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Rating: 4.4/5 (236 votes)
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PsychotronicCobacoliIn his ongoing, mad quest to give us all nightmares about geometry, Tonypa has unleashed Cobacoli upon the world. It sounds like a deadly bacteria, but no, it's an elegant puzzle game based around 2-dimensional ball physics, although in many ways it qualifies as an infectious disease. Symptoms include intense concentration, swearing, and the inability to pry your hand away from your mouse. Also my left knee is itchy, but that's probably not Tonypa's doing. Probably.

Best of Casual Gameplay 2008The gameplay is similar to Shuffle, though the ball motion seems more directly inspired by CGDC3 winner Gimme Friction Baby. Each level presents you with a group of colored circles, and your goal is to clear the board by knocking each one into a wall of its own color. Move your white cue ball by simply clicking in the direction you want it to go. A white arrow line will assist you in plotting a course, but keep in mind you have no control over your shot's velocity. You have a limited number of shots — indicated by the readout in the center of the screen — and when you run out, the game is over. Be careful not to touch the colored walls with the cue ball, or your shot count will decrease by one.

The more efficient you are, the faster your score increases. And when you clear a level, your remaining shots will be divided by two and then added onto your starting allotment for the next stage. So if you perform well early on, you can build up a buffer for the later, more challenging levels.

And you will be challenged. Oh yes you will. Right from the beginning, you'll never have a straight line to the goal or even a simple bank shot. Rather, the balls start each level in exactly the most inconvenient spot possible, with improbable angles preventing you from easily ricocheting them to their goals. You will need to fully engage your spatial instincts and plan each shot carefully, or you'll find yourself caroming the cue ball repeatedly into the walls and trapping target circles in awkward corners where, despite their lack of speech, facial expressions, or writing utensils, they will mock you.

Analysis: As you might expect from Tonypa, this is a highly developed and smoothly executed game. The strong colors and elegant visual layout are present and accounted for, and the background music from Kevin MacLeod is simply spectacular. Not only is the music well chosen, but it's somewhat dynamic as well. As you advance, you'll not only be rewarded with new and more diabolical level designs, but also a fuller symphony.

It's a remarkably addictive cocktail, made even more gripping by the fact that nothing in the game is random. You always have complete control, though the math may be baffling, and that makes the search for the perfect strategy on each level compelling.

Cobacoli is full of refinements. Target circles feature a little bulls-eye to help you make precise shots. The level order gets shuffled around each time you play just enough to break up expectations. There's an interesting twist where balls shrink each time they are moved (they never disappear entirely), and although this makes it gradually harder to execute accurate rebounds, it also eases the pain of bucking a circle out from a tight corner.

I do feel like the sound effects are lagging slightly behind the rest of the package. Some of the rebound sounds feel a little off to me, and there definitely should be a unique effect when you successfully burst a circle against a wall; not necessarily a twenty-gun salute, but something that can act as a minor reward.

But overall, this is one of Tonypa's best efforts. Cobacoli will turn off some players with its difficulty, especially since some situations can seem hopeless and others can punish you severely in a short period of time. A single poorly-judged shot can wipe you out on some of the crueler boards, and that means you'll be starting over all the way from the beginning. However, this prospect shouldn't keep you from trying out one of the finest ball physics-based games available. The urge to throw a rock through your monitor has never felt so sophisticated.

Play Cobacoli

UPDATE: Tonypa has just released a new version of Cobacoli with several nice new features, including a level select screen that allows you to play any level you've already unlocked. Bonus shots are not carried over when selecting individual levels, but playing through stages in order still earns you those precious extras. High scores are also saved for each level and for your current session.


If this game was sped up about 500% it would be fun


Nice music


Absolutely brilliant. I am a fan of Tonypa's games, and this time he has really outdone himself. It's like billiards on mind-altering drugs, and maddeningly delicious.

The feeling of accomplishment you get when you complete a particularly fiendish level is such a rush. I don't mind the subdued sound effects. I think anything more obtrusive would take away from the mood of the game.

I'm trying to think of criticisms or suggestions for improvement, but I am too hooked right now to think straight.


It's a fun little puzzle game :)

Unfortunately the flash arrow to play the game does not show up using Opera 9.5, so I've had to resort to IE, yeuch...


Finished my first game with a score of 178, which puts me at number one for the day and third all time. I doubt I'll stay there, though. :)


davient - Opera 9.22 (Mac) and Opera 9.25 (Windows) both show the start arrow for me. Check your Flash Player?


Just installed latest Flash plugin, and no dice :(

It does however, as you say, work on Opera 9.25. Strange...


Apologies for a double post, but I feel rather chuffed, I've just got the top score of 321. Yay!

Love this site (cheers Jay), so I've just signed up for a new JIG user account rather than the old typekey, looking forward to a few new features...

Any chance of an edit button for our comments Jay?


Thanks, davient! ^_^

And congratulations on the score! Well done!

Editing comments is something we do want to implement soon. Thanks for the suggestion.


If you are having trouble getting the game to load, turn off adblocking in your browser. The flash file is loaded from mochiads.com, which many adblockers filter out.


interesting game. i lost on the level shown as a screenshot in the review. the penalty for the white ball striking the colored lines did me in.


Sorry Davient, 352 first go, came a cropper on

level 20 when a pink went up the red spout

not really worth a spoiler tag i'm thinking now :)

I've never been top of an all time high score list, I like this game.


fnord3125 - that level did me in the first time we met, too. Now, with more careful planning, I can do that level without losing a single shot (by hitting a colored line, that is). ;)

Here's a tip for that level:

For your first shot, aim directly at the yellow circle first. Be sure to hit it head-on straight.


I've tried it on several different browsers (Epiphany, IceWeasel, Opera and IE6 under Wine), and while it does load and acts like it's playable, it just randomly freezes each time :( Like, it might let me shoot, but it'll never reach the target, it'll just stop and I'll have to reload.


Hmm, that sounds very weird. It must be either a local issue, or one from running the Flash Player in Windows emulation mode. =/


Too slow for me. I mean, the balls bounce around for a long time before I get control again. Between levels there is too much delay, and when I die it shows me some ad with no way to restart except reload.

Good concept, though.

[Edit: When you die you are shown the high score table. Click "Done" at the bottom to return to the game's main menu. No reload is necessary. -Jay]


wonderful game! i love the subtle strategy and emphasis on carefully planned shots it requires. For those complaining it's too slow, not every game has to be a fast-paced arcade shooter. When you play pool, do you complain that the balls take too long to come to rest?


Would it be possible to get an MP3 or something of the music? Because I really really like it.


Fun game. Neat idea.

My most wanted upgrade: a "quit" option!


Tonypa delivers yet again! Elegant in its simplicity and maddeningly challenging in its gamplay. The music is the icing on the cake. Like a snake charmer's pungi, the music helps you to focus on the task at hand.

IMHO it's a Five Star experience. Way to go Tonypa!


Thank you all for nice comments :)

I too think the music is great, you can find full song here:


To be honest... I thought this game was annoying. It was all going quite well until Level 6 where I messed up, and had to start from the beginning again. Then I got to level 6 and messed up AGAIN.

For a game where the action is really really slow, making me redo those first five (really really easy) levels, it just ... I just can't be bothered.

I understand that this is partly me, but I think it's the nature of casual gameplay as well. I only planned to be here for a short amount of time anyway, the last thing I want to do is the stuff I just did. I want to be seeing new stuff, getting further into the game. And I suck at it, so I'm going to be going round the start ones over and over.

This game would be pretty addictive if I could carry on from the last level (even if you reset my score?) If it's possible to change that, I promise I'll dive right back in again.


This is an addictive game. I can't wait to get out of class so that I can try completing it.

One thing to note, though, is that there is a bug in the game. If you click at just the right time when you have 0 shots left, you can pull off another shot before the game decides you've "died." You can keep this up until you miss the window of opportunity to click. After I first noticed this bug, I tried to recreate it and was able to fire off 3 more shots before I missed the window, but I'm sure you can get more with practice. If you complete the level using this bug, the game continues as normal. You won't get bonus points for shots left over, but you'll be able to keep playing.


Thanks Crawford, sounds like a bug, I will look into it.


Wow, what a cool game, perfect for jayisgames.com! This is exactly what I look for when I come here! By the way, I just got high score #2 (365 points)!!! Level 7 kicks my butt...


Tediously slow. Sorry to say that, 'm a huge fan of Tonypa's games, but this one is so slow it takes away all the fun for me :(


Good game, but the pace is a little slow.

When you complete the last shot, immediately end the level. Kind of annoying waiting for the ball to slide around.


Thank you Tonypa! You made a great choice for the music.


OK, I have to recnsider my views. After some time the slowness gets less and less annoying and soon i got to the point where i didn't care anymore and started to enjoy the game.


bioLarzen - of all people, I really expected you to love this one since the gameplay has a similar feel to it as GFB does.

The argument here is the same as for GFB, too. For a few people it's too slow. For most everyone else, it's sublime. ^_^


Hahaha, I guess we were posting at the same time(!) :)


Gah. There's a level shaped like a 4 point star with 3 greens and a single green point of the star (ie two green lines in an acute angle).

It hurts my brain and I can't get past it yet.


I enjoy this game but agree with Chris. It would be nice to be able to carry on from your current level if you fail. Replaying from the start is important in some games. On this one I just find it annoying. Other than that, I like it a lot.


This game is freaking genius. I like the pace--its relaxing.

And the ball physics aren't off--they are just right.

Like a good game of billiards, its all about bank shots and the ANGLE you hit another "ball". While there's no English per se, hitting the sides of something just right is very important.


This game is awful. By which I mean, this game is wonderful. I am completely addicted and can't stop giving this one... more... try... But it's awful. Because I have an exam tomorrow, and instead of studying, I'm playing CoBaCoLi over and over and over.


Love the game. Love the music too, but it seems to be some really low-quality audio, like internet radio for dial-up listeners. Is that just my imagination?


I see why this game is likened to GFB, but for me they are not similar at all. I experienced nothing of the feeling here I had with that game.


How do you do it, tonypa? So many times you make a game that take the most simple things and make it into a superb game. The kind of game that looks so simple, that it makes you think "Now why didn't I think of that?".

If I had a hat, I would take it off to you, tonypa. I don't know how you come up with these simple ideas, that work so well for games.


I love this game and the game that was mentioned in the description, "Gimme Friction". I have one minor issue with both. There isn't (or I haven't been smart enough to figure it out) a way to control the power of your shot. I know little or nothing about game design, is implementing something like this difficult? Even without it's a fun addictive game.


Holy moly! I broke 400! That beats my previous high by about 150.

Also, BeerOtter: you're right, neither of those games have a way to control your power. This is intentional -- I'm sure TonyPa and Wouter are perfectly capable of implementing power control. To me, the lack of control makes for a better game -- sometimes the challenge isn't in getting the balls to the right places, it's in controlling your cue to minimize damage. GFB would be far, far too easy if you could control the power. CoBaCoLi would still be challenging, but not as unique -- more like any number of mini-golf games out there.


BeerOtter - It's not difficult to implement such a system, but doing do would significantly alter the gameplay and the underlying strategies. I believe it was a design decision in both games to impose this constraint on the player, as it forces the player to think and plan their movements more carefully.

For example, with the current implementation, the player must use a straight-on shot often and to their best advantage to keep the white cue ball from bouncing all over.


Woo! 406! 1st all time :D

@ Tonypa: you should be arrested for making a game that's this addicitve ;) Very nice, I wish I could make games this simple that are this good!


I don't play pool. I don't like twitch games, but there is such a thing as too slow -- and that is when input is taken away for a long time. I'm here to play, not watch a slow animation alternating with ads.


Great, great game.
Had a sudden rush of genius, and hit 480! YEEEAAH!

2nd on the all time board though. 2nd. gutted.


Based on suggestions, I have added option to skip the transition effects between levels (the game should show 4 option boxes, if not, please refresh). You can also skip the showing of bonus hp and bonus score by left clicking after level ends.

While nobody on leaderboard has yet been able to complete all 30 levels, I have tested them all and they may be more difficult near the end, still every single level can be finished with 10 shots.

Thank you all for the comments :)


I'm sure they are all doable in 10 shots, but the trick is doing all 30 levels in 10 (or so) shots without messing up a single one! One of these times...

Thanks again tonypa!


Frustratingly addictive. There are a couple of minor things that could be added though, and would make this game something I would come back to again and again.

-) Level codes or some equivalent, that would allow you to skip levels that you've previously beaten.

-) Inelastic collisions. So many physics-based ball games incorporate perfectly elastic collisions, at least a tiny proportion of the kinetic energy of the balls should be lost in collisions.

-) Post collision speeds based on mass.

All in all though, another great game from Tonypa. Nice one!


I also could not get the game, or Spin the Black Circle to load. It simply held at the BubbleBox.com logo. I found that my sound-card wasn't working, so I fixed that and now the game loads (and Spin the Black Circle, btw).

Apparently Adobe Flash CS3 will report errors in code from the browser (I didn't know that), for those interested what I got was:

TypeError: Error #1009: Cannot access a property or method of a null object reference.
at Game/::addLoop()
at Game/::prepareGame()
at Game$iinit()
at game_fla::MainTimeline/game_fla::frame3()

(doesn't compiling without debug info reduce the swf size?)

Hope this helps some-one in some small way.


When i first played the game i was rather pissedd off mainly because it seemed tediously slow. I rated it a 3. Then I gradually got to like it and was ashamed to give it only a 3.
But now i got to the point that I'm just pissedd off even more than initially, this time for having to do it all over and over again. This takes away all the fun, but really - because it makes this game boring after having played it a lot. Now I'd rate it a 2 - only because of the lack of a level code or free level choice function.


609 John! I can't get past 300. That's it. I give up. What a waste of a life.

Helanren March 4, 2008 11:51 PM

Is there any way to continue at the same level where you lost? It gets very frustrating to keep going back to level 1....Not to mention the fact that I never get to see the higher levels :)
How about for instance selecting between a "high score" mode where you have to start from level 1, and a "practice" mode where you can start at any level, or continue from the last level you finished?

Helanren March 5, 2008 8:15 AM

edit to the above post: from other players, I have learned that originally there was an option to replay: the game didn't just add the total score and then returned to the 10 sec advert and level 1, but it gave a "replay this level" option. Does anybody know where I can find that version of the game, or have a link to it?


The game was only just released, and it was released the way it is now. If someone had played the game prior to that, it was a beta release while Tony was testing his game, and that version is no longer available (hopefully for obvious reasons).

That being said, I do believe Tony is working on an update to the game in which you may choose the starting level, at the least.

We will surely announce it here at JIG along with having the new version when it's available. Cheers!

Edit: I completely forgot about the version up at BonusLevel. I guess that one is different than this one, but hopefully we'll have an update to post soon that will allow the playing of all levels more easily.

Charles March 5, 2008 6:21 PM

I would vote this game to be both frustrating and addictive. There is one glitch in particular I haven't seen mentioned that is driving me batty.

On the "orange and yellow" level with the triangle in the middle, I have seen with my own eyes--more times than I care to recall--the orange disk bounce off of the orange surface without vanishing. it just sprays impact marks, and sails on, oblivious to the fact that it should have perished.

Considering that this level in general gives me the hardest time of any of them, to have winning shots denied is almost too much to bear.

But I keep coming back.

If this game cost a quarter a play, like the old arcade games, I'd be out of money by now.


Some of the levels are incredibly difficult for me, so having to wait to submit a score of 2 when I just want to reset the level as fast as possible to try and figure it is really annoying...


If submitting your score takes too long, then don't submit it.

There's a "Done" button you can click instead.


Thats what I usually do. A level reset would be more convenient, but now that I've thought more about how the scoring works I realize that a level reset would go against the challenge of the game and make higher scores too easy because you would then have unlimited tries per level. :/


I love the ability to choose levels, once you've qualified. Makes it much more like Bloons in that regard, in that you don't have to keep covering the same old ground to advance.

However, I can't for the life of me figure out why Tonypa still makes you go thru either a Done/Submit cycle, THEN go all the back to the "choose level" screen. If he would add a simple little "Try Again" marquee as in Bloons, or just go straight to the choose level screen, this game would then be perfect.

I suspect that it has to do with the mechanics of calculating a score, but, in my opinion, once you change the metaphor of the game into passing levels rather than accruing a high score, you've changed the game unalterably, and scores don't even matter. (Does Bloons even TRACK a score? ya got me . . . )

FYI, I've solved all the levels, but it's a lot of fun to go back and re-try some of them . . . but this whole lag-time between resets is just enough of an issue to keep me away from this game.

Understanding, of course, that your mileage may vary . . . :-)


This game is superb.

The one bug i've found is the same as mentioned by Charles (but i see the colours as yellow and red, not orange :/). There seems to be a collision detection problem with the red ball near the edges of the red line.


You're right, dibkins . . . it IS red, not orange. Guess my eye was just imputing orange due to the yellow contrast. Or something like that.


Please give me a reset button. Level 21 is killing me.

LevelFiveQuestion March 29, 2008 12:53 PM

Does anyone have any pointers for Level Five i.e. the one with the red and yellow triangle in the middle. I am finding this level much more difficult than even some of the higher levels. Must be something simple I'm missing.


Level Five caused me more heartache than I care to remember, particularly before Tonypa changed the game to include a level select screen.

I wish I had some bullet proof advice for you on how to beat it. I don't think you're missing anything, I just think it's a hard level . . . made harder by the occasional glitch I've encountered where you put the red disk right on the red line, and it just ignores it.

the only thing that has worked for me with any sort of consistency is banking off of either of the side walls at an angle to hit the red disk under the triangle. Occasionally, that will put the red disk right above you inline for a straight bank shot out of the upper corner.

Then you just clean up the yellow ones.

Good luck . . . I feel your pain.

blockheadjr April 5, 2008 6:36 PM

Level 5 spoiler:

Beating this level usually comes down to precise shots, and accepting you're going to lose shots from hitting the colored walls. I've been able to beat this level following these steps, but even the slightest variation can mess things up, so try to be precise:

First shot:

Aim at the center of the right yellow circle. Make sure your line of sight rests right on the left curve of the circle's 'navel'. Yes, you will ricochet off the red wall first, but you will end up eliminating the yellow circle you aimed at.

Second shot:

Aim at the center of the red circle, right at the bottom of the navel. You will end up eliminating the second yellow circle.

Third shot:

This shot depends on where the red circle is, relative to your cueball. If it is higher vertically than the curball, aim at the bottom of the red circle, so your line of sight rests right on the bottom curve of the body (not the navel). If this doesn't eliminate the red circle, it should set it up for an easy kill.
If the red circle is lower vertically than your cueball, you've got some work to do. But hey - you've got seven shots to work with!

blockheadjr April 6, 2008 12:11 AM

Level 21:

I was stuck on this one for a week before I got lucky somehow. I have got a good opening shot though:

First shot:

Again, preciseness counts: Get your line of sight on the right curve of the left red circle (your white line must be hidden by the curve of the red circle for this to have a chance to work). If you hit it right, the red circle will end up in the 'spout'.

Later shots:

At this point, you want to eliminate the pink circles. If you did the first shot correctly, your pinks should be lined up below you. A couple bank shots should take care of them. You now have 7 shots to get the second red circle into the spout.

Nathan Jones, Detective April 6, 2008 11:41 AM

Thank you, blockhead jr, level 21 was killing me...

Anonymous April 17, 2008 10:18 PM

There MUST be a RETRY function...
It is so extremely anoying if you can't get it anymore but ca't even die


A good idea, but so slow! I think I will don my flat cap, start smoking a pipe, and take up lawn bowls instead. I found myself getting very frustrated and shouting at the screen, "Come on! Come on!" like Jeremy Paxman.
Some of the physics seemed a bit exagerated too. The balls seem to willfully avoid going where you expect them to, while your ball careers about, homing in on, and bashing into the coloured walls with the accuracy of a heat-seeking missle. Fun quickly gave way to frustration for me.
A nice idea though and it looks very good, although all the spinning graphic things between levels only add to the tedious ponderance of the whole experience.


I love this game.

The only thing that is kind of frustrating is waiting for it to re-load when I don't complete the puzzle in one try. It goes all the way to the opening page and I have to start over- graphics and all.

Other than the being patient, I love it.


Gah, all these people from many years ago waxing poetic about how they love the music, and all I can think is HOW THE HELL DO I TURN OFF THIS NOISE? I had to stop playing after just a few levels because the music was too depressing to stand any longer.


How the heck can you get this junk game to START? It loads for me, but I am Stuck in the main screen.


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