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Sola to Robo (Nintendo DS review)

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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2013 3:13 pm    Post subject: Sola to Robo (Nintendo DS review) Reply with quote

(The link below is a Sola to Robo trailer)

Released in 2011, Sola To Robo is a anime game thatís often goofy and doesnít make much sense, but it has an exuberant spirit to it thatís kinda cute so itís hard to hold anything against it. The main character is a teenage dog boy named Red who rides on a robot. His sister is a pink cat who gives him motherly all the time, I guess through a Bluetooth earpiece buried conveniently somewhere in his ear where none of us can see it.

Most of the game is spent answering classified ads that read, ďHelp needed, bring your own robot.Ē People pay you to do stuff like moving crates, killing giant cockroaches infesting warehouses, blasting and drilling for ore in a mine, and protecting shipments that get attacked by pirates. None of the quests are really challenging or demand any tight reflexes or even problem solving skills, but they all felt enjoyable anyway.

Aside from these little quests, the game follows a main storyline divided into chapters. These chapters revolve around a mysterious cat guy Red and his sister rescue during a mission. They later learn this feline is the last of a dying bloodline entrusted with keeping some Godzilla-like monster locked away so it canít go on a rampage and kill everyone. However, some bad guys want to unleash this monster for their schemes so they start chasing Red and his friends.

I thought the quests were really endearing and fun, like goofy episodes of a Saturday morning cartoon show. Even when itís predictable and cheesy itís hard not to warm up to it. The graphics are the best part of this game. Even after growing accustomed to the visuals of 3DS games, these still impressed me. Each stage is scenic and lush, with welcoming colors and thoughtful art direction. It looks a lot like Hayao Miyazakiís ďCastle in the SkyĒ. Some cut scenes use a neat combination of 3D rendered scenery and animated sprites to depict the characters in some really lively, cinematic-looking shots. At times itís a sight to behold and I canít think of any old Nintendo DS games Iíve played with art direction as ambitious as this.

The part I was most disappointed with was the main story. It had a lot of issues I couldnít swallow. Although the quests are cute and amusing, the main story has a lot of anime-fantasy clichťs, a tone that goes all over the place, and some odd moments where the characters decisions didnít make any sense to me. I wish I could explain this in more detail but I canít without giving any blatant spoilers, so I guess Iíll just suffice by saying the story was clumsy and disappointing.

If this game sounds neat to you I think youíll like it. If it seems lame I canít insist playing it will change your mind. Personally I feel a little mixed up about it. It's got some awesome parts, then some really lame parts, and I can't make up my mind which one left the more lasting impression. Although I don't think Sola To Robo lives up to all its potential, I'm not liable to forget it anytime soon.
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