Imagine flying throughout the universe without a care in the world, zipping past planets and discovering galaxies that only seemed to exist in the most hallucinogenic of dreams. In Opoona's futuristic universe, interplanetary adventures are as safe and commonplace as any other family activity. As young Opoona launches into outer space with his family, things suddenly take a turn for the worse. The spaceship begins to sway, the stars suddenly change direction, and before things can be helped, the family-laden spaceship plummets to an unknown planet below.
After crash-landing on nearby Planet Landroll, Opoona's real adventure begins. Separated from everyone that he knows and loves, Opoona is forced to get a job and eke out a living whilst searching for his lost relatives. As expected, Landroll isn't all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows: it's home to hoards of monsters, nefarious Dark Rogues, and other evil objects looking to eliminate Opoona's every move. With all this coming between Opoona and his family, what will our pokey little Fisher Price plaything do?
Thus begins the tale of Opoona, the latest offering from Koei for the Wii, and one of the quirkiest RPGs to hit consoles in quite some time. Opoona is one of those games where words alone cannot truly do it justice. The game seems innocent enough with it's adorable characters and cute storyline, but strikes out on it's own with an engrossing story and some of the most sprawling galactic cityscapes and countrysides that can be found on the Wii.
Throughout Opoona's eponymous adventure, your mission is to make a life for yourself and reunite with your misplaced family members. While this would be a daunting task for most on Landroll, Opoona comes from a long line of Cosmo Guards who have protected the universe for many generations. The Cosmo Guards use their bouncy little "Energy Bonbons" that always hover over their heads to attack, giving a surprising level of functionality to one of the most random accessories ever bequeathed upon a videogame character.
If Opoona somehow managed to avoid catching your eye with its quirky art style and abundance of bouncing balls, it'll be hard to skip over its unique control scheme. All of Opoona, from the battle screens to the in-game menus, is controlled by the Wii Nunchuk; not the Wii's innnovative remote. Instead of pulling back the Wii remote to charge your voluptuous Energy Bonbon, you push back the Nunchuk's control stick to charge, and push forward to attack. It's one of the most unique things about the game that will hopefully become clearer when played. As for now, we can only hope that Koei's "less is more" mantra holds true when we get our hands on Opoona and test out its unique control scheme.
Opoona's presentation on a whole looks fantastic, but there are some special areas that really shine. Fans of Final Fantasy XII's epic score should take note of Opoona, as the little intergalactic hero's journey features music from none other than Hitoshi Sakimoto. Pair that with some of the best cell-shading to come from Level 5 since Dragon Quest VIII, and Opoona looks and sounds to be a perfect addition to many RPGamer's collections.
Even though Opoona didn't do so hot sales-wise in Japan, Koei has taken painstaking measures to ensure that Opoona makes a much bigger splash onto western shores through its extensive localization and quirky ad campaign. With many Wii owners being casual gamers, Koei has made sure that the game's simple style and controls will appeal to RPG newcomers, while also giving it enough challenge to keep the smaller "hardcore" gaming crowd playing until the end. With the relatively small pool of RPGs for the Wii growing by the month, Opoona looks to give RPGamers young and old a reason to set aside $50 for March 25th.