Solatorobo: Red The Hunter
Solatorobo: Red the Hunter for the DS is apparently the successor of a Playstation game from the 90s, Tail Concerto. I had never heard of that game, let alone had the chance to play it. What I do know is that this Solatorobo is a fun combination of different genres and knows how to charm with how pleasantly and friendly the game takes you along on its handheld adventure.
You take on the role of a furry Solatorobo, a dog and some sort of bounty hunter, and together with your sister Chocolat you head off to complete all kinds of missions. Quickly your assignments evolve from everyday to world-saving and you encounter all kinds of strange happenings. What appeals is the special style, but also how the devs manage to combine real-time fights with RPG elements and a story that takes you to all kinds of different places.
The travelling is of course done with your ship in which you store all your stuff and once on mission you use your mech, Dahak. The main task of this mech isn’t to kick ass with machine guns or rocket launchers. No, you’ll constantly have to jump, lift and throw stuff to complete small puzzle levels. The same needs to be done with enemies who pop up here and there and you can also build out and upgrade your mech so it becomes more powerful or faster. Simple and addictive, this button bashing, but just a tad too repetitive. Luckily there’s more to do and you’ll always be able to do something new after a few minutes.
Quite a lot of variation comes in the form of side-quests like the collecting of stuff, short race sections and the less logical fishing or cleaning of a sewer system. As said this all remains quite free-roaming gameplay so you have to count on the setting and characters to keep you going. And that works pretty well: most encounters will be interesting, the stories are fun to follow and here and there you’ll be happily surprised or get a smile on your face due to funny situations. On top of that, everything is done in your own pace and all sequences are short enough to be ideal for something to play on a train or in the car.
Also funny are the graphics, and in a very positive sense. Everything looks colorful and despite the 2D surroundings – of thanks to – you’ll gladly noticed all the small details and handmade style the makers have put in the surroundings, characters, animations and movies. It’s like a comic book that comes to life at certain moments. With the same love and care also the soundtrack was made so that the game both qua gameplay and presentation is crafted very nicely and feels like a real world.
Solatorobo works thanks to its comfy and swift gameplay that combines action with RPG, the variation, the funny setting and accompanying characters. The cute graphics compensate the at times too easy difficulty, but who are we to nag about that. Simple but a lot of fun, a bit like a big bowl of chocolat mousse!