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LocoRoco PSP

Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

LocoRoco, an introduction.

Whichever way you look at it, the PSP is proving to be a success. Sure it's not the handheld market leader at the moment, but its sales figures are healthy and it continues to do well. The console does have its critics though and it's often been claimed that the game console has featured too many 'ports' of PlayStation 2 titles and that it doesn't have any worthwhile and original titles to call its own. Thanks to LocoRoco though that's a complaint which is no longer valid.

What's the game about?

In LocoRoco you'll take control of jelly, blob-like creatures known as LocoRoco. Essentially you'll take them on a quest to save their planet from the Moja Troop, evil aliens from outer space. You'll have to navigate your LocoRoco through a variety of crazy, but ever so cute looking, environments. In total there are around 40 different environments with 8 levels in each of the game's five worlds. In each level you'll have to collect berries, collect up to 20 LocoRoco and collect LocoRoco house parts which are given to you by the friendly MuiMui creatures when you find them in a level. Of course you'll have to watch out for the Moja creatures who are out to foil the plans of the LocoRoco. In addition to the main mode there are a few mini-games and mode where you can build houses for the LocoRoco. These other modes won't hold your attention for long (probably no more than five minutes) but the main game is pure gold.

What's good about the game?

Handheld games need to be simple to learn, have oodles of charm and be so addictive that the only time you want to stop playing is when the battery power is about to run out.  LocoRoco certainly fits the bill then as it has all of these qualities in spades. Controlling your LocoRoco is as simple as it could be, you just press the R button to tilt the screen up to 30 degrees to the right and the L button to tilt the screen up to 30 degrees to the left. With the screen tilted your LocoRoco will roll. In addition to rolling your LocoRoco you can also jump (by pressing the L & R buttons together), become larger (by eating flower buds), fend off enemy creatures, eat berries and split your LocoRoco into small creatures to navigate through tight spaces (the flower buds not only increase the size of your LocoRoco, they also allow your LocoRoco to split into a greater number of smaller LocoRocos in order to negotiate obstacles that would simply be impossible for the full size LocoRoco.  There are various creatures, in some of the levels, that can change the shape of your LocoRoco and it makes a nice change having to manoeuvre a triangular or square LocoRoco for a while. What I really like about the game is that it's just a whole load of fun.

What's not so good about the game?

It's difficult to fault LocoRoco to be honest. We would have liked your progress to have been autosaved (or at least the game should have included the option to enable an autosave feature). Some levels are reused which is a little disappointing but otherwise there's not much to complain about.

How does it look?

LocoRoco, as you can see from the screenshots, is a 2D game. Some may be disappointed with this but given the nature of the game it's fair to say that the game just wouldn't have worked well at all had it been done in 3D. The graphics are at the same time simple and charming. The star has to be the LocoRoco that you manoeuvre around. As the LocoRoco becomes bigger he becomes more deformable and you'll see his bulk deformed quite nicely by the objects he lands on. The quality of the animations as a whole is first class and it's clear that the developers have put a lot of effort into them.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Deaf gamers won't have any problems with LocoRoco. All of the important information such as tutorial messages is shown in text. The game's few cutscenes don't really use dialogue (verbal or text) as it's not really needed. Deaf gamers will be unaware of the additional charm the game's audio adds to the title which is unfortunate but at least there are no obstacles for deaf gamers, which is all that matters with a game of this quality.

Final thoughts.

LocoRoco is a work of art and in all honesty is the best PSP game we've seen to date. The game's innovative, addictive and thoroughly charming. In fact it's a recommended purchase for every PSP owner (of every age) who wants a game that's going to leave a huge smile on their face. It's also a game I would like to see appear on the PlayStation 3. In fact considering that the game could make use of the motion sensing controller on the PlayStation 3 it would make a lot of sense if the game was to appear on the console. LocoRoco is easily one of the most enjoyable and addictive games we've played in a while.

Overall Game Rating: 9.3/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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The PSP desperately needed an original and innovative game to breathe life into a games catalogue that's filled with ported (and often cut-down) versions of PS2 games. LocoRoco is just the game PSP owners have been waiting for and is quite simply the best game on the console to date.