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  • Game Review: Loco Roco (PSP)

    Loco Roco
    Publisher: Neversoft Entertainment
    Developer: Activision
    Genre: Sports
    Players: 1-4
    Reviewed by gdf

    Loco Roco, released last summer on Sony's portable, is without a shadow of doubt the happiest game ever made. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise and if you happen to disagree then you really have no soul. It is a game made of Happy, the idea being to roll a happy ball creature around the happy levels on their happy little planet. The plot is a stripped down version of the traditional battle of good versus evil; the planet is being attacked by evil alien invaders called Mojas, and it is up to you and the friendly fluorescent testicle things to save the day.

    The control scheme is simple but effective, doing away with the d-pad and nub and using the R and L buttons to allow the player to rotate the world right and left. You press both at the same time to make your Loco hop, and circle to split it into all its little parts, providing you with the means to get through small spaces. As you progress you will come across red fruits, which you eat to add another ball to your main one. This means the next time you split it, there will be more Locos and you get points at the end of the level for collecting them. You can lose the poor things if you fall on a spike or get sucked up by a Moja and you will be terribly distressed by their little screams as they are separated from the others.

    The levels are packed with fun features and secret areas. Some creatures you meet will help you out, for example giving you a boost up to a higher platform. Other objects are to be found throughout the world, with trampolines and air streams particular highlights. These are all useful and will have you smiling with childish glee. Secret areas often house fruit or Mui Muis, the Locos' friends, and can be fiendishly hard to find. This ensures you will keep coming back to the same levels in order to find all 20 Locos and all the Mui Muis. The game itself is quite short however, with 5 worlds of 8 levels each. Considering the longest time it takes to complete a level is ten minutes, it can be over and done with in a few hours. Bonus games and level editors help, but fail to add much longevity to the game. The length poses a real problem, as though the game has buckets of replay value, it is so damned addictive that you can end up running out of stuff to do in a week.

    Fortunately, this is one of the only weak points of the game, and doesn't detract much from the overall experience. An area it really excels in is the sound. The music fits the backgrounds brilliantly and really contributes to the overall feel of the game; you can't help but grin when you see your Loco sing along to the sprightly tunes. Aside from the music, the visuals are impressive, managing to look cute and sharp at the same time. It all looks like some kind of surreal cartoon, but it is very well done and neat. The graphics make it very accessible; gamers and non-gamers alike will lap it up and rightly so, because it works for everyone: Kids will enjoy the cartoony looks, girls will love the cuteness factor and gamers will play it to death trying to find all the Muis and fruit. It really is one of those "Family" games, but not shit like Buzz.

    Sadly, there is no Multiplayer, but level sharing is available. I would love to have bashed around the world with a mate, but the next best thing is the game sharing, which allows your friend to sample the game on his/her PSP. This is great as it allows you to share the joys and spread the love. The game can be pretty psychedelic at times, which can only be a good thing. There are five colours of Loco to unlock and you find them as you progress. Each has a distinctive look and their own little antenna thing (a la Teletubbies), that wags when you are near something important. Occasionally, your Loco will split up and sing a song to help one of the other creatures feel better, and if that doesn't brighten up your day then your heart is actually made of coal from the fiery pits of Hell. That has been shit out by the devil. Into a...you get the picture.

    Loco Roco is a quality example of how things should be done on the PSP. Originality is the keyword here, and although it isn't the first ball rolling game ever (Check Super Monkey Ball and Katamari Damacy for that) it is one of the best games on the system. It is a perfect fit and highly recommended for all ages. Loco is more what would be expected on the DS, but it proves that cute can be done on any hardware. If Sony don't do a version of this with motion sensitive controls on PS3, then they are seriously screwed in the head. A great 2D platformer.

    Replay Value 3/5 Hampered by a short lifespan.
    Sound 5/5 Well judged and in the right tone. Perfect.
    Graphics 4.5/5 So cute it makes you want to cry tears of joy.
    Gameplay 4.5/5 A shining example of PSP brilliance.

    One of the system's greatest. Simplicity is the answer.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Game Review: Loco Roco (PSP) started by gdf View original post
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