The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
This is the best game about anthropomorphic sky pirate dogs that ride
robots I’ve ever played. Joking aside, Solatorobo is a unique, lovingly
crafted game stuffed with interesting ideas. The mysterious world of
floating islands is beautiful, and the colorful tale feels like
something out of a Disney movie. I just wish the developer had more
faith in its players; the gameplay is simplistic and threatens dullness,
even as the guileless characters are too endearing to dislike.
predictable but heartfelt story requires a lot of text reading, so
patience for exposition is a must. The canine protagonist, Red, is a
carefree adventurer who travels the skies picking up odd jobs to keep
him and his lovable sister running free. A chance encounter with a
mystical artifact forces Red to grow up and accept a deeper destiny.
Riding his trusty robot, Red has to face danger for the sake of those he
cares about, and eventually save the world. I don’t want to ruin
anything, but there may be a character that you think is a boy who turns
out…well, I just can’t bear to ruin the surprise.
For all the
simple narrative devices at play, Solatorobo’s charming world combines
technology and magic into a whole that feels believable and vibrant.
Each island has a unique visual style, from a junkheap of floating
shipwrecks to a forest of giant mushrooms populated by carnivorous
plants. The fictional backdrop grows over the course of the game to
match the increasing gravity of the conflict.
I wish I could heap
such glowing praise on the gameplay. The action isn’t fundamentally bad
or broken; it’s just shallow. Solatorobo’s combat system is built around
picking stuff up and throwing it. That’s it. In most situations, the
arena-style battles focus on maneuvering behind the bad guys, or
catching and throwing back missiles they send your way. Occasional
puzzles pop up, but they stretch the meaning of the word. Is it really
puzzling to move a box to a glowing circle on the other side of the
Numerous minigames and side activities are equally
straightforward, from a button-mashing fishing game to mine cart
obstacle courses. Even though these extra activities aren’t amazing, the
sheer variety of minigames, collectibles, and locations saves the game
One of these activities, flight racing, extends
itself into a four-player multiplayer mode. Several courses and ships
unlock for use in this mode, but the flight controls are choppy and
stiff, so it’s difficult to recommend spending time racing your friends.
can’t marshal too much frustration at Solatotobo, even if I’m bothered
by its overly simplistic mechanics. It’s a fun introductory action/RPG,
but experienced players should consider a more sophisticated title. That
is, unless you love your game heroes to be covered in fur.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.