Review: 'Solatorobo: Red the Hunter'
Xseed, September 2011 - $34.99
Solatorobo: Red the Hunter is a story-based role-playing game for the Nintendo DS, featuring character design that should more than appeal to furries. If anything, it's as furry as any Star Fox game, and the characters’ animal nature has more effect on the story than just punny names.
The game is some sort of prequel/sequel/something to a game called Tail Concerto. I missed that one, so this was my first introduction to the setting.
Setting and Story
In the world of the story, everyone is either a cat or a dog. There doesn’t seem to be much racial conflict between the two groups, which I’m counting as a plus for the setting. The character designs are just too darn cute for metaphors about race.
The world these animals live in is a collection of floating islands hovering above a deadly sea of clouds. They use steampunk airplanes to get around, and robots for everything from heavy labor to fighting.
The setting appears magical at first, replete with talismans and other apparently magical apparatus, with steampunk accoutrements for flavor. As the story progresses, the world is shown to be based more in science fiction than fantasy. Not very hard science fiction, mind you, but still.
The story begins with the titular dog Red taking on a job as a hunter to retrieve a file from a hostile airship. He fails the mission (through no fault of his own) when a giant monster appears and cripples the ship. As the ship goes down, he rescues a medallion and an unconscious cat. Red, the monster, the cat and the medallion are all connected; the rest of the game involves Red discovering this — and saving the world, of course.
For most of the game, Red wanders around the floating islands of the world on his giant robot, the Dahak. He takes on quests as a hunter from various people, which, despite the importance of the overall storyline, are frequently of the “someone stole my apron!” level of triviality.
Combat consists mostly of grabbing enemies and throwing them. The mechanics of combat are simple and easy to understand, albeit illogical; I don’t know why the giant robot is incapable of throwing a simple punch at enemies.
The gameplay is occasionally broken up by an airplane racing mini-game, which I wasn’t a fan of, and shooting zones where Red mans a machine gun, which are awesome. A final showdown against two important recurring bad guys begins with a nearby character telling Red, by the way, there’s a machine gun installation right over there. A bit anti-climactic, but nevertheless satisfying.
Graphics and art
The graphics are stunning for the Nintendo DS … so not really that stunning. Most characters are 2D sprites; not a bad thing (the designs are spectacular), but as Red and his robot are rendered in 3D, their interactions look weird. Cut-scenes are also underwhelming.
The inhabitants of the world are furry with an anime-esque vibe. I think my favorite was the bespectacled blonde dog scientist, Merveille. She has a kind of Ultimate Emma Frost thing going on.
The backgrounds are full of wonderful detail, and the camera is often placed in interesting angles that manage not to make moving around a chore. An airship graveyard island is a stunner, though even the themeless starting island is pretty to look at.
I would recommend Solatorobo: Red the Hunter on the art alone, but I do add some reservations. The game came out a month ago, but it isn’t so difficult it took me a month to beat it. The problem is that neither the story nor the gameplay were good enough to keep my interest, and I often put it aside.
There was nothing wrong with either, but nor was there anything right. The gameplay was not gripping, while the story had few real moments.
I recommend the game as furry art that you can play; as a game by itself, it is weak.
About the authorcrossaffliction (Brendan Kachel) — read stories — contact (login required)
a reporter and Red Fox from Hooker, Oklahoma, interested in movies, horror, stand up comedy
Formerly Wichita's only furry comic.
I remember Tail Concerto. The music is awesome!
Never played Tail Concerto but I've seen numerous youtube videos of scenes from that game. I had no idea the two games were related, very interesting :)
I'll probably pick up the DS game, about the only game system I play these days ^.^;;;
I preordered the game and got the sound track as well, the sound track is very beautifully composed
At FurFright there was a panel about Kemono fandom in Japan, and this game was mentioned as being popular with that crowd. :)
I must admit, when you try hard, you can be awesome.
Try hard more often >:(
Being awesome is like being cool, though -- if you try *too* hard to be it, you end up not being it at all.
It's stories versus comments.
I've browsed the Flayrah archive; I've read stories over a decade old.
I have yet to read a comment over a month old.
It's knowing when to try hard that matters.
Unless you don't like my stories; I can't remember you ever really commenting negatively on my stories, and you aren't shy about expressing your disapproval of other people's stories.
Almost forgot: you explained nothing about the characters and the premise (other than "they sent you on an airship and you found an item").
Seriously, that was to avoid spoilers. The game pretty much begins you at zero; the amnesia cliche is present and accounted for, except the game is half over before it even reveals Red has amnesia (so it would be a spoiler to say so), never mind what he has forgotten.
I didn't even refer to the cat's gender (which resulted in some odd sentence construction) because even that would be a spoiler!
It's a trade-off; avoid spoilers, but come out sounding vague. The story isn't really the draw, though, as I tried to make clear, so it didn't really matter.
Also, looking forward to your next review of my next review.
Ugg to Japanese for me. I wish I could see more furry products like movies and gams xome from places other than Japan. I'm so glad India started using Anthro's in their films now. Good change of pace from the Japanese avalanche of stuff.
You mean like Roadside Romeo and Koochie Koochie Hota Hai?
Indian people are crazy.
The dramatic music for a movie with the words koochie koochie in the title tells me they either have no clue what they are doing, or they know exactly what they are doing.
I should have linked to Dronon's excellent review of "Roadside Romeo" in ANTHRO #26, Nov.-Dec. 2009. http://anthrozine.com/revw/rvw.dronon.1a.html He told it like it was.
Funny how you find El Lince Perdido "dull" and I do not.
Oh well, you know what they say about opinions...
I don't know what Fred's opinion of El Lince Perdido is, but yes, I found it dull for most of the middle - I kept falling asleep! Granted I'm probably not its target audience. :) Anyway, if we all had the same opinions, it would be a very dull fandom! Why not write up a review of it to express yours? I'm pretty sure there's been a North American DVD release.
Actually, I haven't seen "El Lince Perdido" yet; just the lengthy trailer on the movie"s official website (which has been taken down now, unfortunately) when it was being promoted for an Oscar back in late 2008. Nice music, nice character designs (except for the old man, Noah), but the plot/movie itself looked too boring to be worth the trouble of seeking out a DVD copy. When I later read Dronon's review in ANTHRO, I was glad that I saved the money.
Actually, much like Mr. Bean's Holiday (the name is probably incorrect), you might get bored while watching it, but sitting to the end rewards you. Or maybe I just like how they wrapped-up the plot. Or maybe I am the only person in the US who likes this. Or maybe I am somehow Spanish, since the movie received an award there. ¯\(o_°)/¯
As the awards guy, I can tell you just because something won an award, that doesn't make it good; it just means it won an award. Spanish awards would be biased for Spanish films, after all.
Speaking of The Missing Lynx trailers, the trailer featured on the The True Story of Puss'N'Boots DVD heavily featured Gus. The chameleon who wanted to be an actor.
Well, he is not that big a part of teh plot.
Hmmm, I see that "El Lince Perdido" won Spain's national Goya Award in February 2009, for Best Animated Film of 2008. That's for animated feature films produced in Spain during 2008. What was the competition?
Donkey Xote, directed by Jose Pozo?
Espíritu del Bosque, directed by David Rubin?
RH+. El Vampiro de Sevilla, directed by Antonio Zurera
Never heard of any of 'em.
I see your point.
Still, I refuse to dislike it just because you do :)
i know more or less what the answer is going to be, but does little tail bronx have an anime?
yes, is there?
And El, one of the cats, is canonically a trans guy. So that makes one (ever) trans man in any form of childrens media, ever. Its rare so, yknow. Im going to clutch on to whatever I can get.
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