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LocoRoco 2 - PSP - Preview


Posted by: jkdmedia

LocoRoco has been touted by Sony as being the happiest game on Earth. That’s debatable, but it is almost certainly the bounciest game created for PSP. LocoRoco 2, the hotly anticipated sequel, adds more bounce – and more world-tilting excitement – to the formula that made the first game a success. If this preview build is any indication, the results will make you very happy.

It’s hard to say if LocoRoco 2 picks up where the last game left off since the dialogue is gibberish and the story is unclear. But it seems that the LocoRoco blob species is in turmoil once more – and it’s up to you to tilt the world, bounce them around and ensure that turmoil (an angry cloud species) goes away for good.

Kulche, the yellow LocoRoco (and “energetic youngster”), is still the main character in the game. He is joined by Viole, the “confident tomboy;” Budzi, the “loose cannon;” Pekerone, the “exuberant geek” (sounds like the name of a Pokemon, don’t you think?); Chavez, the “cool speed freak;” Priffy, the “stylish princess;” and Tupley, the “voracious fella.” Not every character will be available from the start, but it appears that each has a significant purpose. Pekerone, for example, seems to have the most bounce, while Viole was the most effective for one of the mini-games. That mini-game utilized the creature cannons, which inhale LocoRoco and shoot them across the environment. Another mini-game tests your shooter skills with an R-Type-style aerial event.

As before, collectibles are a part of the adventure, with berries holding the most (literal) weight. Most striking, however, is the way the levels are designed. In one of them you’ll swing a black LocoRoco across vines, deform his body into different shapes (one large triangle and several tiny squares), and spin him around a giant Ferris Wheel-type circular object. The object has multiple snake-like tentacles sticking out from it, which will grab onto each LocoRoco when in split form. In tilting the world, players will spin this large sphere toward the leaning side of the level.

That large brown thing may look like part of his head, but it is actually a shell.

Chances are you’ve heard about LocoRoco 2’s inclusion of shells. In words alone, that doesn’t sound too exciting. But the reality is pretty cool: by climbing into these oval-shaped, rock-hard objects, LocoRocos can bounce more efficiently, cross dangerous platforms (such as spikes) without worry, and blast through environmental barriers to acquire berries and other goodies.

Speaking of berries, they are hidden much better this time around. You’ll always have enough to get by, if that’s all you care about. But those who wish to dig deeper and acquire as many as possible will have their work cut out for them. If there’s a hard-to-see crevice or an area that is only accessible for a split second during a freefall, you can bet that’s where at least one of the berries will be hidden, ensuring that players have to go through the stage multiple times before they are done. Under water exploration adds to the difficulty, as you now have another level dimension to cover.

LocoRoco 2 also includes several rhythmic challenges inspired by music games (it doesn’t look like Guitar Hero but the comparisons are inevitable) and LocoRoco’s own catchy music. The end result is pretty simple: when arriving at certain places in the game – like a giant sun creature that has fallen asleep – you’ll see an image noting how many LocoRoco you must have to progress. If you meet the minimum requirements, your LocoRoco will split into its small, dispersed form (if it hasn’t already) and the challenge will begin. One to three dozen musical note icons will appear on screen. When the activation note begins to scroll across them, tap the circle button just as it covers each note. By hitting as many notes as possible, you’ll produce successive sounds that play along with the background music, and earn note items that can raise your stage level.

Cue the horror music.

Bouncing into stores February 10, LocoRoco 2 appears to have what it takes to make a ruckus in the drowsy winter gaming season. PlayStation Portable owners and prospective PSP buyers should definitely take note.

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