Haiku review here's a more in depth look at the game. We discover the same great game play join new baddies and a smattering of mini games to make this an excellent follow up to the original."/>
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Here is another confident outing of Sony Japan Studio's LocoRoco. After our novel Haiku review here's a more in depth look at the game. We discover the same great game play join new baddies and a smattering of mini games to make this an excellent follow up to the original.
If you have somehow missed the hippy love-in that was the first LocoRoco, let me bring you up to speed. The game puts you in control of small, singing, dough-like creatures who exist to defend their planet from the sticky paws of the evil Moja. Well, in actual fact you don't control the LocoRocos themselves at all - instead you tilt the environment and use gravity to get them where they need to go.
LocoRoco sensibly continues this simple story and minimal controls of the original. The PSP's Left and Right trigger buttons are used to tilt, holding them both down to jump, and the O button is used for everything else. The simplicity of this interaction perfectly matches the smooth shaded lines of the game's aesthetic. This really is gaming for the iPod generation - where every corner is rounded and every blade of grass suitably coiffeured.
Each level soon starts to stretch these controls as you do your utmost to gain access to every last nook and cranny. Like a traditional platform games the main task is to progress from left to right through the environment. But alongside this is a wonderfully honed puzzle game. As you journey through the world there are berries to collect that increase the size of your LocoRoco and grant the ability to split into a number of constituent parts (with just a tap of the O button). Spotting a berry (or one of the other collectibles) often leads to some great puzzle gaming moments as you try to figure out how to get to them.
It's this labyrinthine quality to each world that makes LcocRoco 2 almost endlessly replayable.
It's this labyrinthine quality to each world that makes LcocRoco 2 almost endlessly replayable. Even if you do manage to complete a level with a full store of LocoRocos there is still the challenge of doing so in the fastest time. Here, expert players will delight in draining every last drop form each world, and doing so with record breaking speed.
But for all that, it is hard to get away from the fact that this is a game that comes alive in the hands of a casual player. I could hand the PSP to my other half and let her figure out what to do with minimal prompting. Although she doesn't play a lot of games she instantly warmed to the LocoRoco world - singing along with its calypso tunes, bopping her head as her LocoRocos danced their way around the place.
This is a game that is almost as good to watch as it is to play. In fact there are often times when proactive players are actually penalised. Having spend a good ten minutes trying to figure out a way forward in a level, it wasn't until Jo had a go and let the LocoRoco rest a while that it triggered a suction pad that let us proceed. I'd been too busy jumping and bouncing all over the place for it to work.
Another nod to the family player is the inclusion of mini-games to break up longer levels.
Another nod to the family player is the inclusion of mini-games to break up longer levels. The idea here is to provide a little light relief from the tilting and jumping. These, often rhythm action related, games call upon the expansive LocoRoco cast for some relatively familiar games - whacking moles and music tap along to name a couple. Although these add a degree of value to the overall package, they end up being more of a distraction than anything else.
More welcome is the inclusion of some proper enemies. Whereas the first game never put the player under much threat. LocoRoco 2 introduces genuine danger in the form of Venus fly trap plants, blowfish, , stinging bees and the troublesome Bui Bui. Falling prey to these wrong doers usually results in the loss of one of your collected LocoRoco.
The first game was criticised for not catering to the hard core gamer. The second game doesn't solve that problem - and is still best placed in the hands of a casual player. But this is all for the good. LocoRoco 2 continues the strength of the first game because it knows what it is - an incredibly simple platform game that is instantly playable by pretty much anyone.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: