Solatorobo is definitely an oddball of a game to decipher. If you picked the box up at a game store and looked right at it, there are probably a couple things that go through your mind: “This game has furries.” “Aw sweet, it comes with a soundtrack.” “How in the world do you even pronounce this title?”
Most that we’ve mentioned this game to seemed to be turned off by that whole furry thing, and decided to just dismiss the game. StarFox had a cast of similarly anthropomorphic animals, though, and that seemed to go over pretty well, don’t you think?
The game drops you right into the action as Red Savarin, a Caninu (a dog-person) Hunter tasked with finding important documents on a ship occupied by your typical evil organization hellbent on ruling the world. As you learn your way around the game, you complete the mission and end up finding a medallion as added loot for your mission. This medallion ends up being a lot more important than you thought, though. You soon meet Elh, a Felineko (cat-person) who makes a contract with you to protect the medallion and as a result receive a large payday.
As the game progresses you do a number of quests, both related to the story and completely optional. More often than not, you’ll find yourself doing the optional ones since you have to raise your Hunter Rank to play some of the story-related quests anyway. The optional quests don’t take too much time, though, and the added experience and salary for each end up helping you through the adventure.
Some of the quests are pretty engaging. While a nice handful of them involve simple puzzles by moving this object from Point A to Point B and “Find this item for me,” some spawn off to dueling against other characters and monsters on a Duel Ship or even racing different robots in a pre-set course. The game varies these quests it enough so it doesn’t become too boring as you trudge alongside the story missions.
The controls, while simple to learn, are completely incongruous with what you’d expect. For example, there are different commands attached to the B button. Press once and you’ll jump. (Simple enough). Double tap it quickly, you’ll end up in a dash. Tap the button in a slower rhythm, and your robot, DAHAK, will flap its arms and hover down. We found ourselves having trouble hovering over enemy fire, since if we pressed to too fast, we would end up dashing right into a beam of doom.
The flying segments are no different. The R button is used for resetting the camera behind you when you’re not accelerating forward. However, it’s also used for an attack dash for when you are moving, so you can strike down enemies in the air. What made them think mapping the camera and the attack command on the same button was a good idea?
The game really shines with its top-notch production values. Every character blurts out French, an ironically cute and questionable decision that works well for this game. The music is beautifully composed, and fits perfectly to every scenario in-game. The character animations are gorgeous, in both dialogue and cutscenes. These elements blend together with the story to create an engaging and immersive experience. The story does starts off a little on the slow side, though. It takes a while for everything to finally come together, and when it does, you find it ends rather abruptly. Just as character development starts happening, it all comes to an end. (Or does it?)
Solatorobo is an absolute blast to play. From awesome character designs to the enjoyable music and an engaging storyline, you’ll find yourself wanting more. Aside from a few control issues, the game’s difficulty is fairly moderate, so you won’t find yourself struggling to get through the story at all.
Pros: Engaging storyline, beautiful visuals, great soundtrack
Cons: Certain controls don’t make sense, story starts off slow and is mostly linear