Name: LocoRoco 2
Genre: Platform, Puzzle, Action
Platform: PlayStation Portable
It’s hard to describe LocoRoco 2 by comparing it to any games other than the original LocoRoco, one of the flagship titles for the PlayStation Portable. Since then, there have been wonderful titles that pushed the system’s power and fantastic, innovative games that shifted the way we look at the medium. Regardless, the original LocoRoco managed to stay on top as one of the best pieces of software on the system, spitting in the face of its unique features and 3D capabilities. The sequel LocoRoco 2, does very little to separate itself from its predecessor, but manages to be just as whimsical and wonderful.
Just as before, players control a LocoRoco, which is, for lack of a better way to describe it, that yellow thing in the screenshots. Pressing the shoulder buttons tilts the level, allowing for the blob to roll, and tapping them both launches him into the sky. It’s not a new mechanic, but it works, and the game’s controls are easy to learn for just about anyone. The only new mechanics in the sequel are areas that LocoRoco can squeeze into, that pull him around in a Sonic the Hedgehog kind of way, and underwater levels, modifying the formula only slightly, but enough to create a fresh feel.
Using the word difficult for any aspect of LocoRoco 2 besides “to put down” would be an overstatement. It’s nearly impossible to die, enemies usually just pick up the character and put him back down, and there aren’t any difficult jumps that actually need to be made. Sure, there are difficult jumps, there are hard-to-reach places, but they usually house bonus items or unlockables, and are hardly ever required. In many ways, it serves as a foil to last week’s release of Prinny: Can I Really Be a Hero?, creating the same pleasure but in an entirely different way. Where Prinny takes perfect precision, LocoRoco requires players to sit back, hold a trigger, and smile at the cute faces the characters make. It’s stupid fun, but stupid fun is still genuinely entertaining.
Visually and audibly, LocoRoco 2 is a treat for the senses. The same solid colored shapes from the previous installment return along with the wonderfully adorable music and sound effects. Stylistically it all fits together, and the graphics mesh wonderfully with the mood of the game. Underwater levels, for instance, feature adorable sea otters, who will pick up the LocoRoco and smash him into tiny pieces on his belly with a rock. It’s so adorable that it’s difficult to move away from the “enemy” and continue the level, since allowing him his fun seems like a much grander reward.
LocoRoco 2 is a pleasure. It lacks the depth of some of its contemporaries, to be sure, but in terms of sheer enjoyment value few games come close. It’s euphoric, and there’s more than enough content and unlockables to justify the $19.99 price tag. While the series would still benefit greatly from a touch screen or motion controls, LocoRoco 2 is a must own for PSP fans, and one of the best games on the system.