LocoRoco designer Tsutomu Kouno knows better than to mess with a good thing and LocoRoco was most certainly that. Taking direct control away from gamers, the light-hearted gelatinous-filled title instead had gamers shifting the world around the characters to move them.
Personally, I loved the game. It was packed with character, catchy music and made-up language. LocoRoco 2 looks to be all of that and more. Maybe, just maybe, a bit too much more, but really we'll have to wait to see.
To kick off his demo of the game Kouno brought up a level and showed us the familiar blob bopping along the cartoon landscape. The controls are the same, but now there are some new additions to the characters' moves. You can, for instance, now swim though water levels with the same sort of controls.
Another addition, an odd one, is the ability to go to an "afro tree" to select an afro that you can ride throughout the game.
"When in the hair you can move faster," he said.
The game also introduces a new Locoroco named Viole. The "confident tomboy" plays rock music and her particular brand of the game's nonsense language is said to have a slight German accent. Luke, who was in the interview with me, swears her song sounded like 99 Luftballons. But I think maybe it was the jet lag.
Another welcome addition is the creation of a Mui Mui house. Actually, the state we saw the thing in, the near fully-upgraded version, looked more like a Mui Mui apartment.
The house is created with the things your collect as you play through the game.
"Initially there is only one Mui Mui and one room, over time you can expand the house and add more Mui and it becomes very vibrant," he said.
The house we saw was packed with all sorts of things from tubs, to closets to bells to furniture, some of which you interact with. You could, for instance get Mui Mui to put on clothes, or draw them to a room by ringing a bell. As your home grows so do the pay offs. For instance you can eventually unlock a movie theatre that will play movies. Kouno showed us a few seconds of a "clay" movie featuring LocoRoco. He said the movie was made by an outside development team and runs five minutes long.
The basement of the home also allows you to unlock certain hidden stages in the game which are much, much harder to beat.
"The main game is very simple but hidden stages are very difficult," he said.
Of all the things they showed us for the game only one thing disappointed me. Kouno said those songs seen in the original game as a sort of cut scene are now fully interactive.
"They're like a rhythm game," he said.
Personally, I'd prefer them to be non-interactive. Those songs were a sort of pay off for me at the end of each section of the map and I enjoyed sitting back to listen to them.
The new game will also be a bit shorter, with only 25 levels, but you can also replay through the stages in different modes, like racing or quests.