LocoRoco 2 PSP
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
One of the best games on the PSP to date has been LocoRoco. Rather than being a sloppy port from a PlayStation 2 game or a half-hearted attempt at creating something original, the game was a work of art and quite unlike any other game on any other system. The game was as simplistic as it was visually appealing. It was a game that anyone could play and it was truly hypnotic into the bargain and it was possible to sit down with the game and play for hours at time. Thankfully, LocoRoco 2 is largely more of the same with a few additions here and there to spice things up a little.
In LocoRoco 2 you'll have to guide your LocoRoco through a series of levels in an attempt to rescue other LocoRoco (there are 20 in each level) and defeat the evil Moja creatures, who have decided to attack the LocoRoco planet once again, armed with a terrible song that can suck the life-force out of living things. Controlling your LocoRoco is as simple as it could be, well actually you don't have direct control over your LocoRoco. Pressing the R and L buttons will tilt the screen which will cause your LocoRoco to roll around. Pressing the R and L buttons simultaneously will make your LocoRoco jump. During any of the missions your LocoRoco will become larger when eating flower buds. For every flower bud it eats, it can split into an additional amount of LocoRocos. You'll need to split your LocoRoco (by pressing the circle button) into smaller LocoRocos in order to navigate through some parts of the level otherwise your LocoRoco would be too large. There are also certain objects where you need a specific number of smaller LocoRoco in order to operate them. Holding down the circle button will cause the smaller LocoRoco to rejoin into one again.
Whilst the game is largely a very similar experience to the original LocoRoco, there are some extra things the LocoRoco can do this time around. There are hidden locations to find. The LocoRoco can swim through the underwater levels. They can climb into shells and use them as battering rams. The LocoRoco will climb into the shell and it's up to you to roll them around and smash any obstacles that are in your way. There are a few mini-games here too, ranging from the Whack-a-Mole type game to a racing game where you have to choose which LocoRoco will win (and then races plays out automatically). There is a rhythm mini-game too, where you have to press the circle button at the correct time. This won't cause deaf gamers any problems as you can see when the button needs to be pressed by following the on-screen prompt. This mini-game will earn you musical notes, which you need to collect during a mission to earn bonuses. None of these new additions really change the basic formula of the game but they do provide some mildly interesting diversions.
Visually the game is just as delightful as the original LocoRoco. The game uses the same simple and cute 2D visuals and they are just as effective and charming this time around. The physics of the gelatinous LocoRoco are just as impressive this time around too. There are no performance issues with a frame rate that's silky smooth and load times that are impressively short, even on our PSP (which is the original PSP model and therefore can't take advantage of the extra memory that helps to shorten load times on the later models).
The LocoRoco speak in a kind of gibberish so all of the important conversations are shown in text. Tutorial information from a character known as MuiMui is exclusively in text. There aren't any captions for the various sound effects in the game but there are some visual clues for certain sounds. I particularly like the way the lightning flashes when you split your LocoRoco into smaller LocoRocos and the screen will also shake when you join all of them back together into one large LocoRoco. Text descriptions are also given for the game's levels.
LocoRoco is still one of the best games on the PSP and the same can be said of LocoRoco 2. If, for some reason, you didn't like the original LocoRoco then there's nothing here that will change your mind. For those of us who enjoyed the game however, it's great to see a sequel that's just as enjoyable. The level designs are more interesting and it feels like you have to do more in each level than you did in the original game. The new additions don't really change the game's basic formula but that's not as disappointing as you might think because there wasn't really anything wrong with it to begin with. The game is a little on the short side but it's a game that you will return to and play through multiple times because of how enjoyable it is and for a game that's less than £20 that's certainly impressive.