LocoRoco Remastered (PS4) – grab it now on PS4
One of the PSP’s best games is remade for the PlayStation 4, in what is one of Sony’s most colourful adventures.
Although the PSP is long forgotten by most Western gamers, the fact is it was a hugely successful console. Thanks to its popularity in Japan it ended up selling far more worldwide than the 3DS is ever likely to, and almost sold as much as the Game Boy Advance and Xbox 360. And yet very little of its legacy survives in any modern games, with what few exclusives it had being either dormant or, in the case of Monster Hunter, now a Nintendo exclusive.
The other odd thing about the PSP is that despite owing most of its success to Japan, almost all the major first party games were Western-made. LocoRoco is one of the few that wasn’t though, a bright, cheerful platform adventure that was first released in 2006. And which despite a relatively high profile marketing campaign was never particularly successful anywhere in the world. But now it’s back, and we at least are glad of it.
This is the second of three older Sony games that were all announced to be getting remasters at the same time, the others being PaRappa The Rapper and PSP stablemate Patapon. If there’s any ulterior motive for bringing these games back now it’s not yet been made clear, although there are convincing rumours that PaRappa will be returning in a new game – as part of a crossover with Gitaroo Man. What the future of LocoRoco might be we don’t know, but the past is still looking pretty good.
LocoRoco Remastered (PS4) – everyone looks so shocked
Although it’s definitely very good, LocoRoco is not necessarily a game for everyone. Its cheerful graphics and music are not going to be reinforcing anyone’s sense of their own masculinity, and those looking for depth or complexity will not be satisfied by the game’s purposefully simple charms. But it remains a highly original platform-cum-puzzle game and if it weren’t for a number of clones on smartphones we’d say there was nothing else quite like it.
A story is only vaguely hinted at during the game, but involves Mother Earth being attacked by some nasty dreadlocked aliens called Mojas. Defeating them involves collecting what look like miniature spacehoppers – the titular LocoRocos. In each level, you start with one and recover more by eating special berries along the way. Each time you do you get both bigger and heavier.
Instead of controlling the LocoRocos directly you actually control the planet itself, so that pressing the left shoulder button tilts left, the right to the right and both together jumps. The only other control in the game is pressing the circle button at various points to split up your LocoRocos into component parts, so they can navigate various pachinko-like mazes. The original version didn’t feature motion controls, but they have been added in as an option here and can be switched on simply by pressing the touchpad.
LocoRoco Remastered (PS4) – will there ever be a new sequel?
There are no other obvious changes to the game though, other than it runs at 1080p on a regular PlayStation 4 and 4K on PS4 Pro. But regardless of what resolution you play it at the game looks as fresh today as it first did over a decade ago. The bright primary colours and squishy 2D backdrops are still a rarity on a Sony console, especially in a game that can be appreciated by all ages. But LocoRoco also has a cracking turn of speed at certain points, where it unexpectedly starts encouraging comparisons to Sonic The Hedgehog.
A special mention must also go to the wonderful music, whose squeaky charm will have even the surliest gamer humming away long after the game is turned off. The only real issue is LocoRoco’s longevity. There are only 40 levels and it takes a bit too long before their difficulty raises above the trivial. In truth though that’s probably about the right length for the game, which might have started to wear itself a bit thin had it been any longer.
And that itself points at LocoRoco’s only real flaw: the concept works perfectly as presented here, but doesn’t really have anywhere else to go. The sequel certainly didn’t add much of note and while it’s been fun to play the game again we’re not sure what a brand new sequel could really add to the experience. Although we’d still welcome the chance to find out.
In Short: An imaginative and perfectly presented platform puzzler that works just as well on a home console as it did on PSP.
Pros: The central idea is great, with elegantly simple controls and an unexpected turn of speed. Excellent 2D graphics and fantastic music.
Cons: Does get a little repetitive before the end, and it’s some time before it offers any real challenge.
Formats: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, and PC
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Japan Studio
Release Date: 9th May 2017
Age Rating: 3
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