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Title: LocoRoco
Developer: Sony
Publisher: Sony
Year: 2006
Platforms: PlayStation Portable
Genre: Platformer
Players: One player only
Rating: 5/5
Summary: Possibly the cutest game of all time.

LocoRoco is a Japanese video game for the PSP. It's a two dimensional, side scrolling platformer, but that's pretty much where any similarities between LocoRoco and any other video game end.

The first thing you notice about LocoRoco is that it's cute. The LocoRoco themselves look a bit like furry little space hoppers, and the soundtrack they sing along to sounds like sixties bubblegum pop music. Even the baddies look adorable, the main ones (called Moja) resembling Puli dogs more than anything else.

Other than the standard platformer goal of moving right until you reach the exit, the main point of the game is to collect fruit, nuts, berries and insects to eat, and to run around (well, roll around) waking up your friends. It has an innocent, child-like quality to it that's comparable to Yotsuba&! and, video game wise, Uo Poko. It's perfect for playing in bed to ensure happy dreams, so it's a good thing it was released on a portable format.

The controls are very different from most platformers. If anything, they slightly resemble the obscure Japanese arcade game The Irritating Maze. Rather than directly moving the LocoRoco, you instead have to tilt the background, causing her to roll down the floor. You can also make her jump, and you can make her split up into lots of tiny little LocoRocos, then join up back together again into one big one.

With the simplistic graphical style, happy singing, and abundance of cuteness, this probably makes an ideal children's game, but don't dismiss it for adults. Although it's child's play to get to the end of each level, there are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore in search of berries and friends. Even adults seeking a perfect score will no doubt find it frustrating to gobble up an elusive berry in a hidden area, only to have the extra LocoRoco it gives them pinched afterwards by a Moja.

I'm convinced that if there were less first person shooters and more video games like this - cute, nonviolent, and most of all fun - then video games in general would have a better reputation amongst people outside of the male teen demographic. LocoRoco is a shining example of charming entertainment suitable for everyone. Recommended.

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