Review: Loco Roco 2Shawn Drotar

Posted on February 13th, 2009 in Gaming, Reviews, Opinion, PSP by Shawn Drotar

Let’s face it - while the PSP is a fine handheld system, its library isn’t chock-full of must-play games. Suffering from too many ports and half-hearted attempts to cash in on console titles’ success, Sony’s device often struggles in competition with the overwhelming success of the Nintendo DS and its more distinct approach to handheld gaming.

That said, a few titles for the PSP stand out for their creativity, joie de vivre and flat-out fun. Loco Roco 2 is one of them.

While not straying far from the original title’s roots, Loco Roco 2 takes its unique platforming style and expands upon it. In Loco Roco 2, the gamer essentially controls gravity by tipping the game’s world from side to side, allowing the game’s characters - happy-go-lucky anthropomorphized Hefty bags full of goo - to roll and bounce their way through dozens of varied levels, finding objects and earning items through rhythm-based mini-games.

The story - such as it is - is bonkers; the evil, polluting Moja Moja have despoiled the blissful land of the Loco Roco, and you’re off to clean up the world and drive the bad guys off your land by descending mountains, traveling underwater or working your way through the innards of an enormous, flu-ridden penguin. That wasn’t a typo.

The fact is that all this silliness is made easily embraceable by the game’s effortless control scheme, cheery music and the disarmingly bright and colorful visual style is no small feat. The game’s MuiMui House, which is best described as a kind of ant farm, will house the small creatures you’ve rescued in your adventures, and it can be spruced up and customized with all sorts of in-game items that you may also discover. Completing the game by locating every hidden item will require a great deal of time and exploration, but it rarely feels like work, even after repeatedly visiting the same level. While it’s not necessarily a “deep” game, there’s a lot to do and discover, and the remarkable variations - in design and in gameplay - from level to level is to be commended.

It’s difficult to explain Loco Roco 2 as a product; it’s best experienced because it’s clearly more than the sum of its oddball parts. Charming and challenging in equal doses, the game’s a breezy respite from the drab-but-intense gameplay experiences that too often populate the PSP. For $20, it’s hard to find a better value for the system; especially for a game that’s playable - and lovable - for friends and family alike.

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