LocoRoco 2

Sony's LocoRoco is one of the PSP's more delightful video games, an enjoyable romp through a happy fantasy world full of singing critters and simple but attractive scenery. Now those loveable creatures are back in the upcoming sequel, aptly titled LocoRoco 2. You can expect the same adorable shenanigans mixed with new mechanics and mini games, which should help set this game apart from its addictive predecessor.

Much like the original, the game stars the LocoRoco, cute blobs that bounce through their world singing in an unintelligible language. Insanely adorable, it's hard not to fall in love with them as they roll down hills and slowly fly through the air. As for their nemesis, the Moja, you're free to hate them all you like. Those rascally baddies unleashed a strange substance that infects both plants and animals, and the LocoRoco set out to not only clean up the mess, but rid their land of the Moja and save the peaceful Mui Mui, the animals most effected by the crisis.

To do this, you press the PSP's left and right shoulder buttons to tilt the environments in those respective directions, the goal to build up speed so the LocoRoco quickly roll up and down hills, reach platforms and soar off ledges. However, Sony tweaked the game to make it different. For example, whereas the prequel forced you to avoid water, now you can swim by repeatedly pressing the jump button. In addition, you can bite vines and swing across chasms, as well as interact with different forms a creatures, such as a female LocoRoco that digs rock and roll.

Although the game has 25 levels, five less than the original, Sony added new objectives that encourage you to replay them several times. These goals include locating a missing character, going on a scavenger hunt and even racing a Moja to the finish line. No word on whether you can unlock bonus goodies for winning.

The Mui Mui house, a crib that features the rescued Mui Mui, makes a return, except Sony expanded it to include more interaction, such as building stuff for them to use or even listening to them play guitar. We're not sure how long this will hold our interests, but it's a neat feature to have.

In addition, there are various mini games, such as a Whack-a-Mole style challenge, a side-scrolling shooter and even a kart-racing battle game where you attempt to push rivals into various hazards.

As expected, the game is a wonderful mix of colors and bizarre characters. Instead of opting for 3-D worlds, you explore flat 2-D designs bursting with originality. Each world features a theme, so at one point, you'll wander through a dark land and meet a twisted tree, and in another, you'll play in the snow and run into a towering snowman. You never know what to expect.

Seeing as how the game debuts in 2009, we're sure there's plenty we don't know. For now, however, LocoRoco 2 seems to be a worthy sequel and a great reason to dust off our PSPs.