We've always felt sorry for the Nunchuk. The Wii Remote is a bit of a flashy git, what with its fancy pointy shenanigans and extra buttons, and sometimes it's such a show-off that it proudly proclaims it doesn't even need poor old Chuck's help at all to play a game. Well, finally the little man has his revenge: Opoona is controlled entirely using the Nunchuk controller.
You control Opoona with the Nunchuk's analogue stick, while interactions are made with the C button and the OMP (his electronic organiser) is called up by pressing the Z button. And that's about all there is to the basic controls. It's simple, it's straightforward, and it lets you simply relax and enjoy the game.
That's not to say it's simple, however. The OMP - the main meat of Opoona's interface - is pretty in-depth and offers 15 different menu screens. These range from simple Stats and Level information that you'd expect from any RPG adventure, to maps, a list of 'friends' who you meet throughout the game, an online banking system which lets you store your funds and a list of the different licences you have in your possession and tasks you have to complete.
This last element is the most important of the bunch because it pretty much forms the main basis of the gameplay. Basically, the story goes that Opoona and his family have crash-landed on an alien planet and been split up. Naturally, it's up to him to reunite everyone. In order to progress through the game, he has to perform various tasks to earn job licences, which then give him access to restricted areas. At times you need to earn a couple of licences at once as some licences can't be earned without others.
For example, one part of the game sees you trying to earn a patrol licence by going to a mountain and protecting miners from monsters. When you get there you find an area that you can't access without a mining engineer's licence. You're told that licence doesn't exist any more but that a guy staying at a hotel knows how to get one. You can't simply access the hotel though, so you have to do some work at a local fast food restaurant to get an attendant licence. You then use that to get a room service job at the hotel, where you can then talk to the mining licence guy, who won't give you the licence until you collect something for him, and so on and so forth.
This can get a bit confusing at times, especially if you save the game during this process and come back to it later. It also doesn't help that the locations in the game's numerous hubs are needlessly confusing, with areas and elevators all over the place that only give access to certain areas, not to mention samey backgrounds which make it hard to distinguish one area from another.
Shake Your Bonbon
One aspect of the game we do like however is the battle system. Opoona has an 'energy bonbon', a ball that floats above his head. He can charge this ball up and fire it at opponents to do damage. You do this by holding a direction on the analogue stick then letting go. This may not sound like such a big deal, but the fact that the direction you hold dictates the flight path of the ball means there's a pretty deep tactical element in there too which requires skill and fast reaction times. If three enemies are standing in a certain formation, one good curved throw should be able to do damage to all three at once. If there's a tough enemy at the back and a weak one at the front, you can throw the ball with a high arc so it goes over the weak enemy and smacks the tough one in the chops. It's a very original combat method and it's satisfying.
Opoona has lots of great ideas, the most obvious of these being the single-hand control method and the battle system. However, it's
let down by confusing tasks and tedious wandering. What a shame.