Honestly, Rodea’s situation was pretty sad for its fans. It’s universally agreed that the Wii version of the game is the definitive one, but it was held back for around 5 years so that the Wii U one could get made. Furthermore, the only way to get the Wii version is to buy the Wii U game day 1. Pretty interesting eh? I like to draw myself away from the crowd though so I went ahead and played the Wii U version (But I have the Wii one as well for future reference) anyway. Besides, I don’t care how bad the controls are supposed to be. They’ve got to still be better than using the ole Wii Remote right?
It is the future and robots are the enemy of humankind. One day, a robot named Rodea is fixed by a girl named Iron. She isn’t afraid of robots and just wants to have a good time. Rodea has lost all of his memories and doesn’t know why but he has made a promise to protect Garuda. (Earth’s greatest civilization. Or Garuda is actually the name of the planet) Together, the two of them aim to save the planet and hopefully restore Rodea’s memories, but knowing the past could force the team to part ways so…do the memories really need to come back?
It’s definitely a fun game and I easily would have awarded it an 8..if not for the controls. Unfortunately, the reviews are right about the Wii U’s controls being quite bad. Naturally, I can’t vouch for the Wii ones, but I have heard that they are significantly better. Prepare to die a few times because you end up flying in a different direction from where you wanted to go. Jumping and flying often ends up being a lot riskier than you would have guessed. It’s also worth noting that the Wii U version changed a lot of things from the Wii one. The Wii U took out all of Rodea’s power gimmicks. Think of Sonic Colors or another video game where you would find items that give you temporary powers. There’s none of that in the Wii U version so it’s more of a straight platforming adventure as you try to reach the goal with your original abilities.
The most intriguing change is that the Wii U has a very dark color scheme. It’s more grayscale and takes itself very seriously compared to the Wii version which has a more anime type feel to it. The Wii version certainly looks far superior, but the graphics for the Wii U are still quite good. It’s relatively bad, but absolutely good so just don’t let yourself compare it to the Wii version or it’s cooked. I enjoyed the soundtrack as well. There aren’t a whole lot of themes, but most of the ones that are present are quite catchy. Upon beating the game, you even get a lyrical song that you can play during the levels instead of the background music. It gives the game a more cinematic experience although since it’s just one song, you don’t want to overuse it.
The game takes a lot of cues from the classic Sonic Adventure days. The final world looks a little like the climax of Sonic Adventure 2’s Hero story and Rodea’s whole character arc very closely mirrors Shadow’s from Adventure 2 Battle. Even the gameplay feels a lot like Sonic’s if you used your homing attack a lot back in the day. Naturally, flying is very important in this game and the aerial combat is fun. You’ve also got a gun which you can use and while I never used it at first, it came in handy towards the end. Don’t forget that you can also roll away from an attack, but typically jumping is your best bet. Your homing attack (Dash Attack) is your best form of attack against most villains and just remember that you can use it in rapid fire mode against bosses in order to end them quickly.
The bosses typically have fun attack patterns. The only one that wasn’t fun to fight was ironically the last boss. He’s a classic example of why bigger isn’t always better. It’s not so much a fight as it is just a long adventure of trying to get close to him. More parrallels to Sonic here as it’s very similar to Sonic DX’s Final Chaos, but with more jumping around before actually charging in. The best boss was probably in the second last level with the Geardo attack followed by his subordinate. It was pretty tough.
That being said, all of the bosses were a little limited in the sense that they would have 3-4 attacks and would always use them in the same sequence. The whole time I was expecting them to shift tactics upon crossing the halfway mark of their health bar, but it never happened. As a result, the battles would be more about waiting for the inevitable weak spot than actually doing anything. Still fun fights though and they never felt “cheap.”
The game’s story was pretty fun whenever the villains would show up. I didn’t really care for the supporting characters here. Ion’s grandfather was a boring character who would always yell each one of his lines because that was the only personality that he ever got. The other townsfolk were just there to slow Rodea down. Ion’s a good heroine. Her personality is essentially that she’s ultra happy the entire time and may be smarter than she lets on, but her fixes don’t always work. It would be great if she learned how to fight in the sequel, but I couldn’t ask for much more out of her.
Rodea’s a pretty hardcore main character. It’s too bad that we couldn’t see too much of him though since he’s still in shock for about half of the game. Once he decides to just roll with the current situation, he becomes a lot better. He’s similar to Shadow The Hedgehog at first and then Pit from Kid Icarus Uprising. He’s now a little cocky and overconfident, which are great traits for a main character. I doubt that he will be remembered all that much as the years go on, but I was satisfied with him.
The villains were a little less engaging. Most of them were Rodea’s friends, but as they never grew a heart, they were forced to simply obey their orders. They were like the enemies in Mega Man Powered Up and Maverick Hunter. Rodea destroyed them all, but they all missed the days when they were comrades. It was interesting how Rodea took no prisoners, but the ending was still happy for everyone since Rodea ended up going back in time and the future is essentially a utopia. The only one who didn’t turn good was Geardo and he was a pretty poor villain. I liked his design in the second to last level, but his giant monster form was pretty bad. He also went delusional and thought that Ion was his daughter, Cecilia. He may regret it now, but Geardo is the reason why Cecilia jumped off a cliff so the villain is way too late. He should have changed his plans sooner.
Speaking of which, the whole scene was a little odd. Rodea went back in time to save the princess, but made a very half hearted attempt to do so and basically watched as she plummetted down the mountain and died. Then he somehow found out that she survived the fall and nursed her back to health as she led a golden age. It was all rather unbelievable. She’s a good character and essentially the Maria of the Rodea universe, but it felt like the writers couldn’t actually think of a way to make her survive so they made the reason up. Also, jumping off of a cliff is essentially giving up and it would only delay Geardo’s plans so she may as well have just kept on rebelling for a while. Even if she was kidnapped, she would have been fine since Geardo was definitely not planning on destroying her.
One level was a total 3D flying stage, which was cool. It would have been more fitting as the final level or if it at least had a boss in it. It came out of nowhere and was a fun level although I wonder why the game didn’t take advantage of this more. Meanwhile, the game has a lot of replay value if you want to keep on playing through. You can try to get all S ranks and all of the medals to unlock various things like more level ups, music, and levels for an island where you can grab more materials. Beating the main game took almost 9 hours so gathering everything else should take a considerable amount of time as well. The actual gameplay is pretty fun as well so this is definitely a game that’s worth the time and commitment.
Overall, Rodea is a very fun game and I agree with the opinion that this would have been known as one of the Wii’s final big sendoffs had it actually come out on time. The story and presentation make this feel like a big AAA game (Which it may be, I actually don’t know what it’s categorized as) and it’s a blast. Unfortunately, the controls are quite annoying. You’ll learn how to effectively make do with them by the end, but they’re a lot more trouble than they should be. At 25 levels, the game’s duration is quite good so you won’t feel cheated out of your purchase. You can easily think of this game as a spinoff of the Sonic Universe since it really plays out like one and it’s a game that you should add to your collection. Trust me, I’ve played a lot of cash grab games as of late so when I play a game that’s really polished like this one, you can feel the difference. Just remember to grab as many materials as possible so you can upgrade your gun, it always comes in handy.