LocoRoco
========
Loco House Guide
================
written by Alan Kwan

0. Introduction
---------------

This is a guide to help you get the most enjoyment out of the Loco House.

The most important ingredient for building an interesting Loco House is, aside
from the needed parts and stuff, the player's creativity and imagination.  The
purpose of this guide is to provide some guidelines, ideas, and inspiration for
the beginner.  The suggestions here are not intended to be limitations of what
you can do; you are limited only by your imagination, and the purpose is to
have fun building, watching, and sharing the Loco House. 

Some of the information is taken from "LocoRoco@Wiki" website:
http://www15.atwiki.jp/locoroco/

1. Purpose of the Loco House

There are two things you can do with the Loco House:

a. get the parts bugs
b. build a house and have fun

While you can get some important parts in the Loco House, the ultimate and main
purpose of the Loco House is to build a fun structure.  Getting parts only
serves as practice for you to get used to each house size, and gets repetitive
quickly.  But with some creativity and patience, you can put together some very
fun Loco Houses.  The Loco House is not just a mini-game like the others; I
would say that, the Loco House is actually half the game (with the action
stages being the other half).

For the controls in the Loco House, please read the friendly manual.  Press the
TRIANGLE button to open a list of your parts.  To position parts more
precisely, push +-key UP to zoom in.  After you've finished placing the parts,
press START to invite the LocoRoco's into your house.  Press [] (SQUARE) to
open the menu to save/load, make a new (empty) house or change house size,
change Loco color (press [] again), etc.  Press SELECT to take a picture.

It is recommended that you turn off the "Power Save Settings -> Backlight
Auto-Off" feature on your PSP when playing with the Loco House.  Otherwise,
your PSP screen will turn dimmer after 1 minute of watching the Loco House in
action (without pressing the +-key or a button, even if you have been using
the analog stick).


2. Getting stuff for your Loco House

Much of the information in this section has been taken from @Wiki.

* Size

To get the Larger Loco Houses, you need to find Mui Mui.

small house : available from start
large house : 15 Mui Mui
huge house : 45 Mui Mui

* LocoRoco

You can get more LocoRoco from the Mui Mui Crane mini-game.  That's the only
way you can get them.  The 6 colors are counted seperately.

The LocoRoco in the crane can be of size 1, 2, or 3.  They are of different
shapes too, and the "longer" shapes are quite difficult to get (but they don't
count as more), so just focus on getting the rounder ones.

You can get up to 20 LocoRoco for each color.  You get instead 300 pickory for
each excess one.

* Parts

You can get Loco House parts almost everywhere in the game.  The parts are of
three levels of "rarirty": 1 stars indicate "common" parts, 2 stars "uncommon"
and 3 stars "rare".  Rare parts tend to be harder to get, and also more
interesting in the house.  For a list of all the parts, please see 
"pants_from_space"s Parts Guide.

There are 3 to 5 "parts bugs" in each stage.  Three of them are Mui Mui; the
others are held by sun, moon, Kuna (cloud), Nyokki (mole), Domingo (penguin) or
such.  The suns and moons require 15 LocoRoco singing to them, and will
always give a rare part.  From each spot, you can get one of two or three
(three mostly for "singing" features) fixed parts, chosen randomly each
time.  You will find (at the more "mundane" spots, such as mere Mui Mui) rarer
parts in later worlds: uncommon parts in worlds 3 and 4, and rare parts in
world 5.

If you clear a stage with 20 LocoRoco, you will get a bumper (#105-144) as
your reward.  You get a different bumper for each stage, and you can play a
stage several times to get multiple copies.  This is the only way to get
bumpers.

You can get parts bugs in the Loco House too.  After you get a parts bug, press
START to exit, and a new bug will appear in a new location.  For each house
size, the parts bug rotate through several locations.  Note that you can get
only a limited selection of 8 different parts (1 rare, 2 uncommon, 5 common) 
in each house size.  The rare parts (#097, 099 and 057) can only be got here,
and #097 and 057 are quite important.  (The common parts are the 15 more
frequently used alphabets in the English language.)

You can also get parts from the mini-games, Mui Mui Crane and Chuppa Chuppa.
From each mini-game, you can get only a limited selection of several different
parts, and you can get those elsewhere too, so they are not too important.
However, after you have got the Loco Editor, the editor-specific parts
(#145-156) can only be got here.

You will want to play Mui Mui Crane to get more LocoRoco.  Chuppa Chuppa
initially feels tougher, but once you've got the hang of it, you can get parts
with a higher rate of success than the Crane.  Especially, if you can get the
white pickory for 50, you can get more than half of the admission cost
refunded.

For a list of what parts you can get at each spot in the stages, in each house
size, and in each mini-game, please see @Wiki.


3. Some little tips

a. Size : Go step-by-step.  Start by building a few small houses, and then
progress to the large house.  The large house should be large enough to build a
fun structure; you need not feel obligated to use the huge house just because
it is available.  I myself work mostly with the large house.  Building a huge
house takes a lot of effort (if I am to pack it full with features), and is
IMO worth it only when I have got the inspiration.

b. Getting Parts Bugs in the House : With each house size, start by getting a
few parts bugs.  This gives you some chance to get used to the new layout.  At
the beginning, try to complete an easy stage or two to get a bumper (or two,
preferably).  Use these two bumpers to try to get #097 in the small house, and
then you will be able to get parts more easily.

c. Slowdown : If the screen gets too busy, the game slows down.  But you can
avoid the slowdown by zooming in the camera.

d. Rotating Parts: The rotating parts (#037-096) will move only when they are
on the screen.  If you zoom them off the screen, they stop moving.  This will
cause unusual behavior for some parts (such as #053, 057, 093).

e. Loco Editor : Because of the restrictions of the Loco Editor, it is
difficult to build really playable stages with it.  Perhaps you can get more
out of it by looking at it as an extended Loco House, with a similar purpose:
try to build a stage which is interesting to watch (rather than one which is
challenging to play).


4. Indoor and Outdoor

The house has an indoor area and an outdoor area.  You can easily use the
indoor area by letting the LocoRoco fall with gravity.  When you first start
building a house in a new size, you may try building a simple one using just
the indoor area.

To get more space for more sophiscated features, you will need to send the
LocoRoco outdoor.  You can use a bumper, or you can just pour them outside
using a slope.  There are some other more sophiscated methods, too.


5. Branches and Series

There are basically two ways you can arrange your parts to have fun with the
LocoRoco.  The most basic arrangement is to put the parts one after another
in a /series/, so that the LocoRoco will go through them along a set path.

You can also use certain parts to make the RocoLoco split into two or more
/branches/, so that they will go through different sets of features.  It can be
as simple as putting a triangle (#004 or 016) or a spinner (#085 or 086) right
in the middle of the LocoRoco's path, or you can use more sophiscated parts
(such as #039 or 093) for the purpose.  A bumper can also be used; you can
place it so that some LocoRoco will hit it but some won't.

A variation of branching is the /scatter/.  With certain parts, you can make
the LocoRoco spread out not just in a few distinguishable paths, but into
random trajectories all over the place.  Besides bumpers, parts such as #030,
049 and 055 can be used to create the scatter effect.  An example of its
application is to scatter LocoRoco all over a word (which you spell with the
alphabets).

While LocoRoco proceed through a series, sometimes they might be /derailed/ and
go off in an unusual path.  For example, the scoop (part #091 or 092) will
derail a Locoroco which arrives when it is serving an earlier visitor.  You can
also arrange a series so that, LocoRoco will regularly /drop out/ of the
series; parts such as #052 and 054 are typically used for this purpose.

By arranging your parts in branches and series, you can build a very
interesting Loco House.


6. Balanced Paths

In general, it is preferable to maintain a good balance in your paths: the
detail and complexity of the features in a branch should be correlated with the
proportion of LocoRoco traveling down that branch.

To a branch heavily loaded with many features, you want to send many LocoRoco
so that it is not too quiet; conversely, on a path which many LocoRoco are
passing through, you want to put more interesting features so that it is not
too boring.


7. The Cycle

In a typical house, the LocoRoco are shot to the top of the house by the
starting air stream, and they fall through the features to the bottom.  You
probably want to keep them in perpetual action by sending them back up.

There are basically two ways of doing this.  The simpler way is to send the
LocoRoco back to the starting air stream, using #102, 057, and others.  The
other way is to build your own upward air stream, using #097, 098 and 103, on
the left side or perhaps the middle of your house.  One useful design is to use
#102 to direct LocoRoco from the indoor branch to the starting air stream, while
placing #101 outdoors to send LocoRoco to your own air stream on the left.


8. Theme

While you can build an interesting Loco House purely by clever arrangements of
parts and intriguing mechanics, you may find it easier to base your design on
some theme.  For example, I have made an "Ice Land" house, with the outdoor
area being a large ice park for the LocoRoco.  In another one, I scatter the
LocoRoco over the names of my family (spelled with the alphabets).  Or you may
make a musical house, loaded with many different bumpers and noisy parts.

The theme may cover the whole house, or just a part of it.  You may use the
alphabets to spell out appropriate words if you wish.


Parts Usage Guide
=================

This section looks at all the parts available, and gives some suggestions about
how to use them nicely.

Don't forget that you can rotate most parts with the L/R buttons.  Even some
"rotating" parts (such as #039 and 049) can have their behavior altered
significantly by L/R rotating.

* #001-003 Basic Lands

These are the mundane parts which you use to shape your machine in the way you
want.  They are not particularly interesting by themselves, but are quite
essential in most designs.  They are just land, but they can be used in any
number of ways, for any number of things.

In practice, they are more often rotated (with the L/R buttons) than not: even
the sample house you get at the start has #001 rotated.

* #004 Triangle
* #005-006 Circles

These parts are often used to create branches: their top surfaces conveniently
divide the flow of LocoRoco into two.  Although you can have better "space
efficiency" by using a basic land (with steep rotation) to split the path,
these large parts look more fancy.

** #007 Funnel

The funnel is used for channeling the Loco into a narrow flow.  You can use it
to collect LocoRoco scattered by a bumper, for example.

* #008 Basin

This can catch LocoRoco and keep them there for a while before they wander
away.

I like to use it for a "goal area" which the LocoRoco reach occasionally.

* #009 Staircase

This is a more fancy way than #003 to guide LocoRoco down a slope.  LocoRoco
may stay on the staircase for longer, and there is a higher chance of someone
going up against the stairs.

* 010 Square

Considering only the top surface in its normal orientation, the square is
functionally much the same as #002.  It is a lot larger and less
space-efficient, but looks more fancy.

When rotated 45 degrees, it can be used for branching just like the triangle.

* #011 Pocket

If you have seen a /Pachinko/ machine, this part should look familiar. The
difference is that, there is no hole behind the pocket to drain the ball away,
so the LocoRoco will stay in the pocket for a little while, before it leaps
away.

In its normal orientation, it is usually used to add emphasis to an interesting
spot, for example an unusual path (derail or drop-out).

** #012 Plate

Be careful when using the plate: if you put it in a main path, you'll soon have
too many LocoRoco gathering here, leaving your other features underpopulated.
An arrow bug or some rotation can change that.

The plate is perhaps more useful for the Loco Editor than for the Loco Hosue.

* #013-024 Ice parts

These ice parts take the same shape as the corresponding land part, so pretty
much the same comments would apply.  However, the LocoRoco will skate off an
ice slope with higher speed, and there is less chance of a LocoRoco climbing up
against the slope, or staying long on it.

** #025 Ice Bend

This small part can be used for various things.

** #026-027 Ice Jumps

The standard use is to let LocoRoco slide down the slope and ending with a
jump.

*** #028 Ice U-turn

This part is used to guide the LocoRoco into a big U-turn.  But for it to work,
the LocoRoco needs to enter at high enough speed.  You may consider blowing a
#097 into the U.  If used for a U-turn, it is usually placed with a large
rotation.  In its default orientation, it easily becomes a large pocket which
traps LocoRoco inside it.

*** #029 Ice Wavy Channel

Among the large ice channel parts, this one is the easiest to use, because its
shape is simplest.  It can be used in many different orientations.

*** #030 Ice Dots

This part is typically used to create a scatter, and for this purpose it is
excellent.

** #031 Ice Sharp-Zigzag Channel

This channel part is somewhat difficult to use, requiring high entry speed or
LocoRoco will get stuck inside.

** #032 Ice Bend Channel

This small part is typically used to make a 90-degree turn.  A fancy version of
#025.  This one is preferred when one of the ends exit downwards, to keep
LocoRoco from falling off the path.

** #033 Ice Wavy Slope

This is more fancy than just a plain slope using #014, but is also slightly
more difficult to use.  If the speed is too low, LocoRoco will stop at the
middle bump.

** #034 Ice Zigzag Channel

A fancy channel on a vertical path.  Usually used without any rotation, or
LocoRoco may get stuck inside.

** #035 Ice Looping channel

A fancy but difficult to use part.  High entry speed is required regardless of
the orientation.  Also, LocoRoco may collide at the intersection, and then they
will get stuck and jam the channel.

** #036 Ice Parallel Channels

A small fancy part.  Useful for branching.  (You need something below it to
further seperate the branches, such as a bumper or a triangle.)

You can line up several of them side by side to make many parallel channels.
This makes a nice way to decorate a scatter.

** #037 See-saw

This is one of the parts which cause time-based branching; i.e. LocoRoco will
go left or right depending on when they arrive (rather than their entry path,
angle, or speed).

** #038 Rotating Log

This slow-rotating part can be used for various branching or drop-out effects.

* #039 90-degree Rotating Cross

This part is great for making time-based branching.

Its behavior can be changed significantly by rotating it 45 degrees.  The
LocoRoco will branch more efficiently, without staying long on the cross.

* #040-42 Steadily-Rotating parts

These parts deposit LocoRoco onto a mostly fixed path, but they have different
rates of drop-out.  #041 causes drop-out more often because of its shape, while
#042 is the most predictable with its fast rate of rotation.

* #043-046 Wheels

These wheels can be used to throw LocoRoco in a certain general direction, with
some scatter.  They are more predictable than bumpers, yet can be used to
create good branching with the proper receiving mechanisms.

* #047 Rotating Star

Similar to the other steadily-rotating parts, with very slow rotation and a
fancy shape which invites drop-out.

*** #048 Cloud

Mostly a more fancy #003.

*** #049 Ferris Wheel

A very interesting part, ranked among the top fancy parts, and creating fun
branching and scatter effects.

Don't forget that you can change its behavior by rotating it.  You can adjust
the branching distribution with a slight rotation, or even rotate it 90 degrees
and turn it into a unique drop-out interceptor against horizontally-flying
LocoRoco.

* #050 Rotating Square

Unlike the steadily-rotating parts, this one makes a 90-degree rotation
periodically.

** #051 Moving Square

An interesting part for creating branching or drop-out.

*** #052 Moving Platforms

A fancy drop-out machine.  You can control the speed at which LocoRoco
transverse the platforms with L/R rotation, and this will also affect the
drop-out rate.

*** #053 Flippers

I like to use this to decorate a drop-out path (such as directly under #052).
It can cause derailing: after letting a LocoRoco through, it may hit a
following LocoRoco when it is closing.

*** #054 Rotating Gap

LocoRoco you toss at it has a small chance of entering the gap, and then it
will probably exit towards the lower right.

** #055 Moving Land

A very simple and effective part for creating an interesting scatter or
branching.  Again, don't forget that you can adjust its behavior by L/R
rotation.

*** #056 Bottle

15 seconds after a LocoRoco has entered, it will pour out its contents.  It
even shakes a few of times to make sure that it is properly emptied.
LocoRoco which arrive when it is pouring will be derailed to the left.

*** #057 Conveyer Belt

This is a very useful part for sending LocoRoco in the direction you want.
Unlike a real conveyer belt, both surfaces move in the same direction.  So by
rotating it 180 degrees, you can send LocoRoco left.  Also, if placed on the
ground, it will send LocoRoco in the direction you want, even if they get under
it.

This part can only be got in the huge Loco House.

* #058-084 Alphabets

While you can use them for their shapes (they can fit into narrow spaces
because of small size), their standard use is to spell out words.  You can use
them to spell out the name or the theme of your house, or your own name or any
word you want.

You can just put the word in an unused area.  You can instead scatter LocoRoco
all over it.  Or you can do something in between, putting the word on a path so
that some alphabets will be touched by LocoRoco but some will not.

When you watch carefully, you can see that the alphabets are not entirely
stationary, but rather, they are dancing alphabets.

* #085-086 Spinners

Spinners are typically used for decoration.  I usually put a spinner at a spot
which is either too small or too "quiet/unimportant" for a larger feature, such
as a drop-out path, or as the last feature before a path ends at the ground.

* #087-089 Fancy Spinners

I usually use these larger spinners as bona fide features (unlike the small
ones, which I use just for decoration).

** #090 Swinging U

This part has a larger scatter effect than the spinners.  Sometimes it tosses
the LocoRoco quite far away.

** #091-092 Scoops

Delivers a single LocoRoco quite precisely, but following LocoRoco which arrive
when it is serving an earlier visitor may roll along the shaft, or even be
derailed to the other side.

** #093 T Splitter

Unlike #037 and 039 which causes time-based branching, this part causes
count-based branching.  It's designed to alternate LocoRoco between the right
and left paths, but in practice sometimes several LocoRoco accumulate before
it tips over, so the splitting is not exactly one-by-one.  Yet you can be sure
that both paths will get some LocoRoco (unlike time-based branching, which may
split more unevenly depending on luck).

* #094 Balance Beam

A fun, fancy branching mechanism.

** #095 Suspension Beam

Somewhat different behavior from #094.  Note that the small graphical icon in
the parts list has an error: this one actually doesn't have an axis (pivot),
while #096 does.

** #096 Ice Balance Beam

The ice version of #94, with different size and even more different behavior.

*** #097 Straight Air Stream

This is a very useful part which you can get only in the small Loco House.  You
can rotate it to send LocoRoco in any direction you want.  You can line them up
in a series, too.

*** #098 Looping Air Stream

This part has a more fancy shape than #097, and is larger, so it is great for
taking LocoRoco a long distance.

Unlike #097 though, you cannot line them up into a series.  A LocoRoco which
has just exited a looping air stream will not be affected by any (the same or
another) looping air stream until it lands on something solid.  This is
probably a feature designed to avoid (small) infinite loops.

*** #099 Flower

This part is quite plain functionally, but its fancy look makes good
decoration.  Available only in the large Loco House.

*** #100 Xylophone Staircase

A musical slope.

*** #101 Left Arrow Bug

A very useful part which can make LocoRoco go left along a horizontal or
slightly sloping strip of land.  One common use is at the "windows", to guide
LocoRoco outdoors.

*** #102 Right Arrow Bug

A very important part for guiding LocoRoco on the ground towards the default
air stream (as demonstrated by the sample house you get initially), among other
uses.

You start the game with one.  Your earliest opportunity to get more is in stage
3-8, from the moon.

*** #103 Fountain

An alternative to #097.  This one has a stronger force (because water is
thicker than air).

*** #104 Drum Panel

A musical part which causes weaker and less scattered bouncing than a bumper.

** #105-144 Bumpers

The bumpers are very useful for a number of purposes: decoration, scatter and
branching, sending LocoRoco flying in a certain direction, etc.

When you clear a stage with all 20 LocoRoco, you get the corresponding bumper.
The bumpers not only look different, but each one also produces a unique sound
when hit.  Mechanically, their functions are all identical.  Thus, you are
motivated to collect them all, but you are not missing too much if you don't.


Conclusion
----------

There are a lot of fun things you can do in the Loco House.  I myself do spend
as much time in the Loco House as in the stages.  Have fun with your creations!

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