Monday 16 November 2015

Rodea: The Sky Soldier Review (Wii U)

It’s been a very long road for Rodea in making it to the West. It was originally set to come out on the Wii but delay after delay has meant it now finally reaches us a generation later. For the dedicated among you, you can buy a special edition of the game which comes with the motion controlled Wii version included. Sadly we couldn’t get hold of that so our review will be solely focusing on the Wii U version of the game.

The plot is confusing. As far as we can make out it’s about a robot with a heart that is tasked with protecting a princess of a flying realm which is invaded. Upon the princess’s capture she gives half of something called ‘the key of time’ to Rodea and this prevents the invasion somehow. (We’ve read the official plot blurb and still have no idea). Rodea is found 1000 years later by a young mechanic girl just as the invasion starts again and sets out to save the world.

The game is a 3D platformer at heart with stages set out where you have to reach a certain point and then normally defeat a boss of some kind. The twist is that Rodea’s favourite mode of traveling is by flying. By jumping in the air you can then set Rodea on a flight path at the touch of a button. The analogue sticks are used to move a reticule around which can then be used to change direction. While flying pressing the ‘B’ button unleashes a spin attack which can be used to smash through enemies. The spin attack can also be chained to allow the destruction of multiple enemies in sequence. It takes a while to get used to but does work. There are also a host of other gadgets like weapons and slide boots which are added as you progress and help keep things varied.

While the games cut scenes look suitably lovely the in-game world shows a few too many signs of its non-HD heritage. The graphics certainly show up the fact that the game was originally designed for the Wii and while effective they often look muddy and bland with levels lacking a discernible character. That said at least there aren’t any draw distance issues.

The game draws influence from both Sonic Adventure and Nights into Dreams but a more accurate comparison with regard to its overall flow and feel would be Gravity Rush. The flying mechanic is pretty much the same and the need to hit enemies glowing weak spots is also remarkably similar. Sadly, for much of the time we were playing it we were thinking about going away and playing Gravity Rush rather than progressing further in Rodea. That isn’t to say Rodea is a bad game it just lacks the same cutting edge and dizzying highs of the Vita’s offering.

There are a lot of positives in the game and despite the visuals the level design is strong. There are multiple routes through the courses and ample opportunities to rack up high scores as you race between smashing enemies and picking up the various floating collectibles. There is also an excellent feeling to flying around and, once you’ve upgraded a bit, you get a real sense of speed. 

Rodea is a funny game to place. It doesn’t really do anything wrong but the time for it to have come out and really blown us away has long since passed. We enjoyed our time with it and there isn’t much else like it around but it also didn’t leave a massive impression and there was an overall lack of spark and magic that stops the game reaching its true potential. There’s certainly enjoyment to be found here but the transition from being a Wii game is too rough around the edges. If it had been built again from scratch we could have seen this being something very special, as it is it’s just an enjoyable diversion for platform fans that does things a little bit different.

Overall 6/10

Colour Blind Issues - No
Review Code - Yes

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