Games Review: LocoRoco 2 Remastered: Wholesome and Pure Fun

LocoRoco 2 Remastered doesn’t belong in 2017. Or more accurately, 2017 doesn’t deserve its presence. LocoRoco 2 represents all that is wholesome and pure in the world of gaming, and harkens back to simpler, more innocent times. It’s not the hero that we deserve, but we’re very glad to have it.

Sequel to the original LocoRoco, the adventures of the cutesy LocoRoco people continue with the rise of the evil Moja Boss threatening their well-earned peace. The evil Bon Mucho has conjured a new song to spread darkness across the land of the LocoRoco, threatening the lives of the LocoRoco. By guiding your own LocoRoco through a variety of stages, players work to destroy the darkness and save planet LocoRoco once more.

Gameplay is a refreshing delight, particularly for those unfamiliar with the LocoRoco series. In place of standard platforming controls, LocoRoco 2, like its predecessor, makes use of the shoulder buttons to ’tilt’ your LocoRoco left or right through the world. In addition to a small or large jump, and the ability to grow or shrink your LocoRoco, these are the only actions the player can perform.

It makes for a delightful and largely fun system that requires well-timed jumps, no small amount of puzzle solving, and a lot of patience. For all the fun involved, LocoRoco 2 can still be somewhat frustrating, as controls can sometimes be unresponsive and heavy-handed. Mastering such different controls is ultimately rewarding however, as it presents a fun and engaging new challenge for players.

By collecting red flowers, your LocoRoco can grow in size, allowing it to take on larger challenges, such as freeing a sprout-like creature known as a Nyokki from underneath a boulder. Progressing through stages of the game will unlock a variety of multi-coloured LocoRoco, each with their own unique song and personality. While these are merely cosmetic changes, it’s always a delight to discover new LocoRoco as you traverse stages.

Each level can be traversed at nearly breakneck speed once the controls have been mastered, but with plenty of secrets to explore within the cracks and crevices of each level, careful exploration is encouraged. Collectible musical notes are one such secret, and can be discovered within each stage. They’re often found within special flowers, patches of black goo, or by winning the classic rhythm-based mini-game found in special locations.

In addition to these features, LocoRoco 2 presents players with the ability to decorate their own MuiMui house with buildable furniture and accessories. By collecting unique items and musical notes, players can craft a variety of objects, a feature that actively encourages exploration and collection within each stage. Great delight was taken in making my own house look spic and span, and the MuiMui House feature was a welcome addition to the game.

The remastering looks fantastic during gameplay, with crisp and clean lines that make for visually stunning stages. Each frame of the game could easily be mistaken for art, however, the cut scenes don’t fare so well. Often murky, the scenes are a stark reminder that the original titles were released on the PSP and don’t seem to benefit from the same care that gameplay does. With its focus on minimalist story, however, this doesn’t present too much of a challenge to overcome.

What shines most about LocoRoco 2 Remastered is the strength of its whimsical, catchy soundtrack, which will absolutely stick around in your head for ages after playing. Be warned, the music and effects are foot-tapping levels of catchy, and it’s part of the reason that the game is so endearing.

Overall, LocoRoco 2 Remastered is a delightful and charming reminder of everything that was once pure and innocent in the video game world. In a year filled with controversies, LocoRoco 2 is welcome, and much-needing relief.

Review Score: 8.0/10
Highlights: Innovative platforming; wonderful soundtrack; wholesomeness personified, visually gorgeous
Lowlights: Stiff controls; murky cutscenes
Developer: Japan Studio
Publisher: SIEE
Release Date: Out Now
Platforms: PlayStation 4

Reviewed on Playstation 4 Pro.