PSX 2016 – LocoRoco Preview – Rolling Around (PS4)
Few games can bring a smile to my face like LocoRoco can. The SIE Japan Studio developed title originally released on PSP in 2006, and it instantly became one of my favorite games. I love everything about it, from the adorable characters and the bright visuals to the catchy soundtrack. Just thinking and writing about it right now has me grinning ear to ear.
That’s why one of my favorite announcements from this year’s PlayStation Experience was that the PSP classic was getting new life on PlayStation 4. While I would’ve preferred a new entry in the happy-go-lucky platforming series (or at least a collection with the other LocoRoco games), I’ll gladly take whatever I can get. I need my fix of cute little yellow blobs rolling around, and thankfully Sony is delivering it on PS4 with native 4K support on the PS4 Pro.
Happiness in Native 4K
The first thing I noticed while playing the remastered LocoRoco was how crisp the game looked. Sure, it was originally released for the PSP, but you could never tell by looking at the game. Its colorful art style has aged so well over time, and the simple geometry the game uses looks completely smooth here. It’s further proof that a good art style can age like fine wine no matter how far gaming comes forward on a technical level.
The game’s bright color palette really shines as well, as it really has some pop to it on a 4K monitor. I can’t wait to spend more time with LocoRoco on my own PS4 Pro, and that definitely seems to be the way to play it. Since the game isn’t very demanding (it is a PSP game after all), it’s able to output at native 4K, and it makes every piece of artwork shine just a teensy bit more bright.
Other than the enhanced graphics, there is one confirmed new feature for the remaster, and that’s the ability to use motion controls. That makes a lot of sense when you consider the core gameplay consists of tilting the game world and then leaping into the air. I didn’t get to try out this feature, which uses the DualShock 4, but it was detailed over at the PlayStation Blog.
The demo I played was the very first stage of the game, which meant that it didn’t show how complex LocoRoco got, but it did give a solid primer on the core tendencies. Players lead small yellow blobs (called LocoRoco) by using the left and right triggers to tilt the world with the goal of eating fruit in order to grow. Players can also make the LocoRoco jump by holding both of the triggers in at the same time and then releasing them. It’s a very chill experience for the most part, with an upbeat soundtrack accompanying all of the beautiful imagery, and players can choose to morph into one gigantic blob in order to move in unison more easily.
While it’s not particularly difficult to get from one end of the level to the other, there’s many different collectibles to obtain along the way. That’s really where the challenge of LocoRoco lies, as scouring every corner to find secrets is rewarding. The collectibles to be found include the number of LocoRoco you pick up, a currency called Pickories, and hidden friends called the MuiMui. Otherwise, it’s more about just taking in the experience, and then splitting the LocoRoco when they can’t get by as a giant blob, and jumping when needed.
It’s downright heartwarming to know that LocoRoco is just as fun today as it was 10 years ago. After getting to take a peak at the remasters, I’m definitely excited to replay one of my favorite PlayStation titles. What’s even more exciting is that a whole new audience will get to be introduced to the charming platformer. Hopefully the game will work its way into the hearts of more gamers, and we’ll see a new entry in the series sooner rather than later.