There’s not a whole lot of news to report this week, so instead I’ll serve up my impressions of Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, out this week in North America. There’s also some cool new videos to check out, including one for Layton’s London Life. All that plus this week’s DS/DSi releases, after the break.
Go! Go! Kokopolo Update Available Now
Developer Tanukii Studios has just released an updated version of DSiWare chase-em-up Go! Go! Kokopolo this week. Those of you with 3DS console need only launch the eShop and you’ll be notified of the update, while DSi users can check their download history.
PSA: Zelda: Four Swords Out This Week
Don’t forget that this Wednesday (Sept 28) is when The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition is released via DSiWare for all to download. As detailed last week it includes a new single-player mode, new retro-themed levels and more, for the low, low price of nothing.
More Pokémon DLC Available
European Pokémon Black/White players can get another new C-Gear skin now, this time featuring Zoroark. Enter the code “EUPGLZOROARK11″ on the Global Link website to get the skin. For those of you with Japanese copies of Black/White, you can now connect to Nintendo WFC to download a Mewtwo that can learn Electro Ball. He’s available until October 31st. Finally, visiting pokemon.com during the month of your birthday now yields a special gift in the form of a Togekiss for your copy of Pokémon Black/White!
SOLATOROBO: RED THE HUNTER
If you haven’t heard about Solatorobo yet, I’ll get you up to speed. Made by Namco Bandai’s CyberConnect2, it’s the spiritual sequel to (and set in the same world as) PSone game Tail Concerto. It’s taken around 10 years for the project to get made (partly due to poor sales of TC) but was finally released in Japan last year, followed by a European release earlier this year (distributed by Nintendo) and a North American release (by XSEED) this Tuesday. It’s an action RPG featuring cat- and dog-people living in a world of floating islands, who fight with robot suits.
You play as Red Savarin, a “hunter” who flies around completing quests to earn money along with his sister Chocolat. As Solatorobo opens he’s taking on a quest to retrieve a document from a huge airship, the Hindenburg. In the process, he discovers a mysterious medallion and unleashes a colossal monster that threatens the world. As he escapes the ship, he encounters a mysterious boy who seems to know of the medallions purpose and how it relates to the monster. I don’t want to go too deep into the plot details, but suffice to say it’s kept me interested so far, and I’m told it actually picks up in the second half of the game.
As of this writing, I’m around five chapters in, and I’m really enjoying myself, despite my usual dislike of RPGs. The wonderful soundtrack probably helps – more than once already I’ve sat and listened to music in the sound test. Heck, I’m doing it right now as I write this article. The graphics are no slouch either, featuring a colourful combination of 3D and 2D that looks really good despite the DS’s limited graphical power.
Much of the gameplay is focused on grabbing things – crates, bugs, other robots – and throwing them. In combat, you need to hammer the A button to flip an enemy, then grab them and throw them at the ground (or another enemy). As you progress you find enemies that require certain tactics to defeat, like enemies that can only be grabbed from behind, or that you need to throw smaller enemies at. The prologue does a really great job of showing you the ropes, and the (optional) tutorials can be accessed easily within the pause menu at any time. Each quest you complete as you fly from island to island grants you points that raise your “hunter rank”, allowing you to take on better jobs. Along the way you’ll earn money that you can use to purchase upgrades for your robot. The upgrade system is really easy to use; you slot blocks into a grid, which can be expanded to fit larger blocks. Different blocks grant you different stat bonuses (attack, defense, mobility and hydraulics). On top of that, there’s a number of collectibles such as photos, cutscenes and music tracks to find throughout the world, which can be viewed anytime you’re aboard your ship.
In addition to ground-based gameplay, there are flight sections. The controls for this are a little tricky but it is quite enjoyable once you get the hang of it. In standard missions you can only fly for a short time without needing to land to refill your boost gauge, but there is also a racing mode which has you soar around a course against three opponents, featuring Mario Kart-style items. This mode is also available in multiplayer (local only) but I haven’t been able to try that out for myself yet. There is one online feature in the form of downloadable quests. Like similar DLC for Professor Layton and Dragon Quest, these missions are unlocked over Wi-Fi after the game’s release (the last of these is due for release next Friday in Europe – the US schedule hasn’t been announced yet).
I’m having a really great time with this game so far. If you’re looking for a new DS (or 3DS) game to play right now, I urge you to give Solatorobo a try – even if RPGs aren’t really your thing. The North American version includes a soundtrack CD too, which I really wish had been the case for the European version. Between this, Kirby and Layton, the DS’s final Christmas is looking like one of it’s strongest yet.
Solatorobo – Customization trailer
Professor Layton’s London Life trailer
Another trailer for Aliens: Infestation
NEW ON DSiWARE
North America – Out This Week!
Plus: X-Men Destiny, Emily the Strange
- 10/11 – Aliens: Infestation
- 10/17 – Professor Layton and the Last Specter
- 2012 – Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2
Europe – Out This Week!
Plus: X-Men Destiny, Challenge Me Kids: Brain Games, Hidden Mysteries: Buckingham Palace, Ben 10 Triple Pack, The Quest Trio
- 7/10 – Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2
- 28/10 – Kirby Mass Attack
- 25/11 – Professor Layton and the Spectre’s Call