Puzzle game Cocoon started as a thought experiment on Zelda dungeons, not a Limbo spin-off

(Image credit: Geometric Interactive)

The comparisons to Limbo and Inside were probably inevitable for Cocoon, but its design actually shares more in common with The Legend of Zelda.

Cocoon is a new game from Jeppe Carlsen, who previously worked as the lead gameplay designer on Limbo and Inside. At first glance, you'll notice a lot of similarities if you've played Limbo or Inside. Cocoon has that same combination of puzzle-solving and otherworldly imagery you'll find in the two games.

Rather than solving puzzles to progress through a linear world though, Cocoon is all about solving puzzles using the worlds provided to you. "From the get-go, it's about recursions," Carlsen tells Edge Magazine in issue 386. "What if the world you explore is like a tree structure of worlds within worlds?"

"The whole core concept is very puzzly by nature," Carlsen admits, and it can be difficult to get your head around. A recent example of recursion used as a game mechanic is Patrick's Parabox from last year, which can certainly stretch the brain cells.

Carlsen says that at some point, he "started structuring it a little bit more like Zelda" in his mind. The orbs in Cocoon act as its equivalent of Zelda dungeons, which each have a boss and will grant you a new ability. But now, you can carry all these orb dungeons with you and travel between them whenever you want. 

The interdimensional travel is key to the game, as abilities unlocked in orbs will help you solve puzzles and allow you to explore further inside other orbs. There's just over a couple of months left before we get to try the game for ourselves, as Cocoon is set for release on September 29, 2023.

Joe was extremely impressed with Cocoon when he went hands-on with the game last month.

Freelance contributor

I'm a freelance writer and started my career in summer 2022. After studying Physics and Music at university and a short stint in software development, I made the jump to games journalism on Eurogamer's work experience programme. Since then, I've also written for Rock Paper Shotgun and Esports Illustrated. I'll give any game a go so long as it's not online, and you'll find me playing a range of things, from Elden Ring to Butterfly Soup. I have a soft spot for indies aiming to diversify representation in the industry.