It’s been nearly nine years since the original LocoRoco 2 appeared on the PlayStation Portable. The original game was a hyper-cute light platformer, which sold well enough globally to warrant a sequel. The original remaster was deemed a success, so naturally Sony is back for more with LocoRoco 2 Remastered on the PlayStation 4. Let’s see if this new edition is worth a consideration.
What makes for a good remaster these days? Upscaled presentation (at native modern audiovisual resolutions, if possible), increased or at least steady frame rates, and even tweaked gameplay are usually what players look for, all at a reduced cost compared to when the original game released. This LocoRoco 2 Remastered version checks most of these boxes (gameplay is essentially left alone – more on that and why it’s just fine in a bit).
Naturally, a game this aged won’t be taxing on today’s modern consoles. Whether played on the stock PS4 or PS4 Pro, LocoRoco 2 runs as smooth as is possible. The only difference between the consoles is that the PS4 Pro will run at up to 4K resolution, which most of the game’s assets appear to be optimized for, while the stock system runs at up to 1080p. The original release introduced cutscenes, however it is obvious that these were pre-rendered back in 2009. Since they were not produced in-engine, and appear to have only been upscaled rather than remade for this remaster, there is noticeable pixelation when these videos play. It’s not the worst degradation out there, but it will definitely be noticed at 1080p, and especially at 4K resolution.
One nice upgrade is audio. While the original game may have launched with stereo support, playing this latest version on a decent surround sound system, nice pair of headphones, or even a sound bar will really bring out the charming effects and music that made LocoRoco famous in the first place. It’s not that the audio is upgraded in any meaningful way, but rather that playing LocoRoco 2 on larger speakers than the PSP could ever pump out audio to makes the sound all the more engaging. An unexpected but welcome touch is that during the rhythmic mini-game that can be found at certain spots throughout most levels, the LocoRoco characters’ voices come out of the DualShock 4 controller speaker.
One of the best things about LocoRoco 2 was its deceptively simple gameplay. This has been left largely unchanged, which is a good thing – when the original worked so well, why mess with it? On the PSP, the L and R buttons were used to rotate the world, while holding and releasing both at the same time made the LocoRoco characters jump. The circle button was used to split a large LocoRoco up into multiple smaller versions, or group them back up, dive into water, and perform other actions such as the impromptu rhythm mini-games. The first game’s remaster included motion controls, whereas this remaster does not. L1 and R1 are simply used in place of the PSP’s shoulder buttons, while everything else remains the same. Rumble has also been added, which gives a much-appreciated tactile boost to the player’s actions as they affect the LocoRoco blobs. So for any gamers out there who preferred the motion option of the last remaster, sorry to say you are out of luck here.
Everything else in this remaster is just as fans remember it. So the new LocoRocos, mini-games, bosses, the MuiMui House, collectibles, and unlockables are all accounted for. Other than the movies as mentioned previously, everything is upscaled for today’s resolutions, and looks crisper than ever before. All for the perfectly reasonable asking price of $14.99 ($11.99 for PS Plus subscribers as part of a pre-order offer).
Yet another solid remaster will likely make some gamers wish for a proper sequel in this hyper-cute franchise. The increase in resolution allows LocoRoco 2’s cheery art style to brilliantly shine, though this entry’s cutscenes leave a bit to be desired. Still, the core of this classic has not been touched, and this remains the same LocoRoco 2 many gamers have fond memories of. Pick this up if you’re a fan of the series, or especially if you never tried the original release and want the best version available.
LocoRoco 2 Remastered review copy provided by publisher. Version 1.01 reviewed on a PS4 Pro. For more information on review scores, please read our Review Policy.