During our appointment with NISA (Nippon-Ichi Software America) today at E3, we had the pleasure to try out a multitude of titles that the company will be publishing in the coming months. Of these titles—which included both the much-anticipated Disgaea 5, and the Danganronpa sequel Danganronpa: Another Episode, both of which will be receiving previews soon (stay tuned!)—Rodea: The Sky Soldier stood out. Not only was it the only title for a Nintendo platform that was demoed, but it's also the brainchild from the same man that brought us Sonic the Hedgehog and Nights: Into Dreams. After my time with the title, I can definitely say that it shows.
Rodea is an interesting 3D platformer; instead of focusing on jumps, the name of the game is to shift your internal gravity and to fling your self across the game's levels, gathering points and acting as acrobatic as possible. Our hands-on guide described the title as a mix between Nights and Sonic Adventure 2, and the similarities are certainly abundant. Rodea's aerial movements can certainly be reminiscent of Nights', and the line of emblems that you can dash through reminded me of the ring dash from Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2. The beginning levels that we tried acted like a tutorial of sorts, helping ease the player into the controls and the various systems in play. Combat, while rudimentary, depended on two different "Gears," either the default flying gear, or a more combat oriented "blaster" gear that focuses on clearing the skies so that you can soar in safety.
Asking about the game's length, a representative told us that players speeding through the game can expect 10 to 15 hours of gameplay, with plenty more content for players looking to 100% the game. During our demo, we encountered at least a few examples of levels that require a replay to 100%, and we were told that earlier levels may contain areas that can only be explored once Rodea has been upgraded.
One issue that we noted while playing the game is that the framerate appeared to be relatively unsteady. Whether this only affects the pre-release Wii U build (we were told that the Japanese developers where having trouble implementing NISA's edits into the game) or if this will affect the finished product, we can't say. Regardless, these drops tended to last a second at most and didn't significantly affect our enjoyment of the game.
Rodea: The Sky Soldier releases this October for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. Certain editions of the Wii U version of the game will come with the Beta Wii version of the game. Stay tuned in the coming days, as we'll be uploading some gameplay footage for Rodea from yesterday's appointment.