LocoRoco is one of those titles that you expect to see doing quite well in Japan but fail to see a release in other regions. The game relies heavily on charm, presentation, and sick amounts of cuteness to compliment its rather simple gameplay to provide an experience for its audience. So does Loco Roco live up to the excitement that has surrounded its release? Read on and we’ll jump right in.
With sales of the PSP lagging behind the DS heavily in Japan, many pointed at LocoRoco to be the PSP’s “savior.” They argued that this would open the Japanese gamer’s eyes to the fact that the PSP offered quirky and original titles in addition to its lineup of PS2 and PSOne ports and remakes. In the end Loco Roco didn’t fare to well and many blamed it’s lack of success on a stingy buying audience; but after spending a lot of time with the game, I can see why it didn’t fare as well as many people were expecting.
LocoRoco is a fun game, it’s just not exceptionally noteworthy on any fronts. Sure, the game looks pretty and has some interesting level designs, but the gameplay is pretty shallow and repetitive. Well, simple might be a better word than shallow; but the point remains that there’s not a lot of depth to be found here. Charm can only carry the game for so long before you begin asking yourself, “is this all?” Even with the repetitive play, however, the title is interesting enough to urge you on and hold your attention long enough to keep you playing to the finish. There are tons of hidden objects to find, but the majority of gamers out there are likely to toss the game aside soon after its initial completion. One very appreciable aspect about the gameplay, however, is the fact that the game is extremely accessible. Loco Roco might not provide the deepest experience, but it can provide a good time for anybody of any age or level of gaming experience.
The audio and visual package in LocoRoco are really its greatest stregnth. The game is colorful and animates extremely well while maintaining a silky smooth framerate. The music is catchy, and the sound effects are snappy and bright. Anybody that has many complaints about either the sound or graphics in LocoRoco might need to check their hearing and eyesight because something is definitely not right with them.
The replay factor of LocoRoco really depends on how quickly you tire of the repetitive nature of the game. Some will find that they simply must find all of the hidden items and secret paths scattered in the levels; while others will feel satisfied with just the initial playthrough. For those that choose to go back for more, there’s plenty to find. To be fair to the title, there really is a lot packed into each level. It’s also nice that the game tracks your time in each level. This can further extend the game by urging you to go back and perform speed runs on each of the levels. Hopefully you find yourself compelled to return to the game after your first run; the game is pretty short compared to most other handheld titles.
In the end I guess I did find myself enjoying LocoRoco, just not to the extent I expected myself to. As mentioned earlier, the game is fun, it’s just lacking a bit of variety in the gameplay department. I like the foundation that has been laid down here and I’d be interested in seeing a sequel. More varied moves, multiplayer modes, and longer levels could have made what is a good game into a great one.
Overall Score: 7 out of 10