Electronic Theatre Preview: LocoRoco

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Electronic Theatre Image            LocoRoco is the most unusual of PSP titles. Being developed as a First-Party title, it’s clear the game is meant to act as SONY’s “artsy” release in comparison to the likes of Electroplankton on the NintendoDS and Rez on the DreamCast (later ported to the PlayStation2 in less-than all-its-glory). The title is a 2D Platform-Puzzler inspired by the likes of Archer MacLean’s Mercury and DK: King Of Swing.

            The idea of the game is relatively simple; controlling the ground-level as opposed to your avatar, you must tilt the ground by use of the L and R Triggers to move your Roco through obstacles, gathering Oranges to expand to a pre-set size before reaching the end of each Level. Pressing both L and R together flicks the ground and makes your avatar bounce, whilst holding one Trigger and pressing the other performs a small Jump action. Enemies may only be defeated by jumping into them, whilst flicking the avatar into them will result in damage to yourself. Eating Oranges expands your size to the point where you may no longer be able to fit through specific areas in each Level, at which point you must split your Roco into each of its separate pieces with a press of the Circle Button, and re-group after circumnavigating the set-piece by holding the same button for a few seconds.

            Hidden areas are common and often generate great rewards, but as a contradiction areas in which there is no escape also appear – forcing a Level restart through no fault of the player. The 2D imagery of the title is endearing in its simplistic nature, and the sound-effects are also as cutesy as any gamer’s girlfriend could wish.

            Despite its apparent flaws, LocoRoco is clearly an original piece of work that suits the PSP well, and offers its unique nature through its bold, colourful, expressionistic stylings. Whether or not LocoRoco is to your taste, much like the PlayStation2’s Okami, can only be discovered through play; but it is clear that as much as everyone should try it once; many won’t play beyond that.





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