Publisher: XSEED Games (NA)
Platform: Nintendo DS
A World of Sky and Robots
Solatorobo is an action-RPG that follows the exploits of a French-speaking anthropomorphic dog named Red Savarin, a “hunter” who rides around in a robot over a series of floating islands known as the Shepherd Republic.
This is one of those games that I enjoy more for its world and characters rather than its gameplay. While my description above may sound contrived, every aspect of the game has been so fully realized and lovingly crafted that it all fits together seamlessly. The Shepherd Republic is a world that practically dares you not to become absorbed in it.
That’s not to say that the gameplay isn’t worthwhile. As a hunter, you travel around the game world and take on various quests. The main quests move the story forward, but there are also many side quests that can be taken on at any time. The main mechanic of grabbing and throwing is easy to get a grip on (get it?), and satisfying to do. In addition, there are several mini-games, such as fishing and Air Robo GP, the latter of which supports local multiplayer for up to four people. There are also numerous unlockables, including art, music and movies. The game gives you quite a lot to do.
The adventure is long and involving, and the characters are very likable and fun. While it does contain quite a bit of dialog, as well as its fair share of JRPG cliches, it’s easy become invested in the story due to the amount of love the creators clearly had for the material. I cared because the developers cared.
And that’s really the key to Solatorobo‘s success. This is a game with a big heart, and that’s something that I think games really need more of these days. Solatorobo: Red the Hunter is a game to be treasured, and hopefully it won’t be another 10 years before we see another installment in this wonderful franchise.