Developer – SCE Studios Japan
Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment
Memory Stick Duo – 160 KB
Wi-Fi Compatible – Ad Hoc (1-16 players)
The first time I laid eyes on LocoRoco was during E3 in May 2006. My first impression was that it was about time a cool looking game like this hit the PSP. Well, fast forward to September 2006 and Sony has finally releases a full version of the E3 demo. I must say that this game has managed to keep its charm while maintaining its playablility.
The first words that come to mind when thinking about LocoRoco are original, unique and stylized. This game is very different from anything that is currently on the PSP. It is a very crazy looking game that is bright, colorful and damn good looking. Its overall presentation is something that I fully enjoyed and I can’t help but appreciate the work that went into it. Each of the environments is very well designed and they are quite separate of each other. Levels range from beaches, jungles to snowy mountains. Sure, some may say that this is stereotypical of a side-scrolling platformer but the style that each of these environments is done in only add to the visual originality of the game. Overall I would have to say that this game is very pleasing to the eye and anyone who sees this on the PSP’s LCD widescreen will no doubt agree that this game is a looker.
All the sound in LocoRoco is great and manages to capture the uniqueness and originality of the graphics. The music itself is very catchy and beaty (Ed. Note: is that a word?). There is no doubt that as you progress through the game that you will find yourself tapping your foot to the musical sounds found during each level on more then one occasion. I cannot fully categorize the music, but if anything it is very ‘pop’ like. As for the rest of the sound effects the word ‘cute’ really does come to mind. Don’t get me wrong, it is not fluff cute, but it definitely ranks up quite high on the overall cute scale. Regardless the sound effects match the on screen action to a tee and you won’t find yourself disappointed.
LocoRoco are characters in the game that are simply described as big blobs of goo. The goal is to guide them to each exit in each level. There are around 40 stages in five different worlds so there are different challenges to test your gaming skill. The main feature to the game is that you don’t actually control the LocoRoco themselves but you actually control the environment they are in. Yes, you heard me right. You do not control the actual characters, instead you manipulate the world they are in as you try to get them from point A to point B.
Many naysayers of the PSP have complained that it is a one analog stick machine. LocoRoco is so suited for the PSP as a whole as it doesn’t even use the single stick provided. In order to navigate the levels you are faced with you only need to tilt the world you are in, and depending on which direction you want to go this is done with the shoulder buttons. Should you find the need to jump (e.g. going uphill) then all you need to do is hit both shoulder buttons at the same time.
Having such a simple control scheme may cause gamers to think that the game itself is just as simple, but that is the beauty of LocoRoco, there is so much more then meets the eye. The LocoRoco have special abilities, and being a ball of goo adds to how this game is played. You can increase your size by eating fruit. This has a purpose as LocoRoco can break into smaller blobs (using the circle button) allowing you to access special areas that require a much smaller main character. I actually chuckled the first time I broke my character into a small army of tinier blobs as it not only visually surprised me but it also made me realize that this game was more complex then it made itself out to be.
One of my biggest fears was that this game was going to be repetitive during extended gameplay. But after my time with it I have to say that the games varying levels and challenges really kept it fresh. As I progressed through the game I was presented with new obstacles that challenged my mind. Each of the levels that I entered had something new and fresh to it and there was always a new way to reach the exit I was aiming for. Various levels also incorporate some pretty funky mechanisms to reach the desired goal too and this only further added further freshness into the game.
For those looking for some replayability, LocoRoco also has this in its receipe for a good game. You replay each stage in an effort to uncover all the fruit and Mui Mui (little creatures) in each stage. By collecting different types of fruit you also unlock three different types of mini-games. These mini-games are a nice change and only add to the overall charm of LocoRoco. Unfortunately there is no multiplayer experience to be found in LocoRoco. However you can share your created levels with other players as well as send a demo level of the game to a friend via game-sharing.
For those looking for something new on the PSP should look no further then Sony’s latest game, LocoRoco. With stylized graphics, catchy sound, and great gameplay, this game deserves a spot in any PSP owner’s library.