TOKYO--LocoRoco managed to snag a lot of people's hearts with its charming look and catchy music, but it didn't necessarily do the same with everyone's attention span given its fairly one-dimensional gameplay. Now Sony Japan is looking to take LocoRoco's fun aesthetic and build on it with the forthcoming sequel, LocoRoco 2. Game designer Tsutomu Kouno led a demo earlier today at the Tokyo Game Show where talked about some of the ways he and his team will be adding to LocoRoco's gameplay and overall charm.
One of the ways Sony Japan will be adding to the game's depth is by giving you the ability to pick up new moves and platforming techniques as the game progresses. One of the examples displayed was a new swinging ability. You can bite onto a piece of grass or a vine using your LocoRoco's mouth, then swing from one platform to another when the regular old jumping command just won't cut it. Another example is swimming through underwater stages; your chubby little LocoRoco will eventually sink to the bottom if left alone, so you need to hit the jump button to help him buoy himself along through the water.
In addition to new ways of interacting with the world around you, each level will be populated with new forms of life. Kouno showed off one of the new LocoRoco you can control, an agile and spunky female that, according to him, really likes rock music. He also showed one of the new bosses, a giant purple mess of hair and makeup that looks like a cross between Grimace and Mrs. Doubtfire.
LocoRoco 2 will feature 25 levels in all, which may sound a bit odd considering the first game had substantially more than that. However, now each level will offer a variety of new goals and objectives you can unlock after you beat each one for the first time. These are referred to as quests and change the way you play the game in a few ways. Some of the different quests shown were a race to the finish against a Moja, a scavenger hunt where you need to collect specific items within the level's boundaries, and a mode where you need to find a character who's gone wandering off somewhere in the level.
Kouno rounded out the demo with a run-through some of the new minigames LocoRoco 2 will offer. Nyokki Nyonyokki is a sort of Whac-a-Mole variant where your LocoRoco wields a toy hammer and smashes Nyokkis that sprout out of the ground. Bui Bui Boooon is a LocoRoco-themed side-scrolling shooter where you pilot a vehicle and take out the usual assortment of enemy Mojas in retro arcade style. Loco Rider is a Mario Kart Battle-type game where each player rides on a LocoRoco and bops each other into various environmental hazards, such as spiky walls. Finally, the Mui Mui House has been greatly expanded so that you're given much more depth to the way you can build and decorate a house for the Mui Mui and LocoRoco to occupy.
LocoRoco 2 hasn't been given a firm release date yet, but Sony has stated that it will be available in 2009. You can expect to see more coverage in the upcoming months.