The original LocoRoco was probably as close as to a killer app the PSP has; exclusive, unique, reasonably innovative — a great game. Wasn't a perfect game, however, as it had a few problems.
Chief among them was the fact it played like a glorified tech demo, with very little to offer outside of a joyous control mechanism and a catchy theme song. Fast forward to 2008, and we're presented with LocoRoco 2, the game's long-awaited sequel, which has things a little harder than you'd think. Tinker with the perfect control scheme and you'd ruin the whole thing. Add too much to the bare-bones original and you'd ruin the game's charming simplicity.
It's a knife's edge! Let's hum a tune while skipping through to the review, see how LocoRoco 2 shapes up.
Flesh: Like I said, the first LocoRoco was a glorified tech demo. LocoRoco 2 feels like a game. It has a story, it has a variety of distractions to the main game, it has puzzle sections, it even has the odd boss fight. Oh, and — get this — a Mui Mui rearmament program. Crucially, however, you never feel like these are tacked on, or are a bit too much. They just feel right, like this is what LocoRoco should have been all along.
Curve: Seems some lessons were learned from the first game in terms of difficulty and progression. Actual level progression has been made easier, while for perfectionists, bonus items are now harder to find. Makes for a more enjoyable experience if you just want to blow through the game, and a more involving one if you want to find every hidden gem the game has to offer.
Expansion Pack: While the additions to the first game's structure are welcome, they didn't have to be so lazy with the rest of it. The bulk of the game - from music to menu screens to even some of the level templates - carry over from the first game. Not that this is entirely a bad thing, just would have been nice for a bit more new stuff for a game that's been two years in the making.
These days, good PSP games are hard to find. Great ones, like this, are even harder. LocoRoco 2 strikes a near-perfect balance between holding onto the key qualities of the original and making all-around improvements, and if you're a PSP owner starved for quality, original content on your handheld, you're mad if you don't at least give this game a look.
LocoRoco 2 was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, published by Sony Computer Entertainment. Released on November 27 in Australia. Retails for $49.95. Played single player story mode to completion.
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