There’s a lot to be said for simplicity. Sometimes it can be nice to take a break from that dense RPG or the frantic 100-player deathmatch and just chill out with some easy, wholesome fun. Thankfully, you can’t get much simpler than LocoRoco 2 Remastered, a strange and painfully joyous game that originally graced the Sony PSP almost ten years ago. For those unfamiliar with SIE Japan Studio’s puzzle-platformer, all you need to know is that it takes only three buttons to play and that its almost impossible to be unhappy while rolling around this colourful, musical world.
Quick disclaimer: I swear I’m not making up any of the words in the following plot summary. Picking up directly after the events of the first LocoRoco game, the titular characters have settled back into their peaceful, harmonious lives when dark forces suddenly descend once again. The leader of the villainous Moja, Bon Mucho, was unhappy with his defeat and returns with an army of life draining, baritone bad-guys to wreak havoc on the LocoRoco planet. It’s up to you, a gelatinous ball of happiness, to roll, jump, swim and sing your way across the land to rescue the helpless MuiMui while clearing away all the evil.
See, it’s bee-utiful!
As I said before, gameplay couldn’t be easier. Pressing L1 will tilt the world left, R1 will tilt the world right and then you just let gravity do the work. Holding and releasing both buttons simultaneously will ‘bump’ the world so you can jump over obstacles and bash enemies. The only other button you need is Circle, which will split your LocoRoco into smaller versions of themselves, allowing you to pass through small crevices or sing in chorus to unlock areas of the level. Afterwards, you can hold the same button to re-assemble into your bigger, blobbier form and continue on your merry way, it really is that simple.
There are around 11 different ‘stages’ in the game, most of which you’ll return to a few times as you progress, following divergent paths and overcoming fresh challenges equating to about 25 levels. Along the way you’ll encounter various colourful cast members, some harmful and some helpful, such as the tree with a rock-solid afro that once ‘borrowed’ allows you to smash through previously unbreakable walls. As you drive off Moja from the world, you’ll also unlock cute little mini-games like a ‘whack-a-mole’ inspired activity and a MuiMui house, which you can expand using items you collect in each level.
In terms of a remaster, LocoRoco 2 is mostly great, bringing the beloved classic to a whole new audience. The delightful and vibrant world looks great on the big screen and the soundtrack is just as catchy as ever, forcing its way into your brain and out through your mouth in the form of a smile. Sadly, the cutscenes in the game have not been updated visually (similar to other remasters Patapon and Parappa the Rapper) and look pretty gross in comparison. The controls could also have been tweaked for precision a little, but it’s nothing that will cause you too much strife as you roll and bounce your way to victory.
“Rollin’ in the deeeeeeeeep”
LocoRoco 2 Remastered is a merry little jaunt through a storybook world full of colour and music. Fans of the original will find a familiar enjoyable experience and newcomers are welcomed to easily join in on this wacky adventure. Whether you want to space out after a hard day of work or you’ve got kids who want to get into gaming, LocoRoco 2 is cheerful, wholesome, and above all, simple. With Christmas just around the corner, it could be a great digital stocking filler or something to entertain your nieces and nephews at your family gathering (and stop them messing up your KDR).
Reviewed on PS4