Close Reading Loco Roco

Close Reading of Loco Roco

Rodney Bergeron

Student Number 2366011

25 Sept 2010

Loco Roco`s slick movement makes it easy and fun to play

Loco Roco is a PSP platform launch title that is fun and easy to play. To play Loco Roco you simple tilt the world using the shoulder buttons on the top left and right. By tilting the world, the player moves the jellylike Loco Roco through the different environments of each level. The Loco Roco can change sizes and grows when moved through different stages of play.

I personally liked Loco Roco because its controls were easy to use and the game play was very intuitive. By leaning the world to the left the Loco Roco would lean to the left and pick up speed as it continued. When the character moved through the world at a higher speed it would jump obstacles and barriers and make it to the next level.

The slickness of the movement and the gentle sliding motion of the game also added to its playability. The Loco Roco being a jellylike character bounced and rolled with a gentle swaying motion that I found comforting and pleasant. The colours are bright and muted which added to the overall character and the game.

When Loco Roco is compared to another game such as NiddHogg it`s slick and easy game play becomes even more apparent. NiddHogg is a two player sword duel game. Its jerky movement and its classic sounds make it entertaining yet more than a little clunky to play. NiddHogg requires lots of different control buttons when compared to Loco Roco`s two. NiddHogg uses buttons from a standard X-box controller. It requires the user to learn to use left and right movement, jump, sword throw, swing and duck. This is not complicated and most users can catch on quickly; however, compared to Loco Roco`s two button movement there is a great difference in the number of control buttons.

Table 1 provdes a direct comparison between the two games.

Loco Roco is easy to learn and fun to play. It requires minimal skill and yet is entertaining. With a group of people all in their early twenties and beyond, we all enjoyed playing Loco Roco. It occupied us thoroughly. I would recommend Loco Roco as a fun and entertaining game play.

Table 1: Direct Comparison of Loco Roco to NiddHogg

Loco Roco

NiddHogg

Platform

PSP Play Stations Portable

PC Based

Developer

Sony

Messof

Designer

Tsutomu Kouno (game)

Keigo Tsuchiya (art)

Mark Essen

Genre

Puzzle

Action/Adventure

Human Interface

Shoulder buttons top left and right to tilt

Standard X Box controller

Number of players

1

2

Visuals

Colourful muted tomes Pleasant to the eye

Gentle curving lines

Smooth shapes

Chunky pixelized characters

Linear action area

Contrasting colours

Rough jagged environment

Audio

Soft flowing music

Non evasive audio

Typical 32 bit sound track

Noise for no real purpose

2 comments to Close Reading Loco Roco

  • Jennifer M Gordon

    did you wana present tomorrow your findings then?
    i have a comparison of locoroco to crayon physics written up if needed

  • Richard determann

    Examination of LocoRoco

    The art style in LocoRoco is very simplistic by nature and “Japanese looking” by standards within the video game market. Bright colour and friendly looking characters create a sense of happiness and a light feeling. The game consists of a 2D art style, which is extremely simplistic and stylistic. There are no textures or rendered atmospheric effects.

    The Creator of LocoRoco Tsutomu Kouno was quoted as saying “As for the lyrics, I tried to get all the languages I could find and wrote down interesting words in katakana. Then I changed these into words that Japanese people would find cool, so that people could not recognise individual words of any particular language. I had invented my own language.”
    Alexander, Jem. “TGS07: Interview with Loco Roco’s Tsutomu Kouno”. Joystiq.

    This invented language gives the game characters a strong personality that is unique to the game, also giving the game an international feel by not focusing on any known language in particular.

    LocoRoco uses a style of control where the player manipulates the “map” or level in order to indirectly control the character through the environment.

    LocoRoco has some strong similarities with other 2D platformers that have come before it, but mainly Sonic the Hedgehog. There are larger similarities in the core gameplay between sonic games (early and late) and LocoRoco.
    • There are many areas consisting of “tracks” or “loops” in which the player moves the characters through these segments with little emphasis on control and more on momentum built up before entering the “track”
    • Collectables are scattered throughout the levels, but particularly in areas where the player is supposed to follow, almost as a hint or reward.
    • Far slower than Sonic games.
    • The 2d interface of LocoRoco is very similar to that of Sonic games on the Sega Genesis.
    • Some of these “track” sections are very similar to other games in the sonic series like “Sonic Spinball” on the Sega Genesis. Where the player controls the “map” or level in which to manipulate the character within said level. Direct control is not necessarily on the character.
    • Game layout is similar to sonic games in organising levels in terms of zones. Multiples levels of a similar art direction are combined into a zone. Multiple zones make up the game.

    An area where Sonic games and LocoRoco differ is in the Portable aspect of the game. Early Sonic games couldn’t support save files or progress checkpoints because of hardware limitations like little ram and no hard drive. The Later Sonic games consisted of checkpoints and save points but the story got more complicated and immersive, more suggestive of a home console (Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, Sega Dreamcast). LocoRoco consists of the perfect formula for a portable “Pick up and play” game. Many types of levels within zones that usually take no more than 20 minutes to complete. A simple almost unneeded storyline that players are able to forget but doesn’t impact the gameplay. The perfect type of game to pick up on the train or subway.

    Marketing Similarities found Between LocoRoco and sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Both games were created with Japanese flair but for an International audience.
    • Needed to compete with similar titles on competing systems. Sonic to become the new flagship franchise for Sega to compete with super Mario success. LocoRoco was able to compete with more of Nintendo DS’s more creative titles like “Kirby’s Canvas Curse”.

    Most games coming out for the PSP were PS2 sequels or fully immersive 3d games, with complicated story lines. These games were more for the “hard-core” audience where LocoRoco was trying to tap into the “Casual” market. This was one the factors that led to LocoRoco being so refreshing on the PSP at its launch.

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