Those who fell in love with the mecha action, anthropomorphic characters, and anime-inspired art of the PS1 classic Tail Concerto will be delighted to know that XSeed Games, in a partnership with Namco Bandai, is bringing Solatorobo: Red The Hunter stateside for the Nintendo DS. Developed by acclaimed Japanese game studio CyberConnect2, Solatorobo is considered the spiritual sequel to Tail Concerto and the third installment of the Little Tail Bronx series.
In the game, players follow the story of Red Savarin, a 17-year-old anthropomorphic dog, who ventures through the floating islands of Shepherd Republic with his personalized robo-companion, Dahak, and younger sister, Chocolate Gelato. When Red is sent on a mission to retrieve a stolen file, the three find themselves entangled in a mystery and adventure that begins with a young boy named Elh and a mystical medallion. As Red investigates the mystery, he'll take on evil robots, sky pirates, and monsters in order to protect Elh and save the world from an awakening evil.
The music is done by none other than Yasunori Mitsuda, whose previous work includes Chrono Cross, Xenogears and Shadow Hearts. Full orchestral scores set the mood for sinister battles and struggles, while cheerful melodies augment lighthearted dialogue. Though I was in a loud and crowded lounge when I played the game, I could make out the sounds of powerful plane propellers over bars of an epic adventure opening piece. On top of a killer soundtrack, the game is filled with beautifully animated cut scenes (done by studio Madhouse) and features a mix of 3D polygons and hand-drawn 2D backgrounds.
What I enjoyed most about the battle system was the ability to fight off enemies by picking them up and throwing them. This is enabled by Dahak, Red's robot. Missiles can be caught and thrown back at enemies, and all sorts of other objects can be picked up and tossed as explosive projectiles. There is a real sense of being cool and powerful when having giant robot arms attached to your character.
There will be over seventy quests for players to complete in order to acquire resources and equipment needed to upgrade their robot. During the game, special aircraft will become available and can be used to compete in aerial race challenges, or to compete against friends using local connection for a four-person race.
Solatorobo: Red the Hunter is currently still in production, but look to skies this fall for its release in North America. Xseed Games states it'll be releasing more information in the coming months.