LocoRoco Remastered Review – Freshly Polished Rollplay (PS4)
It may come as a surprise to some, but the PlayStation Portable was a hugely successful console for Sony, especially in Japan, selling over 80 million units worldwide during its 10-year lifespan and across its several iterations. The PSP played host to several great Sony exclusives and first-party titles and LocoRoco was one of them. And late last year, Sony announced that LocoRoco along with PlayStation classic PaRappa the Rapper and another PSP-exclusive, Patapon, were getting remastered versions for the PS4, with LocoRoco Remastered being the second one to release.
For those who were not able to play the original, which released back in 2006, the premise of LocoRoco is fairly simple. The planet is under attack by aliens called the Moja Corps and the player must guide the LocoRoco to defend their world. Instead of controlling the LocoRoco themselves, the player assumes the role of the planet and directs the LocoRoco through the game’s many levels in an effort to both defeat the Moja and rescue the other LocoRocos.
The objective of each of the game’s 40 levels (which are divided into five worlds) is as simple as its story, the player must guide the LocoRoco from the start of the level to its end. On the way, the player can consume special berries that will spawn another LocoRoco that combines with the original. The player starts each level with only one LocoRoco and can end with a maximum of 20. It’s possible to lose LocoRocos if they hit spikes and other harmful objects as well as run into Moja, although having more LocoRocos at the end of the level don’t really affect its or the game’s outcome.
Players can also explore the levels, looking for hidden and hard to reach areas, to find other collectibles such as smaller berries, which act as currency for three unlockable mini-games, as well as Mui Muis and other residents of the planet, which reward the player with items for their Loco House. Some residents only awaken when the player has a certain number of LocoRoco with them, which is the only time when accumulating LocoRocos has any significance. While gathering all the game’s collectibles is options, it helps the game feel longer especially for completionists.
The Bigger Picture
As the player assumes the role of the planet, the usual controls you see in most 2D side-scrolling platformers where you control the game’s character using the D-pad or analog stick don’t apply. Pressing the L1 or R1 buttons tilts the world left or right, respectively, up to a certain degree and gravity will take its course on your rolling blob. Holding and releasing both the aforementioned shoulder buttons makes the LocoRoco jump straight up while holding both and releasing only one will have it jump either left or right depending on the shoulder button released.
The only other control in the game is the Circle button which, when pressed, will split up the LocoRoco into smaller blobs, allowing it to get into smaller passageways and areas the larger blob would otherwise not be able to access. Holding the Circle button will reverse the process and make the smaller blobs fuse back into a singular, bigger form. While the controls of the game seem simple, the game is able to put them to great and sometimes ingenious use throughout its many levels.
Coming of Age
While LocoRoco Remastered doesn’t introduce any new levels or content, it did bring with it several upgrades to the game including 1080p visuals for the standard PS4 and 4K support for the PS4 Pro. It also now supports motion controls via the DualShock 4’s gyrosocopes allowing players to control the world by tilting the controller. Some of the game’s sounds and music are also occasionally played through the controller’s music. Other upgrades include rumble and surround sound.
The flat visuals of LocoRoco translate well into both 1080p and 4K resolutions, making the transition from the PSP’s 4.3-inch display to large televisions or monitors go over incredibly well. The only time when the visuals looked or felt dated were during the game’s few cutscenes, which seem to have been simply upscaled from the PSP version. Regardless, the game itself still looks as or even more whimsical and bright as the original, which is complimented greatly by its music.
The music of LocoRoco is probably one of its best traits. Both charming and heartwarming, the LocoRoco sing as you go through the game’s levels and each LocoRoco you accumulate adds an additional voice to the chorus. Additionally, other LocoRoco types can be unlocked throughout the game, with each one featuring its own voice and song.
Ten years after its original release, LocoRoco is still an undeniably fun experience which has aged incredibly well, owing to its simple yet beautiful aesthetic as well as its unique and straightforward gameplay. While the remaster doesn’t add much in terms of content, fans of the original might enjoy replaying one of the PSP’s most delightful exclusives at a higher resolution and with the new motion controls. And those who weren’t able to play it on the PSP will definitely enjoy the endearing yet brief experience of LocoRoco in its best form yet.
Review code for LocoRoco Remastered provided by the publisher. Reviewed on PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.