So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
A 'lifestyle' RPG
- Inviting world with original level designs, fluid controls
- Battle mechanics are repetitive, missions get tedious, world map needs work
Though Opoona is original and exciting, there are too many problems for it to be anything more than an interesting diversion. If the game design had been tighter and featured more polish, it would have been a winner but as it stands, it'll probably be of interest only to die-hard RPG fans.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
It's hard not to be excited about Opoona. It's quirky visual style and pedigree — it's developed by the producers of the Dragon Quest series — were enough to get my hopes up. Unfortunately, while this 'lifestyle RPG' has its moments, it fails to live up to its potential.
Opoona is a small boy who crash lands on the planet of Landroll with his family. His parents are seriously wounded in the crash and while they recover, he must integrate with the society of Landroll. This is where the 'lifestyle' part of the RPG comes into play. Opoona can earn points and gain levels by doing things like making new friends and learning about art and other subjects. It's an interesting system but it comprises a small portion of the game and there just isn't enough depth to it. The majority of the game is typical turn-based RPG fare, with Opoona going out and getting into battles. This gets tiresome, especially considering the frequency at which conflicts occur. The battles are also depressingly easy: most enemies can be taken down with a standard attack, which is performed by pulling back on the Nunchuk's analog stick and flicking it forward. While Opoona can learn special moves, it's rarely necessary to use them.
The good news is that Opoona's control scheme is one of the best I've ever seen in a Wii game. You can play using just the Nunchuk and it's all intuitively done. Whether it's navigating menus, exploring the world or fighting battles, using the Nunchuk feels right. The game world is also well realised; Landroll features a fusion of fantasy and modern architecture and it is a joy to explore every nook and cranny. I just wish the developers did a better job with the map, which is vague and lacks labels or markers to help you're your way.
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