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Developer:
Sony Computer Entertainment Japan
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Platform: PSP
Release Date: September 5, 2006

by Josh Ferguson




In September 2006, American shores received one of the most unique and weirdest titles to be seen since Namco released Katamari Damacy a few years ago. The title of the game is LocoRoco, and it was developed by Sony for their PlayStation Portable.


The storyline in LocoRoco takes place on a far-off planet where the small little blobs known as LocoRoco reside. If one were to visit the planet, they would see that the LocoRoco are a peaceful creature living in harmony, always singing and laughing. However, this all changes one day when the Moja Corps invades from the stars and begins terrorizing the planet. Having always lived in peace, the LocoRoco donít know how to deal with these evil creatures, and so it is up to you to take control of the planet and help save the LocoRoco!


In order to save the LocoRoco, you will basically have to move one of them throughout each of the game's levels and try to locate the exit. However, the thing is that you arenít actually controlling the LocoRoco, so in order to move them you will be using the L and R shoulder buttons to tilt the screen in one of the two directions, moving the LocoRoco along the way. Also, there will be some instances when the LocoRoco will need to jump to either defeat an enemy or make it through some environment, which can be done by holding down both of the shoulder buttons. The only other button that really will come in handy throughout the game is the circle button, which can be held to split your LocoRoco into smaller pieces or held to combine them once again. Overall, the controls in LocoRoco are some of the most simplistic and basic Iíve seen, but the game still works wonders and is easily accessible for individuals of all ages.


When you start one of the game's levels, there will only be one LocoRoco available. However, as time goes on you will be able to increase the size of your LocoRoco by eating berries found throughout the game's levels. Increasing the size of your LocoRoco can be handy for many reasons, including waking up sleeping creatures. Throughout the game, you will more than likely encounter some sleeping creatures, and the only way to wake them is to have the required amount of LocoRoco to sing their song until the creature awakens. These creatures range from the Mui Mui, (which are things you are supposed to locate through each level), test tube-looking creatures, or even the sun or clouds. While this is only secondary to the main mission of each level (securing the LocoRoco to the exit), there are other objectives and unlockables throughout the game.


During certain levels of the game, you will also come across other friendly LocoRoco who decide to tag along. Each LocoRoco is a different color, and provides a different singing voice, but there isnít much significant difference between them. After unlocking the LocoRoco, it is the playerís choice which of them they would like to continue as. Personally, I was a little more into the little yellow one, who I thought had the best voice and was just overall more fun than the others.


Easily one of the most disappointing things about LocoRoco is the fact that the game isnít very long. Chances are most individuals could get through the main quest in under 6 hours, but this is all without going back and locating all the game's hidden secrets. To add a little more gaming to the experience, LocoRoco has several mini-games that players can mess around with, including the Mui Mui Crane and Chuppa Chuppa. The Mui Mui Crane is similar to the crane machines filled with stuffed animals that can be found in nearby stores, but in this one it is filled with different LocoRocos. While the basic idea is the same, the items found in the Mui Mui Crane can be used towards your Loco House, which I will get to in a bit. The Chuppa Chuppa mini-game uses a Chuppa (which is a creature that launches your LocoRoco) to send you across the field, hoping to make it to the levels goal.


As far as the Loco House, this is an area where players can go and create their own little home for their LocoRoco. Many of the items that can be used for their house are the same ones that can be obtained by unlocking everything throughout the game's levels. After you create a house, the LocoRocos will often let you know how they feel about your home and the items inside. The game also allows players to send their Loco House to other players, as well as sending over your own created Loco Stage. While this creating can be a bit overwhelming, if an individual can do it properly than it could come out to be a whole lot of fun.


Graphically, LocoRoco is an overall beautiful game, featuring a large amount of colors and its own great sense of style. The look of the game's levels is quite unique and there are a wide variety of them, including some that take place inside of an animal (odd, yes) and others that remind me of something taken straight from the film, A Nightmare Before Christmas.


As far as the sound, LocoRoco features a large amount of singing and other high-quality sounds. Like I said before, each of the game's LocoRocos feature their own unique singing style, and during each of the game's levels they will be singing. The game also features some great background music, and combined with the catchy and constant singing, players will most definitely find themselves humming along. Aside from the music, the sound effects in the game work perfectly and sound great, whether it be the bouncing along or the splitting of your LocoRoco, everything sounds great.


Not only is LocoRoco one of the most unique and innovative games to hit the PSP, but it is one of the most unique games to hit all the systems. Aside from not being very long, everything else in the game works wonders, whether it be the soundtrack, graphics, or controls. The game could easily be recommended to individuals of all ages who are looking for a unique gaming experience.


Final Grade: 88%




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