Wii Review: Opoona

KOEI takes a turn into space and cartoony visuals, will it pay off?

Opoona is the story of a boy who is a descendant of brave warriors, known as Cosmo Guards. These Cosmo Guards strive to maintain universal peace.

During a trip to the planet Landroll, Opoona becomes separated from his family. His brother and sister are missing, while his parents are hospitalized with serious injuries. In order to search for his siblings, Opoona must get a job and a “license” to travel between colonies. Thus, Opoona’s adventure begins as he struggles to establish a life for himself on this new planet.

Opoona is a “lifestyle RPG”. The player must adapt to a new environment, meet new people, get a job, all while becoming aware.

Opoona Features:

  • The “Active Bonbon Battle” is an action game-style battle system. The player pitches “Energy Bonbons” at enemies by snapping the Nunchuk. The player can manipulate the Bonbon’s trajectory – straight or curved. Once the target is fixed, the Bonbon will attack the target without fail. It is easy for beginners, and more skilled gamers can try multiattacks by manipulating the bonbon orbits in a strategic way. All other commands are also controlled by Nunchuk, to allow “one-thumb control” of the game.
  • On the planet Landroll, anyone who wants a job must have a license. There are many kinds of licenses such as “rescuer”, ”Idol” and ”detective,” so it is up to the player to decide what kind of job to pursue. By completing one’s duty, the player can grow, deepen relationships, and unlock new areas. As such, Opoona is not only about battling, but about developing relationships with new people and contributing to society through work.
  • Opoona can expand and deepen his relationships with residents through conversations and work. The Tomodachi level changes as Opoona’s relationships evolve. When the Tomodachi level increases, Opoona will become involved with a broader range of activities including new jobs and hints to new adventures.
  • Shopping and Collecting – Opoona can enjoy shopping and collecting. A wide range of items can be obtained – from small toys to famous art pieces.
  • From modern, stylish structures in the residential areas to the outside domes where nature awaits – the player will see jungles, wilderness with strange rock formations, and ancient ruins. The world of Opoona is a “fusion of modern design and fantasy”.

    KOEI is most known for their Dynasty/Samurai Warriors games, so this space RPG is a big step in unknown territory for the developer. The game doesn’t break any new ground but it’s one of the very few RPG’s on the Wii that could be considered one to pick up.

    Opoona gets a license for being a ranger and protecting the town, you get other jobs as you go like working in hotels and such. Some jobs can be quite fun while others can be downright boring, but a lot of these side jobs are essential to get the items you need to continue with the game. The story starts to get interesting in at about 20 hours, so there’s a lot of dedication needed before you start to reap your rewards. After 20 hours or so, you’ll get to control one of Opoona’s siblings, which opens up the game more instead of just doing mundane jobs, waiting for license gratification.

    The elevator system in Opoona is the worst ever designed, only one person can fit in each journey and you need to get off and go into the opposite elevator to go to the next floor, it’s just insane and pointless. The license system can be quite flawed because you have to go back to the desk each time to take on a new job, it can be annoying and it wastes a lot of time.

    The game is handled primarily with the nunchuk, there are no such real Wii controls here. Instead you just use the analog stick on the nunchuk in battles and to move around during exploring, Opoona has the classic random battles that you would expect in a traditional Japanese RPG and while the combat is different, it does work better than simply selecting a command and waiting for it to happen.

    Opoona won’t be to everyone’s tastes, its visual style alone is enough to put off many RPG fans. But there is a ton to do, you can’t complain that the game doesn’t have a long lifespan, but it lacks replayability as do most RPGs. Speaking of the visuals, they look like older hardware could have pulled it off but its art direction is impressive nonetheless. It would have been good if there was effort put into the game’s audio, there’s no voice acting and very little noises…I remember one particular cutscene where something rumbles and it makes absolutely no noise. On the other hand, the score itself is catchy at times and fits the overall feel of the game well.

    The Verdict

    Opoona is an interesting game, but Europe has had to wait an extra 6 months for it to arrive on our shores…why? That aside, it doesn’t break any new territory for Japanese RPGs but those looking for a new one on their Wii’s should consider giving this a look.