|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SONY Japan||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 10, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
With the return of the evil Moja, Sony had no choice but to make a sequel to LocoRoco, probably the most popular PSP platformer to date. It seems like the first time around LocoRoco left a few gamers hungry and the defeated Moja unsatisfied, so it's nice to be able to give this series another go.
Bonmucho, the Moja's leader, is determined to cause trouble for the cheerful blobs and their beloved planet. An evil song will do the trick, as its harmful notes will drain life and color out of any living creature in the LocoRoco's home world. Between the wicked song and the mischievous BuiBui army, our squishy, bouncy friends and their MuiMui allies have quite an adventure ahead of them, so there's no time to waste it's time to fight!
As you know, LocoRoco is a platformer unlike any other. You could call it a mix between Kirby's Adventures, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Yoshi's Island, but the truth is, there's nothing like it. Your mission is to guide the LocoRoco blob throughout the level, overcoming obstacles, eating fruit in order to grow, healing plants, and gathering Pickories (the game's currency). This time around, you'll also have to find musical notes in order to combat the Moja's evil song with cheerful LocoRoco chants. Musical notes are hidden throughout, and sometimes you'll have to trigger mechanisms to make them show up. Some areas are only accessible if your blob is made up of a certain number of LocoRoco, so you have to try to be conservative and cautious with the dangers ahead. If you reach areas with the musical mini-game, you'll have to tap the (O) button as the notes pass by the screen. The more notes you collect, the more objects you'll find and secrets you'll unlock.
Each stage has a different theme, whether it's the lush jungle, slippery ice levels, hot volcano grounds, the factory, etc. Some of them will look familiar to those who played the first game but, all in all, LocoRoco 2 offers 25 all-new levels with a few secret stages as well. These levels are filled up with everything imaginable, including rollercoaster loop-de-loops, super fast downhill slopes, pinball-like sections, incredibly narrow descents, tricky mechanisms, and underwater caves (to name a few). Sometimes you'll have to stop and split up into several mini-blobs to fit within narrow cracks, or to be absorbed by certain characters and reach hidden areas. Other times, you'll have to catapult the blob from one side to the other, maybe by grabbing a branch or by launching from a vine. As you advance, the MuiMui will teach you new abilities.
You'll also encounter many enemies and dangers along the way. Some dangers, like the Moja's black smoke, you can easily clear out by hitting them until they're gone, and others, such as spikes, you'll just have to avoid them. The Chuppa, Moja, and other enemies present more serious risks, so you should stay away from them or surprise them with a quick and direct hit. The Chuppa will suck you in and launch you in the air, the Moja won't hesitate to eat you up, the BuiBui will make you suffer with their Machiavellian devices, and so on. As you can see, caution will be your best friend against these dangers.
Much like the first title, players will be in control of the surroundings with just the push of a few buttons. The left shoulder button will tilt everything towards the left, and the right shoulder button will tilt things in the opposite direction. If you hold both L and R, the LocoRoco will jump, bounce against bumpy surfaces, etc. The only other button to be pushed is circle (O). Tapping it will split up the LocoRoco blob into a bunch of little guys, and holding it for a few seconds will join them back together. As you can see, there isn't much mystery as far as controls go. However, there's still a small learning curve, as these controls require some adaptation.
Based on a first impression, it seems as if this game would be accessible for almost anyone, including children. Alas, the level of challenge found in later levels will only grant access to seasoned gamers with good patience and a basic understanding of physics.