It seems like a while since we saw anything Home related here. Not because Home isn’t doing anything new, more because street fighter came out I guess 🙂 LocoRoco Island came out a while ago now, but there is still much to be said for what is, in my opinion, the one of the two best examples of what Home can achieve (the other being Lockwood’s Sodium 1 space). LocoRoco Island is a public space and a purchasable personal space that interconnect and keep players coming back for more. Both of them are true to the style of the LocoRoco games and full of the cutesy characters fans will be familiar with.
The public space features look out binoculars, a two player game called LocoReversi, a shop to buy LocoRoco virtual goodies and a betting shop to bet on the races that take place every hour. I bet that last one probably surprised quite a few people not familiar with the space 🙂 The LocoReversi game is a board game where you try to capture your opponents LocoRoco by having your LocoRoco surround them. It’s quite difficult to get your head around and requires quite a lot of forethought (I still haven’t beaten the AI 😦 ) As for the bettering, around the small island is a group of Mui Mui’s and other various creatures that swim around the island. You bet on which one you think will win, using the currency unique to the LocoRoco space, known as Pickories. And that is where the personal space comes in.
To start off with, while pretty, the personal LocoRoco island is a bit empty. You get a giant tree house with a single chamber and there’s the Mui Mui king’s tree. Around the island you can collect Pickories by interacting with the Mui Mui’s or by trading nuts you find on the island. These are then given to the King Mui Mui who opens various things up on the island. It starts off slowly – you get a juke box to kill the silence prevalent in so many home spaces, you get a Mui Mui playing with a beach ball. Then you start to get bigger things, like a lift that takes you to the top of your tree house, your very own LocoReversi board that you can play on your own or against an invited friend, or a farm area that you have to return to and water every so often. The genius of the LocoRoco island is that it keeps you coming back – there’s always something to do and the nuts and Mui Mui gifts appear every day, giving you reason to do so. The smaller items are quite cheap when it comes to Pickories, but the more advanced items (like the farm) can require up to a 100 pickories. Which is why the betting can sometimes be a nice diversion to speed things up a little (if you win that is).
The items you purchase (like tshirts and hats) also have an effect on the island, with each one adding a LocoRoco to your island! It’s a highly relaxing space, filled with the same infectious cuteness of the PSP games. The only strange thing about it is perhaps that for something on a social platform, it’s odd the amount of fun you can have with no one else around. 🙂 Where most Home spaces are content with giving players something amusing for a single visit, LocoRoco island keeps players coming back – and surely this is the way forward for Home.