Saturday, April 29, 2006

Loco Roco Demo Review

Making use of some free weekend time I updated my PSP to the new 2.70 firmware and downloaded the Loco Roco demo. At the moment only a Japanese version of the demo is available but it runs fine on EU and US systems and controls are rather simple to pick up so the language barier is not really an issue. The game itself is very unique, I would sum it up as a cute, 2D platformer, Katamari and Mercury mash-up, with heavy puzzle elements. You “control” a yellow blob, by tilting the game world using the L and R buttons, pressing both at once causes the blob to jump. The amount you can tilt the screen is limited and the game physics actually control movement, meaning you can't climb a steep hill without a large amount of built up momentum. As you progress you collect flowers which grow your character allowing it to be hit more and giving it greater momentum at high speed but making it hard to move at low speed and too large to access some areas. To counter this you have the ability to break down your larger blob into a number of smaller blobs all of which you control at the same time, so pressing jump causes all small blobs to jump regardless of their location, split them up to much and one by one they die off.

The child-like cuteness of both the graphics and the music is sure to put a few people off but initial indications are the the game play will be rather deep. Unfortunately the demo only seems to include one fairly short level (you will probably finish it in about 5 minutes once you get the hang of the controls) but it does look very promising and I am definitely looking forward to seeing more.

Putting aside the game itself, between this, the new xbox live and the DS download service it's great to see console systems finally get the free, downloadable demos PC gamers have been experiencing for years. Hopefully this is a trend which will continue.

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