A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that LocoRoco: Midnight Carnival, a downloadable game for the PSP, is a cute puzzle/platform game that’s safe for all ages. Note, though, that its difficulty level, which is greater than that of its predecessors, may be above the threshold of younger players. Apart from certain enemies vanishing in a puff of smoke when bumped, there is no violence at all in the game.
What's it about?
LOCOROCO: MIDNIGHT CARNIVAL, the latest entry in Sony’s cute and quirky puzzler/platformer series for the PSP, is available only via download through the PlayStation Store. The main goal, as usual, is to control a growing blob of LocoRoco creatures as it rolls through colorful 2-D environments using the shoulder buttons to tilt the screen left and right. Along the way players meld with more LocoRoco, find hidden areas, and collect various items. Aside from the night-time setting hinted at in its title, the shtick this time out is that players can now bounce LocoRoco off the walls with a new “boing” move. Previous entries in the series let us jump, but now if we time repeated jumps just right we can leap much higher and off almost any surface. Some levels even have as an objective to jump from start to finish, stringing together scores of bounces.
Is it any good?
LocoRoco: Midnight Carnival is more difficult than any previous entry in the franchise. In addition to those tricky new high jumps, returning players will notice more bottomless pits. Plus, if you don’t manage to finish the stage in a set amount of time your score will be reduced at the end of the level. Also, many of the hidden LocoRoco and items can be devilishly difficult to track down. They’re not always needed to complete stages, but completionists who feel the urge to find everything a developer has hidden could end up puzzling over certain levels for a long time.
Luckily, the series’ trademark joyful music ought to keep players cheerful throughout, even during the most challenging levels. It’s also worth noting that, at just $14.99, LocoRoco: Midnight Carnival is a steal of a deal. It takes several hours to work through all of the levels, and with plenty of scoring and time objectives -- not to mention the sheer joy of playing -- there’s plenty of reason to come back and aim for better results.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how LocoRoco: Midnight Carnival is different from other games in the series. It has the franchise’s typically chipper music and plenty of brightly colored creatures and objects, but now most of the backgrounds are dark instead of light. Does this make the game seem less cheerful? Did it affect your experience or how you viewed it?
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