What follows is an interesting, twisting story that follows the adventures of Red, his sister, a pink cat-person named Chocolat, a strange cat-person known as Elh, and the secrets they all hold. For a story revolving around cats and dogs, it's a surprisingly involving tale, and one that's set to last you for a while too.
You progress through the game by taking on quests from the handy quests booths found in each city. Letting you progress through the game however you want, if you're looking to see the end of the story as soon as possible, you can choose to stick exclusively to the important story quests (marked with a large "NEXT") - or, if you want to see everything there is, you can pick and choose at the quests you get offered. These range from retrieving items, to clearing sewers of enemies, to even, bizarrely, fishing for crabs that have entire islands built onto their backs, using a harpoon.
Thanks to its having gigantic arms, you won't be attacking enemies with a sword, or shooting them with lasers or rockets - instead, you simply have to pick them up, and chuck them around. Walk up to an enemy and hammer A, and you can lift them above your head, before pressing it again to smack them into the ground. Leap before you throw, and you'll do more damage. When your enemy hits the floor, they'll bounce straight back up in the air, giving you another chance to leap up into the air, grab thm mid-bounce, and smash them back into the ground again. Building up combos of bounce-catches like this is the way to win most battles.
Of course, not all enemies are the same. Some fire rockets at you, which you can catch and throw back with some precise timing, while others are simply too heavy to be lifted from the front. Scoot around behind an enemy, and you'll be able to lift them twice as easily as from the front (you'd think their designers would learn), making them easy picking for speedy Red.
Outside of battles, you can visit shops and buy upgrades for DAHAK, which need to be slotted into your machine, tetris style. Because each bit's a different shape, you'll need to make a trade off between which stats you upgrade the most - would you rather be quick, but weak, or slow, but able to chuck an enemy skywards in a split second?
Whether you're following quests, or simply chatting to the villagers in the various towns, variety is the spice of life in Solatorbo. There's a selection of minigames on offer, including a flying race (which, sadly, is naff), along with the aformentioned crab hunting, but no two quests really feel the same. Far from being simple go here, do this, bring stuff back affairs, there's genuine variety in both the objectives, and how you go about completing it. One second, you'll be using a jet pack to fly between islands searching for crates, the next, you'll be defending a ship from attack by grabbing the shells some pirates throw at it. There's certainly not a lack of things to do.
With enough quests to keep you going for 30-40 hours on its own, Nintendo are also supporting Solatorobo with free, downloadable quests for an unannounced period of time after launch. The first four are available to download now, and for one, we hope they keep coming. This is a game we simply can't get enough of.
But sadly, like Majin and the Foresaken Kingdom before it on the Xbox 360, Solatorobo is a somewhat obscure Japanese game, and you just know that, because of that, most people are going to blissfully unaware of its existence. And that's a huge problem. Because games like Solatorobo, and Majin before it don't come along all that often. In a world of generic military shooter No.5024, Solatorobo is like a breath of fresh air, and is a game that we hope you'll enjoy as much as we did. Should you ever see it in the shops, why not pick it up, take a chance, and give it a go. We guarantee, you won't play anything like it this year.
- Epic storyline.
- Incredibly fun gameplay.
- Hugely varied quests.
- Disappointing race sections.
- Battles could use more variety.
- Only one save slot.