Horrors! I decided to buy a game to play! And as expected, I have zero self control, and have already completed the game *twice*. What can I say, I can get quite driven ;-)
Anyways, it was a stroke of luck I came across the music for this game, and thought I'd check out the actual game. This isn't a review, more of what I liked and disliked about the game.
First, the difficulty. On the first run through the game, it was *extremely* easy. I didn't die a single time throughout the game - and it's actually quite difficult to die since you take so little damage, and save points (exactly before a boss!) fully restore health. In addition, there are heal items to be found along the game, and they usually bring you up to nearly full health. (hmm... I actually haven't actually seen a game over screen yet... I have to just.... purposely die or something).
The most difficult part of the game is probably the flight portions of the game, where your robot docks with an airframe and goes racing. The controls are actually pretty good, it's just that it's totally different from the usual controls so it does take a little getting used to. The first few flights I was getting last all the time >.>
I think the ease of play is actually good for me, for one I'm not into grinding; more interested to see where the story leads. I finished the main game in about 17hrs, which seems to be the norm. The 2nd play through does increase the difficulty a fair bit; enough so that I have to be careful where I tread else my health gets low; the first run through was like.... hit me! I can't die!
I think it was very well done, and the flow of the events worked quite well. Upon completing the game I was pulling out the various elements that made up Solatorobo: the main character was the results of an experiment and had his memory wiped (familiar?), parts of the story involved traveling inside giant robots to destroy their core (familiar?), some of the bad guys were actually good (familiar?).
The area where the final boss resides is quite loltastic as well, a giant spherical thing (familiar?) and you need to go through a passage (trench? :P) to get to the final boss. What can I say, it's the usual bad guys want to destroy the world, and the lone savior and his comrades come save the day.
This is where the game shines, IMHO. If you are a fan of Miyazaki/Ghibli style designs, this will be right up your alley. Even though it's a DS game and the resolution is a far cry from what modern desktop games are capable of, it's still very evident the amount of love and detail put into the design. Every single location has depth, and some towns feature really nice camera work as you walk through it. Each town has a motif, played up to the max. Good stuff designers!
The designs of the mechs and robots are quite delightful as well. One of the bosses is a mechanical fish, reminds me of the painful times playing Darius. Some of the robots are very Zoid-like, and as a big fan of zoids, that's a big thumbs up. At the very end of the game, the main character's robot fuses with two of his siblings' robots (WOO!) to form a bad ass dragon robot.
As with any RPG, we have to do *things* to complete the story. Some of it is the usual boring go here, get this for me. Thankfully, the developers have tried their best to avoid this, and while we still need to go on quests to push the game forward, alot of it is quite uniquely designed and fits into the story quite well. Even for certain similar quests, a new element was put in so that there would be _some_ change.
Give that I'm only on my 2nd play-through, from what I've read the 3rd play-through will be tougher, but it is compensated by having a really kick ass mech upgrade down the road. Apart from the difficulty, the difference between the first and 2nd playthrough is more items to purchase. Already the stats of my robot's attack are maxed out, it's quite amusing to see how much damage a thrown wood carton can inflict on an enemy mech :P
What I'm trying to say is, apart from some cool new toys to pick up, the story appears to be the same.
Ok 'nough gaming. I got to go back to regular life.