- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 21, 2009

Here’s an abbreviated look at some multimedia titles.

LocoRoco 2 (from Sony Computer Entertainment America for the PlayStation Portable, $19.99) — Anyone remember the PSP? It’s not in the news as much as Nintendo’s DS and Apple’s iTouch, but games are still being developed for it.

One of the better recent games brings back a charming species of singing gelatinous blobs looking for help to maintain their peaceful planet. It appears the villainous Bommucho is causing more trouble with his Moja army, spreading darkness among the LocoRoco World.

The player still uses the PSP’s shoulder buttons to tilt environments and roll the ever-burgeoning population of blobs through dangerous terrain to restore life and meet up with their friends the MuiMui.

Through the life-resurrecting travels, the player will need to get the bouncing boys to occasionally belt out a song to clear up some evil darkness and collect notes and berries to propagate.

Those familiar with the World of Goo will find the LocoRoco a similar species with the ability to morph through challenges ranging from splitting into multiple members to squeeze through narrow canyon passages to crawling into a wig to smash though barriers.

Besides traversing the environmental obstacle courses with the species, the player can take photos of key moments, decorate a MuiMui’s house, enjoy a minigame (pilot a plane and shoot down enemies, for example) and interact with some bizarre creatures that would enjoy living in “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.”

Although the two-dimensional wonderland of pastels loaded with sights and sounds surely would capture the attention of a toddler, the action is more for the puzzle fan 7 years old and older.

Marble Saga: Kororinpa (from Hudson Entertainment, for Wii, $29.99) — In a similar vein, a player can find more tilting and sphere manipulation in a new game perfect for Nintendo’s magical console.

Tethered to a story about an ant named Anthony in search of a Golden Sunflower Seed to save his colony, a player manipulates a ball over a set number of gold crystals in pinball-style courses while completing more than 150 stages.

The Wiimote acts as a level — tip or twist it slightly and so go the on-screen environments that range from courses built from cardboard to platforms connected by tubes.

This near-perfect puzzler offers various levels of difficulty and goals for the entire family through timed rounds, medal awards to unlock more balls, collecting junk pieces to build courses, and split-screen challenges involving up to four players.

Other features adding to the game’s replayability include customizing marbles with particular attributes (a meowing cat marble, for example, or even popping your Mii into the orb), the chance to design detailed courses and access to more downloadable stages with WiiConnect24.

Better yet, pull out the Wii Balance Board and become one with the marble. The player leans forward, backward and side to side to work through 30 courses. It’s a clever use of the board and, once again, gets players off the couch and into a game.

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