Monday, May 24, 2010

RECOM: Opoona by Rocket

by Rocket (Contributing Author) | Edited by Mop_it_up (Site Editor)

This RPG has many big pluses that you notice about it straight away. The graphics are done in a style that is very colourful, and everything is drawn with bold, well-defined lines. The onscreen text in the dialogue boxes is nice and big, which makes it very easy and pleasant to read. Your characters move very swiftly across the screen when you move them, which means getting from point A to B never becomes a chore. Load times when going from scene to scene are almost non-existent, which is a thing everybody loves!

This game has random encounters and turn-based battles like many other RPGs, but its own unique take on this is its active bonbon battle system. Your weapon is a sphere called a bonbon, and you just use the analogue stick to attack. Flicking it will throw your bonbon at an enemy, and holding it will build up a stronger attack. The longer you hold, the longer it takes until you can take another turn. Also, holding it in any direction will let out a curved shot, which can help a lot when an enemy is hiding behind a bomb. You can even hit an enemy in mid-attack, cancelling it out so the enemy's attack fails for that turn. It's a refreshing and simple system, although it has a nice bit of depth to it too. You don't even use a menu during battles, except for using items and casting spells.

I like the fact that this game has social related stats you must build in order to advance the plot in key moments. Among these are "Love," "Integrity," "Fame," and "Arts." You can raise these stats by making friends with NPCs and doing part time jobs for them. If you think about it, it's just another form of "leveling up," but instead of battling you're taking part in social scenarios which involve a lot of charm and quirkiness on a scale not too dissimilar to Earthbound. It helped maintain my interest in the game and deepened my enjoyment of it.

I advise anyone who plays this game to draw maps of the towns while exploring them. They're these futuristic domes that are gigantic and labyrinthine, and can be overwhelming if you're not prepared! Then again, I suppose it does successfully make you feel like you're taking on the role of an alien kid who crashed on a strange planet and got separated from his family.

Another thing I love about this game is its nice short title. Many games nowadays have long titles with colons and subtitles, so to have one that's just one short easily identifiable word is refreshing. However, the game itself isn't short at all! It took me about seventy hours to complete it, though I'm sure most people will beat it in forty or so. I just got wrapped up in completing the social tasks.

There are some big names behind Opoona's development too! Artepiazza, the developer, has worked on the famous Dragon Quest series. The design ideals of the DQ series appear to have strongly influenced this game. The company is also known for CG illustration and art, so that would explain all the art exhibits you find throughout the adventure. This was clearly a game they really wanted to make, and it's great they had the freedom to express themselves like this. Also, famed composer Hitoshi Sakimoto, known for his work on many other game titles like Final Fantasy XII and Muramasa: The Demon Blade, composed Opoona's fully orchestrated soundtrack. Very pleasant and easy on the ears it is too.

Opoona is a great addition to the library of any Wii owner who’s a fan of RPGs and cute, quirky characters.


Benjamin Fennell said...

Opoona's up there with Fragile Dreams as one of my top two games of the gen, as a big RPG fan. Opoona really is like the lovechild of EarthBound, Dragon Quest, and Phantasy Star. I really didn't want it to end, and there's not a lot of games I can say that about.

Rocket said...

Always nice to meet another Opoona fan Benjamin :) Hope you liked the recom.

M. Ferreira said...

Opoona is easily my top RPG this gen. It just feels like the team had an intense love for the product and it shows through despite the few technical oddities that are present. The world is vast, breathing, and just so amazing to explore. It saddens me that the game got such a cold reception on release (actually, Mr. Fennell, who commented previously, told me about the game!).

Great article. Hopefully it'll inspire people to pick up this shining gem of a game.

Rocket said...

Artepiazza really did just want to fill the world they created with stuff they love. They've been making RPGs for other companies, following someone else's rules and now here's one they made with their own pesonalities put in. I love the tv shows in the game as well:)