Reviewed by Jimmy | 09.18.06
Take a orange blob and place him on a colourful playground of shapes, then add a three button control scheme, some wierd music and presto you have a titling side scrolling game called LocoRoco. It's strange, it's original, it's Loco.
LocoRoco is a hard game to classify mainly because it's such a simple concept that includes a number of gaming elements from different genres. I guess the side scrolling, puzzle; platforming game would be the most appropriate. One thing is for sure, LocoRoco is out there. That goes double for everything in LocoRoco from its back story of the LocoRoco planet being attacked by strange black aliens called Moja to the bizarre creatures and shapes you meet along your travels. Even the main character, a LocoRoco, is pretty bizarre in its own right. Even though it's all in left field, the main idea behind LocoRoco is presented loud and clear. LocoRoco is about having fun and making the gamers smile as they go along for the LocoRoco ride. In that respect LocoRoco hits a home run, even looking at the little guy gives me a positive smirk, ah.. how cute.
The way you play LocoRoco is a radical simplistic idea which helps keep up LocoRoco soaring into the strange. You actually control the movement of the world by using the right and left bumpers at the top of the PSP. In a way you never have control over the LocoRoco besides having the ability to jump by holding down the bumpers, and being able to split and join the LocoRoco. That's right, the big orange gibbous blob will break into many uncontrollable parts each little Roco having its own personality, so it seems. Joining them up calls them together into smaller blobs and eventually into one bigger LocoRoco. Actually after writing it down on paper, it's kind of hard to visualize, like all parts of LocoRoco it needs to be experienced for you to totally understand.
The controls are kept simple throughout the whole game and the levels just require you to jump, or split your LocoRoco at the appropriate times. Eating makes your LocoRoco bigger and there are other creatures that help your Loco along the way. A lot of the obstacles in the game come in the form of spikes, the evil Moja which can be huge in size and the games platforming puzzles that can get high in speeds. The best thing is anyone can pick up LocoRoco and blast though a few levels. It can be difficult at times, but once you replay levels you will get the hang of how the world works.
You might think I'm crazy, but surprisingly LocoRoco reminds me of the first few Sonic the Hedgehog games. The design is very similar to Sonic moving and jumping along according to his environment, just like Loco. LocoRoco might not have the look of Sonic, but Loco has borrowed several ideas from team Sega. Some other concepts in LocoRoco revolve around finding hidden areas that contain Mui Mui (little gray people), or house pieces. The house pieces are so you can build a bizarre looking Loco House for all the little buggers to live in. Like the rest of game their house is another area of bizarre. Although, I found it to be pretty pointless, I found myself fooling around with designs once I gathered enough pieces.
LocoRoco still has some more extra features which just add to the experience. You can take in game pictures in game and share them with another PSP user. This is only for the main game and not applicable in the mini-games. Yes, there are mini games, two in fact which both have to be unlocked. The one is a simple little crane game like the ones you see in malls where you have to pick up items with those flimsy cheap metal cranes. The other game is Chuppa Chuppa which is like golf. Both are just bonuses, something a little nice if your interested in building up your house or just having a break from the main game.
LocoRoco is a cheerful game and this is really accented by the bright and blocky visuals and the fun loving music. The environments are vibrant and feel alive, when your LocoRoco rolls over the bright primary coloured land it seems to move and flow with the character. The physics are impressive in LocoRoco even if it's to a minimal extent. Loco himself rolls wonderfully along drooping into the ground and breaking and bouncing along with the levels.
They levels span just over 40 levels, and even though they are similar in design they have enough distinction to make them their own. You will be bouncing, teetering, soaring through the sky, along with any other spaces the LocoRoco can fit into. LocoRoco is done in 2D, but the creativity surpasses the extra dimension and makes this game just as good as any 3D platformer. On the audio side of LocoRoco we have a Katamari styled Japanese soundtrack with featured funky pop songs, mostly sung in Japanese. They LocoRoco's themselves love to sing while they go through the game, they even use song to active areas on the map. The prosaic must be in high dosages because the little guys are so happy it's almost unbearable. It almost like the LocoRoco's are little children and you want to help them across the parlous land. LocoRoco in over all production is outstanding and the high quality of audio just helps make this one of the most predominant titles I've seen in a while.
LocoRoco is a good light hearted action platforming game with has a capital "O" for Originality. All you need to do is spend a few minutes with these little creatures and you'll likely be hooked. LocoRoco is simple, inspiring, original and fun. If you own a PSP you need to check out LocoRoco, it's delightful.