What do you get when you blend a colour swatch, a choir, tilt controls and a children’s nursery into a video game? You get LocoRoco, that’s what. It’s an eclectic mix of vibrancy, childlike charm and clever controls, singing and platforming that can be challenging depending on how deep you want to go. Released almost a decade ago on the PSP, does it hold up on the monster that is the PS4? Let’s find out.
Calling all singing blobs
Welcome to the insane and loco world of LocoRoco which has recently been overtaken by the evil Mojas. To save the world, not only do you need fight off the Mojas but you also need to recruit new Locos to rebuild it. That’s pretty much the gist of the game, so if you’re looking for plot twists, deep narratives or excellent character building, then you might want to look somewhere else. If, however, you’re looking for an oddball title that will keep you and the littlies entertained for short periods of time, this is your game.
It sounds simple, but it’s actually a lot harder than it looks and sounds, especially if you’re trying to find the hidden areas and secrets.
As I’ve mentioned before, you’ll be playing as one of the Locos in the world. These are little singing blobs that can grow in size and multiply after eating fruit. Now that I think about it, the game is a cautionary tale that if you eat too much, you’ll get fat, but I digress. You’ll be thrust into a world and meant to get from one end to the other, but eating as much fruit (the max being 20) to grow the Loco population.
Tilt the world
In order to get through the said world, you need to move around. That’s where this game is a little different from your average Jumping Jack platformer. Instead of controlling the Loco completely, you can tilt the world so that your loco can roll to the left or the right. By using the L1 and R1 buttons, you can shift the world as well as the perspective. By pressing and releasing both buttons, you can make the Loco jump. It sounds simple, but it’s actually a lot harder than it looks and sounds, especially if you’re trying to find the hidden areas and secrets.
Aside from the tilting and jumping, the only other action you can do is split your loco into many mini-locos or absorb them all to make one large loco. This can be done with the circle button. By shifting between the two, you can get into smaller nooks and crannies, or use the weight of heavier loco to your advantage. It’s smart and very well conceived.
Not always in harmony
The one drawback to this smart style of platforming is that a glitch might get in your way. On more than one occasion, the game irritatingly locked itself into a titled state, forcing me to restart the level. Now I can understand a glitch or two, but this next irritation is less glitchy, and more bitchy. The music in the game is good, but there’s not a lot of variety, and if you play it long enough, it starts to sound like a broken record. Even worse than that, there’s the annoying choir chanting from the Locos themselves. All throughout the level they will sing the same tune over and over again. While it’s adorable at first, the novelty wears off and starts to wear you thin.
Picture almost perfect
Now, I feel almost the exact same with regards to the visuals and extras of the game. Visually, the game offers you so much. It’s like a colouring book that a child actually completed. There’s joy in the visuals and it practically oozes charm. The only gripe that I have is that it isn’t always smooth. I’m not talking frame rate smooth – which is brilliant, by the way – but rather the smoothness of the locos. They’re meant to be round, but sometimes the physics of the game, particularly in confined sections, may have a little freak out session. The round curves of the blobs become jagged and a little schizophrenic, and it’s clear that’s not meant to happen, so when it does, it’s very jarring.
The only gripe that I have is that it isn’t always smooth. I’m not talking frame rate smooth – which is brilliant, by the way – but rather the smoothness of the locos.
In terms of the extras and overall game time, you’re not looking at a whole lot. You gain access to three mini-games, one of which tends to bug out a little, as well as a LocoRoco house. The house is a bit like the hub in LittleBigPlanet, where you can use objects to create a little course for your Locos. You can unlock these objects by finding the cleverly hidden MuiMui scattered throughout the game. Altogether though, you’re looking at a game that is roughly 5 hours to complete. A little more if you’re going to find all the MuiMui.
Roll the credits
In the end, though, whether or not you do decide to find all the MuiMui, you’re left with a game that is charming, albeit annoying at times. It’s unique, colourful and is great for short bursts of play. It’s simple enough for kids, and also complex enough for adults. Is it the next big hit? No. Will it entertain any kids, definitely. It charmed the heck out of my niece and nephew, who I’m assuming is the target age category.