Monday 26 June 2006
In a gaming world rammed with guns, car jackings and roughing up women in the showers (cheers, Hitman) LocoRoco is a scorching beam of light ripping through the gloom.
This blob-filled puzzler is like looking at games through a dribbling baby's eyes, with its bright and happy nappy stylings making you smile like an idiot. But there's nothing stupid about Sony's orange bolus. The cheery little thing epitomises how all PSP games should be: fun and simple.
Sticking two fingers up to the pointless PS2 ports dished out by most PSP developers, LocoRoco is easily the most original game on the system. The premise is simple: guide your grinning sphere (or spheres, at the various points when you need to split your LocoRoco into a mass of smaller blobs to progress) through varying lands of traps, slippery slopes and Mojas (more on them later).
You play simply by tilting the screen with L1 and R1 and letting virtual gravity do the rest. While tricky to begin with - because jumping requires you to press both buttons simultaneously while positioning the screen - you'll soon be bouncing around like a possessed space-hopper. Even the most club-fingered gamer will bound through each world with ease.
But underneath its sugar-coated exterior are a myriad of secret passages waiting for the keen-eyed player, leading to bonus items and the chance of aceing the stage.
At times, LocoRoco encourages you to lay off the controls just so it can show off a little. One moment you're being swept across the screen in a slipstream - watching in awe as the air current forms love hearts before casting you into a pinball table-style area - and the next your LocoRocos are singing like choirboys to rouse a sleeping wall from its slumber so it'll move out of the way. They even lip-sync along to the music as you blob around. Brilliant.