Monday, July 04, 2011

Game Diary: Dog people, robots and airships

I have been commuting to and from London on a daily basis for over two weeks now, a trip that takes just over two hours, and only now have I started playing games to pass the time. I depart so early in the morning (and I am definitely not a morning person) that I often just want to chill out on the way in, and I had a fairly sizable backlog of podcasts that I hadn't been listening to while I was off work. Now that I've settled into the routine and caught up with all the episodes of Retronauts Live, Weekend Confirmed and others, I will be spending more time with my 3DS, Caanoo and tablet. A little while ago Ocarina of Time 3D was released of course, and while it is undoubtedly a fantastic game, I've already completed it - twice, on older hardware. I do intend to play all the way through eventually but at the moment it's not really firing my imagination. There is another game that has just been released this past Friday though, that I find thoroughly engaging, and it goes by the name of Solatorobo.

During the PS1 era, a game was released by the name of Tail Concerto, which took place in a world of talking dog and cat people. I have played small portion of this game, but enough to know that it was a high quality action game. Solatorobo is a sequel of sorts to that game, and it takes place in the same world but centres around a new cast of characters. In it you play Red the Hunter, a vulpine bounty hunter who stomps around on a giant robot while helping out the local populace for money. A short while into the game, you can also use your robot to fly for a finite amount of time, and also enter into full on air races that play rather like an airborne variant of Mario Kart.
The are many side quests and distractions throughout the game, including finding kittens who have stolen somebodies photo collection, and a fighting arena.

This is just scratching the surface, and I'm only a few hours into the game at the moment so there is a lot more to see and do. Most missions in the game take 10 minutes at the most to play through, so it is an ideal game to play on the go. Despite running on the original DS hardware rather than the more powerful 3D, the game looks great too, with the sort of hand painted anime look and European style towns that frequent many of Miyazaki's best works. It's definitely a keeper, and looks set to become on of the true hidden gems of the Nintendo DS. It's currently not released in the US, but XSEED Games have plans to bring it out there in the Autumn. If their past releases are anything to go by, they will have some lavish packaging to go with it, so it may well be worth holding out for. Should something go awry though and the game doesn't come out as planned, at least now they have the option of importing the game from Europe. It would be well worth the effort.

My Child of Eden review is still on course for later this week, but I want to spend a bit more time playing it with Kinect, as most of my play time so far has been spent using the controller.

No comments: