Up until now we have been a little disappointed by all but a few PSP titles in the fact they are either ports, or games 'remade' for the system from successful franchises. However to be fair it usually takes about a year for consoles to start getting original content and the PSP was never going to break the mold. However now we are starting to get some original content on the system. One of which is this game, LocoRoco, a first party title from Sony which is crazy but one of the best games on the system. If you love Katamari Damacy and the quirkiness of that title then LocoRoco is sure to be a hit.
The storyline of LocoRoco is a little like Damacy's. It begins with a happy world snoozing at night, before it is invaded by black clouds that try and defeat the inhabitants going about their happy lives. You need to protect the inhabitants by avoiding the black clouds and progressing to the end of levels with the most in tact. This is not a game you play for the storyline, however, it is presented with very vibrant colours, and does have some very humorous moments. The secondary goal of the game is to wake up a number of environmental objects with songs, yes you guessed it, LocoRoco is yet another rhythm music game.
The game is best described as a side scrolling Katamari Damacy but you don't pick up objects, instead you gather new blobs to make a bigger blob and then split these blobs to solve puzzles or squeeze through small gaps. To do this all you basically do is tilt the screen with the shoulder buttons, and press them together to jump, it could not be easier, but it works so incredibly well. As you gather blobs, you become bigger allowing you to traverse through more terrain while pressing the O button, will split the blob into a lot of smaller blobs to solve puzzles or sing songs.
At various points through the game, if you have rescued enough blobs, they will perform a song for an environmental object allowing you to pass. We're not entirely sure but some of the music does seem covered from classics such as Bye Betty in a chipmunk style voice which does not make the lyrics audible. If you successfully complete these songs then you will be offered a piece for LocoRoco's house which is a mini game in itself and contains a very catchy theme tune.
And that's really all there is to it. One aspect of the game which is a bit disappointing is that it is a little easy to complete. We managed to get through the game fairly quickly, but it does increase in difficulty as you complete levels. Also it's hard to know when you have completed a level, if you get stuck chances are you have reached the end of the level and won't know this until you sit still and the blobs start to sing a song.
Visually the game is very well done but of course does not use the graphics to the full extent. Instead a 2D style side scrolling game is on offer with some of the brightest and most vibrant colours we've see in a game for a while. The music is also fantastic, and as you progress you will unlock more which many people will have playing on their system just to hear rather than play the game for quite some time to come.
LocoRoco is a crazy game that really shows when a developer sits down and comes up with an original idea, it can be fantastic. This is a game that proves that the PSP can do more than just port PS2 classics and shows that developers, when given the chance, can still produce some fantastic original handheld content. We love it!