PSP's LocoRoco 2: As Cute As Ever

Last year, Sony introduced us to LocoRoco, a cute PSP adventure game starring adorable singing blobs. Instead of controlling them directly, you use the system's shoulder buttons to move the stages and make the little guys roll and jump. Now the Locos are back in the long awaited LocoRoco 2.

All the Locos want to do is live in peace, but the evil Moja army, made up of angry black-colored blobs, put a stop to their plans. These colorless creatures are back with a devastating song that kills all who hear it. It's up to the Locos to return their world to happiness.

Like the original, you control the planet's surface by using the PSP shoulder buttons to tilt. You can also make the Locos jump by pressing the shoulder buttons at the same time. This not only helps them get over obstacles, but also launches a jumping attack that knocks out Moja.

As you progress through each level, you pick up fruit that helps you grow into a bigger Loco. On some occasions, you'll run into parts of the stage where you're too big to get through. Simply press the circle button and you'll break up into a cluster of smaller Locos. Once you get through it, hold the circle button and you'll reform back into your big jolly self. As you proceed, you'll also run into characters that lend a helping hand, including smiling pistons that rise out of the ground and an anteater that sucks you up and shoots you into otherwise unreachable territory.

What's new to LocoRoco 2 is the ability to swim underwater. Thankfully, you won't have to worry about drowning, but you'll need to control your swimming. To do this, you hold down the circle button to sink and tap it to rise back to the surface.

Throughout the game, you'll be able to collect musical notes. Collect enough and you'll partake in a fun rhythm-based musical mini-game. Other mini-games, which you purchase with the notes include a side-scrolling shooter where you control a spacecraft driven by joyous little MuiMui pilots or a Whack-A-Mole-like game. Fans of multiplayer gaming can also hook up with friends, racing Locos against each other and competing in other activities.

Similar to its predecessor, LocoRoco 2 features bright, colorful visuals and a happy little soundtrack. The in-game music varies depending on which Locos you use, ranging from funky to soothing. No matter which background music you go with, you'll probably hum it for days, even after you stop playing.

The in-game detail is as cute as ever, and the level design, from what we've seen so far, is creative. One even has you working your way through the inner bowels of a penguin, but without being gross.

LocoRoco 2 has more to offer for those who loved the original, and maybe even a little something for those who didn't. Just make sure you're aware of its high cuteness factor when it arrives in February.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.