When LocoRoco was released on PSP back in 2006 it was welcomed like the first sunny spring day after a long cold winter. That was because not only did the PSP not have that many games at the time that weren't PS2 ports, but the ones it did have mostly involved shooting or driving things.
LocoRoco wasn't only original and designed especially for PSP, but it also used the sort of garishly bright colour palette PSP owners were probably thinking didn't exist in their games console after playing so many games in shades of brown and grey. The fact it was also one of the most joyously fun games ever made also didn't hurt.
Now, after way too long a wait, LocoRoco has finally made its way to mobile phone. And, thanks to the original being a thing of simplicity, it's not only made it but also ended up remarkably similar to the PSP original. Nearly everything that made it so brilliant on PSP is here in the mobile version. Yes, platform fans are in for quite a treat.
Let's start by explaining LocoRoco's simple brilliance though, for anyone who hasn't before seen the game.
Firstly it's in the control system. Unlike a traditional platform game, LocoRoco has you controlling your character (or rather characters) by tilting the actual world it inhabits. Press '4' and you tilt the world left, press '6' and you tilt it right and press both buttons together and you jump. If you jump while tilting you jump right or left.
Secondly it's in LocoRoco's setting and the objectives you're given. Casting an eye (you might need sunglasses) over the screenshots above should tell you everything you need to know about the sort of place you're exploring.
It's like the Tellytubbies crossed with sponge trifles. Everything in LocoRoco is soft-edged and springy. There's very little to hurt you, and the things that do - flying Mojos and spiky black plants - stand out among the pastel coloured cuteness like a football fan in the wrong part of the stadium.
Except, in contrast with the circumstances of the marooned football supporter, brushing up against a foe won't result in instant death.
That's because instead of using the platform game's typical 'stick' gameplay - fall and you die, touch a bad guy and you die, and so on - LocoRoco goes more for the carrot approach. Find lots of hidden bits and special fruit and you get full marks at the end of the level. But, if you can't be bothered, you can still sail through the game and enjoy seeing about half of it without being penalised.
So you bounce your LocoRoco through each level, making him grow in size by eating fruit then reducing him into lots of smaller LocoRocos when you want to fall through small gaps, trying to find these hidden items as you go.
Levels range from the bright and the colourful to the scary and dark, but they all have their own unique little sections and obstacles.
There are gusts of wind that carry your LocoRocos through the air, wheels that spin them about, boulders to bash through, hidden characters with big smiley faces to lift you to higher platforms, and water to bob about in.
While you couldn't reasonably expect the music to match up to the PSP game, where your LocoRocos frequently bunched up together for an impromptu sing-a-long, it's still toe-tappingly tuneful on mobile. The visuals too are pure LocoRoco, just minus the squishiness.
The only criticism in fact is the same one that was levelled at the original PSP game, which is that hardcore gamers might be a little short-changed with LocoRoco.
Particularly on mobile, where the unique sound and visuals can't compensate as much for it, some sections feel too short on challenge. For instance, when sticky Mojos attach themselves to you and need to be washed off with water, there's always some water straight ahead of you.
Bits like this feel a little pointless, as if they're only in the game to add some variety and not to enhance the challenge in any way.
However, even with these occasionally lacklustre sections, LocoRoco is still a massive achievement on mobile phone. It's a truly fun experience that effortlessly raises one smile after another, and a platform game that - if you're up for finding every hidden path and collecting every hidden item - will keep you coming back for weeks.