Recently Sony has been bringing its older classics to the PS4 in full remastered glory, and LocoRoco is one of latest. Originally available on the PlayStation Portable, this family-friendly puzzle-platformer, in which you aid jelly-like characters through an array of colorful levels, received high praise, but was this fun-packed title from SCE Japan Studio worthy of a remake?
Perhaps it’s the child in me, but I simply cannot stop smiling as soon as the controller is in my hands. The outside world just fades away and the world of LocoRoco just spews out catchy melodies, sung so sweetly by your little LocoRocos that it fits the very existence of the game’s vibrant world.
Having your little LocoRoco sing the world’s theme tune is cute enough, but once you amass more LocoRocos in a level, you’ll split that giant LocoRoco to hear a chorus of adorable little balloon-like creatures jump around like they’re having amazing fun. If that doesn’t make you smile then having your LocoRoco’s sing to clouds and other creatures that block your path will make your heart melt when you see their faces turn to a massive smile.
Having characters put a smile on your face might be fine, but if the level design is frustrating then it can turn that smile into a frown and you would soon be throwing your controller at the wall. Thankfully the level design is every bit as wonderfully created as the characters.There are multiple level types that change the characteristics of your LocoRocos. Ice is certainly slippery but the level design is done in such a way that you can take advantage of the speed amassed from tilting the world in either direction. Jungle levels, for example, have lots of water and creatures that try to take your LocoRocos, while sand maps that are slow and intricate. Each level plays very differently and require their own playstyles.
Every level holds its secrets. Trying to find MuiMuis to unlock extra home parts, or finding those hidden flies and LocoRoco plants can be challenging. A lot of hidden places are obvious to find with slight deviations in the walls, but some are also hidden. There are other portions where your LocoRoco will have its hair suddenly stand up to say, “I found a secret”. The dynamics for each and every level is intricately done, from the constant moving scenery to the individual characters, nothing stops moving and it makes the world feel alive.
Completing the game takes a short while so having LocoRoco 2 included as a bundle would have been the sweet spot, but completing 40 levels in about 5 minutes each will fly by. However, there are challenges that will keep you going for much longer, and the time trials will make you want to pull your hair out at times, making you wonder where you lost the time. To unlock time trial mode for the level, you need to find every LocoRoco on that level first, and those Mojas will try to stop and eat you if you’re not careful!
Collecting flies seems meaningless at first. The more you collect then the more you start to wonder what and where do you use them? Well, the flies are used in a mini crane game. If you’ve played those daunting arcade crane games where it’s almost impossible to catch anything, then you know exactly what you’re in for here.
Every object has a different shape with a rarity value to them. Get these objects and they’ll unlock another house part. There are also LocoRocos to grab too (with a maximum of 20 of each type of LocoRoco). After obtaining your building blocks of pride and joy, you can roll over to the house builder.
When acquiring MuiMuis during the game, the more you have then the larger your house can become, eventually becoming so large that you can make a gigantic intricate maze for your LocoRocos to play around in and work their way down to the bottom of the map. All this while singing in tandem to the song you chose.
For a platformer, the controls are extremely simple. You use both shoulder buttons to rotate the world, press both shoulder buttons to jump, and use the circle button to split and combine your LocoRocos together. You can use the added option of tilting your controller instead, but I found it a little cumbersome. There is no real need for extra buttons to an otherwise simple game.
It’s hard to fault LocoRoco as the game looks stunning on the big screen, but – like with other remasters – the cutscenes look blurry. While I have not played the game at UHD, the cutscenes stood out a lot, at UHD I‘d imagine they would look even worse. It’s a shame as it’s the only blip on this incredibly crisp-looking and fun platformer.