Mekazoo is a frenetic platforming gaming for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Wii U. It’s expected to be released in early 2016, but I got a chance to play a level at PAX Prime.

I played with Mark Naborczyk, the product manager at Good Mood Creators. He walked me through the finer points of gameplay—the main draw of which is switching between two characters as you play.

In the demo level at PAX Prime, we started with a frog and an armadillo. The frog can stick out its tongue and swing from objects, while the armadillo can roll up and get a massive speed boost. The single-player is hard. Starting off I would accidentally swap characters instead of using their special abilities, leaving me floundering.

That was all part of the learning process, though, because once I got the hang of it, Mekazoo made me feel like a—excuse my French—badass. It’s incredibly fast-paced, with a jazzy soundtrack (composed in-house) propelling you through the level.

With Mark, I tackled the cooperative mode of the same level that I had done alone. Co-op in Mekazoo has an interesting twist. Each person plays as one character—so in this case, either the armadillo or the frog. But the players can swap at a whim. When an armadillo section of the level came up, I would press the right bumper to steal control from Mark and get us through to the next section. It takes a lot of coordination with and trust in your co-player. Or maybe a touch of ruthlessness. Your call.

Mekazoo Armadillo

A speedy armadillo rolls up to boost.

Either way, I loved this co-op. As Mark said, it’s about making two players think “with the same brain.” Despite the fact that we were stealing the spotlight from each other continuously, playing that way also meant we were helping each other out.

There will be five animals total in the final version of Mekazoo. A wallaby will have wall-jumping abilities. The pelican will, logically, fly. And the panda is a heavyset character that can crash through walls.

Each level of the game focuses on a pairing (like the frog and armadillo), but will have sections that you’ll be able to get to only with certain characters. That means that after you go through and unlock each character, there’s a lot to be said for going back and doing it all over again.

I really liked Mekazoo. It looks like the kind of game that I’ll play with a friend, where I can laugh at my failures and crow at my successes. It’s hard, but learning to master the mechanics is all part of the fun with this one. The game itself was totally polished and responsive. And once I got the hang of it, I could really feel all the work that went into this snazzy little gem.

This article was written by

Simone de Rochefort is a game journalist, writer, podcast host, and video producer who does a prolific amount of Stuff. You can find her on Twitter @doomquasar, and hear her weekly on tech podcast Rocket, as well as Pixelkin's Gaming With the Moms podcast. With Pixelkin she produces video content and devotes herself to Skylanders with terrifying abandon.