Review: Rodea the Sky Soldier

This review was originally written for Machinima Sboc, which can be found here.

Rodea the Sky Soldier (Tenkuu no Kishi Rodea) is an action-adventure video game developed by NIS for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS internationally. It uses beautiful anime cut scenes to set the scene for the kingdom of Garuda. Development of the game finished in 2011 but had a worldwide release in November 2015.
Our protagonist is Rodea, a hybrid of human and robot who possesses the ability to fly and a “heart”. These traits earn Rodea the rights of being the Princess Cecilia’s body guard and pilot. At the start of the game Rodea fights against an invasion carried out by the mechanical army of the Naga Empire and its leader, Emperor Geardo. This is done as a compulsory tutorial. As much as I hate doing tutorials it was well needed to figure out the mechanics of flying and attacking., which is not easy. Upon clearing the tasks on screen you progress the story; seeing an airship piloted by Garuda’s ruler, Princess Cecilia has been targeted and shot down.

Rodea Flying
Cecilia is carrying the Key of Time which the enemy is after, she breaks it into two and insists Rodea escape with one piece. With the incomplete key Geardo is unable to conquer Garuda. Although Rodea refuses to leave, Cecilia forcefully teleports him away from the battle at hand with the Naga Empire. Rodea immediately finds himself teleported to an unknown desert and, in frustration smashes his right fist, shattering his right arm and rendering his programming unstable.
1000 years later, a teenager comes across Rodea and repairs his right arm and reactivates him. Rodea awakens as an emotionless robot with no memories of the events that transpired before him shutting down. However, after some cheesy flashbacks to Cecilia he becomes more himself; convenient since Ion resembles the Princess.

Princess Cecilia
This game carried on the tutorial much further than it needed to, rather than exploring I was stuck in a constant loop of tutorial holding me back from playing the main game. I grew tired of the game quicker due to this constriction.
The gameplay itself was very clunky and did not flow as smoothly as I had hoped. The game mechanics had been based on my favourite Sega Saturn title ‘Nights in Dreams’ which was then recreated on Wii. Figuring out the movement and then combining the attacks was a advanced feat, using the circle pad to for the first time in a 3DS game proved that long nails are not practical.

Rodea art
I was disappointed that the game lacked in movement and even imagination for the graphics. This was also not up to Super Mario Galaxy even though that game gave me motion sickness, it was still far more enjoyable to play and visually pleasing. The anime cut scenes were beautiful but did not match up to the not so attractive 3D graphics.
Another frustrating feature was the semi moving camera angle, sometimes being able to move using the L and R triggers, most of the time fixed in awkward angles proving useless in a very fast paced moving game. The levels can last up to 30 minutes, maybe more when trying to manoeuvre the tricky controls and you cannot save mid battle. This was another con for me, when I am on the go I need to be able to save and close up my 3DS, not being able to save during the early tutorial was a pain let alone being stuck in a tough boss battle but just wanting to street pass to give myself a break away from the game.

Ion

Verdict
This is not the game for the easily bored. It’s a game that requires patience, advanced skill in otherwise retro games that do not exist any more due to complexity and lack of fluidity in game-play. Better for the WII rather than 3DS as you can’t make the most of the controls or view on the little screen.

2/5

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