Around 10 years ago, Sony Interactive Entertainment released a game that captured the hearts of players worldwide. It wasn’t a triple A game, it wasn’t even a “Oh I’m waiting for this!” type of game, but it was more of something that really took everyone by surprise. LocoRoco was an innovative 2D platform / action game that had charm and character, and even with the simplest of mechanics and cartoony graphics, LocoRoco was a game that showed the world that you can make a great game even without realistic graphics or explosions everywhere. With the game being remastered for the PS4 nearly a decade later, is the game still relevant in the midst of Nier, Persona 5, Mass Effect Andromeda, and other top class games?
The vibrant, thriving and lush worlds of LocoRoco have been revitalized for the PS4 with graphics rendered in native 4k and a control scheme to take advantage of the Dualshock 4. I’m a bit disappointed that some of the cinematics weren’t remasted and looked grainy compared to the rest of the game, but that hardly matters as the in game graphics looks absolutely beautiful! Forget comparing it to realistic looking games like The Witcher or Mass Effect, LocoRoco has its own unique art style and it does excessively well in that department. LocoRoco uses a lot of basic shapes and colors set upon a very clean background, which makes the elements pop out more. Colorful art pieces, expressive reactions, cute and endearing sounds – these are just some of the few things that make LocoRoco relevant now as it was 10 years ago. There’s also very little “plot” involved here, you simply have to defend your planet as the invading “Moja Corps” attack and as one dimensional as it may sound, all you really have to do is get the LocoRoco from one end of the level to the other. Less is more and in the case of LocoRoco, less is definitely what makes it such an appealing game.
Controls are very straightforward as well, easy enough to pick up and understand within a couple of minutes, maybe even less than a minute actually! You simply navigate through the world by tilting it left or right which will allow your LocoRoco to fall down a path while collecting berries that will add and grow your LocoRoco. You start out with one, but collecting the berries will add another and another until you are able to navigate all of them to the end of the level. Pressing / Holding the Circle button will separate or fuse your LocoRoco’s together, allowing you to traverse certain obstacles and access previously locked places due to size constraints. In between that objective, there are a lot of small things to do and collect along the way and this is where the game really shines. You get to meet and collect Mui Muis as well as other inhabitants and they will give you rewards that you can use when you take a break from rolling through the levels and getting to build your own Loco house, which is basically an aquarium of sorts.
Level design across the 40 levels are really well thought of and you’ll most likely be repeating each level more than once if you’re a completionist since there’s a quite a few things to collect and most levels are designed in such a way that if you miss a jump or an alternate path, you won’t be able to backtrack because you’ve already fallen down from a cliff or some other obstacle. While a lot of the levels are interesting and will make you think twice about just rolling along, the lack of depth can make the levels feel repetitive towards the end of the journey. Since you can only do so much within the level, you might start to feel a bit like you’re trodding the same path again and again. The levels have a lot of interesting obstacles and mechanics that’ll keep you on your toes, but in the end, it’s mainly just rolling down a slope, jumping around, and getting the LocoRoco’s to the other side.
There are also 2 mini games that you can unlock which add a bit more fun if you’re taking a break from the levels. One is a crane type game where you get to win cute items to display at your Loco House and the other somewhat reminds me of an obstacle course that you have to traverse. Each mini game has it’s charm, but I’m afraid it does not add too much depth to the experience.
- Very casual yet addicting gameplay
- Simple control scheme
- Art direction is superb
- Short game
- Mini games could use a bit more work, or maybe 1-2 more mini games just to shake things up a bit.
- Feels repetitive towards the end
- Short game
All in all, LocoRoco still feels relevant, even after 10 years since it was first released. It’s not a deep game by any means, and with only 40 levels, you can expect to finish the game in around maybe 4-6 hours but in the middle of games like Persona 5 and Mass Effect, which will take you upwards of 60-80 hours, short and fun games like LocoRoco give you that much needed break. LocoRoco is a solid 7/10 for me and will appeal to new players and fans of the old PSP version. Check out a few more screens below and get ready for a good time as LocoRoco Remastered hits the PS4 when it launches on June 22, 2017!
Final Score 7/10