits of the year is a sort-of mix of Zelda, Portal, and Hyper Light Drifter that made it impossible to explain to publishers

Cocoon key art featuring a puzzling look at the worlds inside
(Image credit: Geometric Interactive)

The developer of new indie hit Cocoon says it was difficult to pitch at first because it's a Zelda, Portal, Hyper Light Drifter-like whilst also not being like any of those games at all. 

Jeppe Carlsen, who also worked as a lead designer on puzzle platformers Limbo and Inside, described what it was like pitching their latest game to publishers. "When pitching Cocoon, it was (for me) really hard to find games to compare it [to]. It’s a bit Zelda, but not really. A bit Portal, but not really. A bit Hyper Light Drifter, but not really, etc.," the developer wrote on Twitter. 

I can definitely see what Carlsen is talking about; Cocoon is simultaneously so familiar and like nothing I've ever seen before. In the puzzle platformer, players will explore worlds that exist within an orb that you can carry on your back. The main mechanic of this one requires you to leap between the various worlds, combining, manipulating, and rearranging them to solve the puzzles inside.

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Clearly, Carlsen managed to find a unique and compelling blend of all of the games listed above, as Cocoon is now one of the highest-rated indie games of 2023. If you head on over to Cocoon's Steam page, the puzzle platformer already has a promising 'Very Positive' review rating on Steam. 

We also sang its praises in our Cocoon review, awarding it five out of five stars and complimenting it on its seamless puzzle design, satisfying world-hopping, rich environments, soundscapes, and more. Over on Metacritic's list of the best games this year, Cocoon can be found nestled between Vampire Survivors, Hi-Fi Rush, and Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty with an impressive 89 Metascore. 

Cocoon is available to play now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch.

You can find out what other hidden gems are on the horizon with our new indie games list. 

Hope Bellingham
News Writer

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at university, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became a Trainee News Writer at GamesRadar+ before being promoted to a fully-fledged News Writer after a year and a half of training.  My expertise lies in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, cozy indies, and The Last of Us, but especially in the Kingdom Hearts series. I'm also known to write about the odd Korean drama for the Entertainment team every now and then.