Review: LocoRoco Remastered (PS4)

Review: LocoRoco Remastered (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation Portable

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: LocoRoco Remastered
Format: PSN (2.69 GB)
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Original PSP Release Date: June 23, 2006
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: SIE Japan Studio
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
LocoRoco started out on the PSP as a quirky platformer with not only a unique art style and character, but a rather unique gameplay scheme as well. The original was well suited for the portable, being both easy to control and featuring small bite-sized chunks of gameplay for on-the-go gaming. It now makes the transition to the PS4 in remastered form with some enhanced visual enhancements but is otherwise the same as the original version.

The game has the player guiding little LocoRoco characters through the gameworld, not by controlling them directly but rather by tilting and bumping the world itself. The only direct control the player has over the LocoRoco is commanding them to split apart into smaller parts or gather back up into a single large blob. Despite the rather simple control scheme, the game offers a good degree of depth.

While the remaster uses the same control scheme as the PSP, it also adds the ability to control the world by tilting the controller. This is something I know I thought I wanted when I first played the game but it’s actually surprisingly hard to control this way. It’s a nice option to have but I ended up toggling it back off and using the default controls on the shoulder buttons.

The platforming overall is exceptionally well executed, with a good variety in terms of gameplay elements even with the simple controls. Different surfaces like ice that the LocoRoco slide on, or sections where they have to attach to a ceiling or wall make each level stand out and feel different from the previous ones.

For the most part, the levels are not challenging to complete. However, there are a lot of collectibles which are sometimes past harder platforming challenges. Mastering the unconventional control scheme will definitely take practice but even those who don’t play many games have a chance to get through this to the end.

… a very bright, colorful art style to match the whimsical nature of the gameplay …
The collectibles do a lot to extend the length of the game as well. The forty levels can be as short as five to ten minutes if the player ignores collectibles. But not only are some difficult to get, others can be hidden quite well, and completionists will likely have to play through each level multiple times if they want to find everything.

Each one of the collectibles helps out in different ways too. Outside of the platforming game, there are a few mini-games which use bugs collected in the game as currency and a sandbox mode that makes use of other pieces found in the main game to build Rube Goldberg-like contraptions for the LocoRoco to play around in. These are an okay distraction and give at least a little impetus to collect for more than collection’s sake.

Visuals:
LocoRoco has a very bright, colorful art style to match the whimsical nature of the gameplay. The graphics are simple but effective, making it usually pretty obvious where the player can/needs to go to advance the level. The in-game graphics have been upscaled well to the PS4, with sharp edges and a good use of the color palette.

The only issue with the graphics comes in some of the cutscenes. These were clearly not remade for the PS4 version as they appear grainy and out of focus, likely the result of whatever technique is used to upscale them. And this is on an HD TV, I can imagine it being even worse on a 4K set. Fortunately, these scenes are few and far between and the ‘story’ is hardly necessary, so this does not hamper the game.

… an enjoyable and unique platforming experience …
Audio:
Like the graphics, LocoRoco mostly uses cheery, upbeat music to fit in with the rest of the game. Most of the songs are stage specific, so the ice themed stages have the same song, for example, but the variety of stage types means the music is also rotated around rather frequently.

The music is all vocalized with what sounds like gibberish language and to tie it in with the gameplay the LocoRoco all sing along to the music and sway to the beat when not moving around. Certain collectibles are tied to having enough LocoRoco in the group, where they will all sing a song to wake up a cloud or barrier. In these cases, the song they sing comes out of the controller speaker, which is a cool touch.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
All in all, LocoRoco Remastered remains an enjoyable and unique platforming experience. The port doesn’t do much new to the game, aside from the motion controls and adapting it to a larger screen, but the PSP version was so well made that not much was needed.

Perhaps because the game was originally developed with short handheld-sized gaming sessions in mind, I never felt particularly compelled to play for long periods. Usually after just a few levels I’d want to go play something else. But those levels were always a good time and after a little while with another game, I’d get the desire to jump back in and play a few more.

The divide between the relatively easy difficulty ramp and the harder to find/obtain collectibles makes for a game well suited to nearly any gaming skill level. LocoRoco is a good pickup for anyone who wants some quirky platforming on their PS4. Well, unless they have a problem with infectiously cute blob characters, but those people have a whole other issue they need to resolve…

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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