The most common criticism you’ll hear about the PSP is that there are no must-have original games for it. Its library is full of ports, adaptations, and remakes of games you played 15 years ago. Sure, there are titles like Exit, but those are hardly must-have. The only title to fit that description is Lumines, and that came out when the system launched. But now there is LocoRoco, and it’s not only a must-have original game, but it’s one of the best games you’ll ever play.

In an industry that is obsessed with pushing more polygons, creating larger ‘sandbox’ environments, and make games as complex as possible, LocoRoco is a much-needed breath of fresh air. Its minimalist approach to everything it does will remind you why you started playing games in the first place.

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The game itself brings We Love Katamari and Sonic the Hedgehog to mind, yet it borrows from neither. The gameplay itself is simple enough. Players use the shoulder buttons to rock the screen to move the blob of an avatar as they explore and collect items – the player moves the environment rather than the character.

The player can, however, make the avatar jump by pressing both shoulder buttons, and this serves not only as a way to reach new platforms, but also as a mode of attack. In addition, players can press ‘Circle’ to split their blob into multiple blobs, a task that is often required when your completed blob, squishy as they may be, is just too large to fit in the passage.

However, you won’t need to split simply to get through smaller passages. You’ll need to split in order to work cogs, explore multiple areas, or to watch your multiple blobs commence in singing so cute it will make even the most manly of men gush.

By holding ‘Circle’, the blobs will begin to merge, complete with the most adorable chanting of “jooooooooooooin!” Holding the button briefly will allow players to control just how many blobs are on screen and, if necessary, players can explore multiple areas at once. Although it’s a simple dynamic, joining and merging adds a large amount of depth to the gameplay.

The game's simple but charming gameplay is backed up by the most unique sense of style to be seen in a video game. Despite the PSP being a ridiculously powerful handheld, LocoRoco forgoes polygons and even shading as it goes for its bold 2D animation.

The result, while simple, is refreshingly beautiful, if only because the characters and the environment boast immaculate design. It’s a beautiful reminder that there is more to making a good-looking game than simply pushing the hardware to its limits. The only downside is that the solid colours accentuate any dead or stuck pixels that your PSP might have.

The game's loading times are close to nonexistent, and the simple but addictive gameplay means that LocoRoco lends itself to the portable nature of the PSP. PSP owners that have been yearning for something new, this is it. It’s not only one of the most refreshing games in years, it’s also one of the best games available for any platform. If you have a PSP, you owe it to yourself to get this game. If you don’t have a PSP, LocoRoco is an excellent reason why you should. Purchase immediately.

"One of the best games you'll ever play."
- LocoRoco
Follow Own it? Rating: G   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 15 Min


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Comments Comments (1)

Posted by chinaman71
On Thursday 11 Dec 2008 10:35 AM
i shall buy it today!