LocoRoco (ロコロコ) is a platform video game released worldwide in 2006 for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld game console, and developed and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game was developed by Tsutomu Kouno, striving to create a game that was different than other titles being released for the PSP at the time, most being sequels of PlayStation 2 games. After demonstrating a prototype of the core gameplay to his management, Kouno was able to complete development over a course of one and a half years.
In LocoRoco, the player must tilt the environment by using the shoulder buttons on the PSP in order to maneuver the LocoRoco, multi-colored jelly-like characters, through each level, being aided by other odd residents while avoiding hazards and the deadly Moja Troop, to reach an end goal. Along the way, the LocoRoco can grow in size by eating special berries, and then can be split and rejoined to pass the LocoRoco through narrow spaces. The game's bright and colorful visuals and dynamic music soundtrack were hallmarks of the game, earning it several awards from the gaming press in 2006. While the game did not sell high volumes, its success led to the development of three other LocoRoco titles, two for the PSP and one for the PlayStation 3.
Living peacefully on a faraway planet, the LocoRoco and their friends, the Mui Mui, help grow vegetation and look after nature, making the planet a pleasant place to be, playing and singing the days away. When the Moja Troop comes to the planet to take it over, the LocoRoco do not know how to fight against these invaders from outer space. As such, the player assumes the role of "the planet" that is capable of guiding the LocoRoco around to defeat the Moja Troop and rescue the remaining LocoRoco, returning the planet to its peaceful ways.
The Yellow LocoRoco moving about the world currently tilted to the right; a berry that will increase the LocoRoco size is to the far right, while a Mui Mui figure as at the bottom. A Pickory is shown below the LocoRoco.Loco Roco is divided into 5 worlds each consisting of 8 levels. In each level, the goal is to reach the end point of the level, with the player scored on the number of LocoRoco found, the time to complete the level, and other factors. There are six varieties of LocoRoco in the game, identified by their color, appearance, and musical voice, but outside of the first "Yellow" one, the rest are unlocked as the player completes the level. The player can then opt which LocoRoco they want to use for a level, however, this selection has no fundamental gameplay effects and only changes the songs used. LocoRoco act as blobs of gelatin, deforming from their normally round shape when demanded by the environment. Certain beings in the world can change the default shape of the LocoRoco into other forms, such as squares or triangles, which lasts until they wash off in water or they encounter another similar being.
The player starts with a single LocoRoco. When this LocoRoco eats a berry, it grows by one, up to a maximum size of twenty. The single large LocoRoco may be split into individual beings by tapping a face button or through specific points on the level, while individual LocoRoco can merge back into a single being by holding down a face button. Manipulation of the LocoRoco in this manner may be necessary to guide them to the finish; while the single large LocoRoco is easier to control, small passages can only be navigated by individual LocoRoco. The player can lose LocoRoco if they are touched by harmful objects or they run into the Moja, and the player will have to restart the level if they lose all their LocoRoco. With the exception of making them jump, the player does not otherwise directly control the LocoRoco, but instead controls the planet itself, tilting the planet using the shoulder buttons. This causes the LocoRoco to roll in the direction of tilt, as well as causing certain mechanical objects such as platforms to also tilt. The player can also cause the LocoRoco to jump by holding and releasing both shoulder buttons; this not only allows the LocoRoco a way to cross gaps, but to burst through walls as well as harm the Moja without taking damage. As the player collects more Loco Roco in a level, the music gains more voices, each Loco Roco singing a part in the overall song.
Throughout the levels are areas that require a minimum number of LocoRoco in order to cause them to sing and wake up one of the planet's odd residents, who will then reward the player with an item for their "Loco House". There are also hidden Mui Mui throughout the levels to be found. Levels also contain "Pickories" which can be collected by the LocoRoco and are used as a form of currency to play two mini-games outside of the main game. The mini-games are "Mui Mui Crane", a variation of a crane game, and "Chuppa Chuppa" that use Chuppa, bird-like launchers for the LocoRoco, to navigate a long course. Both mini-games grant additional Loco House parts and Pickories as prizes. The player can use the accumulated Loco House parts to create a course that the Loco Roco will automatically navigate, with additional parts that can be collected by directing the course appropriately. A Loco Editor is also an unlockable feature in the game, creating an interactive course with a start and finish using the Loco House parts.
Following the release of Firmware 2.7 on April 25, 2006, a downloadable demo of LocoRoco was released on the game's Japanese website and was the first Sony-sanctioned user-downloadable game for the PSP. A demo localized for western countries was released in June 2006, shortly before the game's full European release. It includes one level that will take the player around 5-15 minutes to complete, depending on the number of secret areas the player encounters.
A special Halloween-themed demo was released for download on October 26, 2006, It featured some exclusive graphics and objects, like Jack-o-lanterns, spirits, and more. Few puzzles were implemented.
A Christmas-themed demo was released for download on December 11, 2006. It featured some exclusive graphics like Santa's sleigh and more. A unique LocoRoco song is implemented.
A mobile version of LocoRoco, LocoRoco Mobile, was created for distribution via i-mode, a wireless service in Japan in 2007. The mobile game is being ported for western countries by Gamelion, where it will be named LocoRoco Hi.
Sequels and spin-offs
LocoRoco Cocoreccho! is a LocoRoco program for the PlayStation 3, released in September 2007 as a downloadable title through the PlayStation Store. It is described by Sony as an "interactive screensaver," rather than a game. Instead of tilting the world, the game instead puts the player in control of a butterfly that will draw LocoRoco to it, guiding them to sleeping LocoRoco to wake them up and collect enough LocoRoco to progress to other parts of the single stage.
LocoRoco 2, a sequel to the original LocoRoco, was officially announced at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show though Phil Harrison, Sony's worldwide studios chief, revealed the game to be in developed during an interview at the 2007 D.I.C.E. Summit. The game was released worldwide between late 2008 and early 2009.
A third PSP LocoRoco game, LocoRoco Midnight Carnival, is a Halloween-themed spin-off title which features an enhanced bounce skill called "Boing!" The game was digitally released on October 29, 2009 for North American and European areas, and on November 1, 2009 in Japan for the console's launch.