North American box art
Opoona (オプーナ Opūna?) is a role-playing video game developed by ArtePiazza and published by Koei for the Wii. The player follows the story of the titular Opoona as he attempts to find the location of his family from which he was separated after the occurrence of a mysterious accident during their travels. Former Dragon Quest art designer Shintaro Majima was the lead artist, with Sachiko Sugimura, who has also worked on Dragon Quest, as the planning director. Hitoshi Sakimoto, best known for composing Final Fantasy XII, produced the soundtrack, which was composed by him and his Basiscape musicians.
Throughout the game, Opoona will acquire a variety of licences for different jobs. Whilst some are mandatory for story progression, most are optional and add to the customization of the players game. The game can be played one-handed using just the Wii's Nunchuk attachment, but the Classic Controller can also be used. In battles, flicking the Nunchuk's analog stick will fire a projectile, the trajectory of which can be changed and adjusted according to the situation. The style of play is referred to in-game as the Active Bon-Bon Battle System and all actions occur in real time.
Before the events of Opoona, the star Landroll was impacted by a large meteorite composed of crystallized dark energy. Half of the star, once lush and verdant, died from the impact, becoming known as the Deadlands. Life for the survivors changed drastically; the impact caused a shift in gravity, causing the sun to maintain a fixed location in the sky. Species died and vegetation withered in the heat; mysterious creatures, known as Rogues, emerged from the meteorite and began to attack people. Humans built many forms of shelter to defend themselves, from underground bases to huge shelters, before finally finding success with Shinex, a special glass, and being able to build a sturdy glass roof over Landroll's citys. Sanctuary, the island floating above the northern pole, was unaffected and all areas outside the domes on the habitable side of the planet are referred to as the wildlands.
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Several hundred years after the meteorite impact, Opoona and his siblings, Copoona and Poleena, are on a family vacation from the star Tizia with their parents, Momeena, Dadeena and co-pilots Troc and Noix, travelling in a spaceship to Landroll. Dadeena is a highly experienced Cosmo Guard, so Copoona believes that the vacation is for training. Momeena tells Opoona that her brother, Roidman, lives on the planet doing research on how to reduce the Rogue population. Shortly after, the spaceship is attacked by mysterious dark energy, and the three children are placed into separate escape pods before the spaceship crashes on Landroll.
Three days after the crash landing, Opoona awakens from a deep sleep in Tokione Dome and is informed of the incident, and told that his parents are being treated by Sages in Sanctuary. He is then introduced to Aizal, the Head Sage, who states that it will take some time for them to recover due to a shortage of Matia. Opoona is told that he must attend school at Starhouse and is trained as a Landroll Ranger with help from Chaika, a young Ranger girl and Commander Goldy, a high-ranking Landroll Ranger; at Starhouse, Opoona is reunited with his brother, Copoona, who has no idea where his sister's escape pod could be. Days after the spaceship incident, Poleena's escape pod is discovered in the wildlands. An elderly woman, Creola, recommends to Goldy that it would be best to care for Poleena herself, and to not inform Aizel.
Once enrolled in Starhouse, Opoona meets a young boy called Ted, who is apparently also training to become a Landroll Ranger. The two boys eventually become friends and Ted gives Opoona a hoverboard before he leaves Tokione with his parents for Intelligent Sea Dome. Opoona is then asked to investigate matters at the Wind Ravine as part of his training, as Rogue activity is interfering with Tokione. Opoona finds that the source of the activity is his own escape pod, which still emanates some dark energy from the spaceship, and subsequently graduates from Starhouse as a Level One Ranger, receiving assignments in Lifeborn, Artiela and the Intelligent Sea, where he is temporarily employed by the Bravo company to remove bugs from programming. He is also then employed at the Shine Company, also based in Intelligent Sea, to remove bugs from programming and to also help patients in the hospital ward.
One of the patients identifies himself as Chaika's father, Frank, and states that he had a vision of Roidman, but dismisses his claim as a result of work-related stress. Opoona later encounters Chaika, who also being an experienced engineer, checks Opoona's database file from the spaceship. She reveals that the attack was sent by Shagla, Aizel's younger twin brother who was overwhelmed by the dark force upon their Master Sage training and mysteriously disappeared. Chaika believes something is amiss, since a fleet large enough to be capable of destroying a spaceship has not been commissioned for several years.
Opoona also re-encounters Ted's family in the ward, who state that Ted was hospitalised with Carbon Heart upon arriving at Intelligent Sea. Opoona is now allowed retirement at a residential dome called Paradiso, and must attend an official ceremony at Sanctuary involving Aizal. The party arrive at Sanctuary and meet Aizal in the Cathedral, who bestows the Holy Force upon the Opoona and Copoona, before unleashing an extremely powerful spell at the both of them, stripping them of both their powers and memories.
Poleena remains unconscious until sometime after the Sanctuary incident; Creola asks Poleena to bring her two older siblings to her. She is given a record of all of Opoona's assignment accomplishments and travels through the Holy Lands, which up until the Sanctuary Incident was one of the few wildlands on Landroll free from Rogue infestation. Upon arriving at Paradiso, Poleena encounters Copoona, who is reluctant to leave, believing there is nothing more for them to do; Poleena then takes Opoona and Copoona back to Creola's hut, where they recover their powers and emories.
Creola asks the both of them to recover her son Shagla from the Earth Prison, who has been falsely imprisoned for years. Creola also proves that the attack on the spaceship was not ordered by Shagla, but rather by Aizel's commandant Babushca. After rescuing Shagla from the prison, Creola reveals a passageway in her hut to an underground base for the Partizians. They are reunited with Roidman and he explains that the only way to save Landroll is to defeat Babuscha, and that Opoona must recruit Partizans to aid him.
- Opoona - The protagonist from the planet Tizia. He has an orange Energy Bon-Bon above his head that he can use as a projectile. He starts off in Tokione dome, where he is enlisted to join the Landroll rangers.
- Poleena - Opoona's younger sister. She has two yellow Energy Bon-Bons above her head that resemble pigtails. Her escape pod crashes on the Orcalphin coast, where she is rescued by Aizel's mother
- Copoona - Opoona's younger brother. His Energy Bon-Bon takes the place of his legs and is purple. He becomes a sage, who is accompanied in the beginning by Sage Sarit, one of Landroll's most respected elders.
There are six cities in Opoona;
- Tokione - The largest city on Landroll, and presumably the capital. Tokione is an airport city and described in-game as "the center of human society" and is the place where all Landrollian children are raised and trained. The areas surrounding Tokione are always lit in noon sunshine, due to its position on Landroll.
- Lifeborn - Lifeborn is the major producer of Lifeborn's food, clothing and electronics. Livestock are also raised here. Like Tokione, Lifeborn is consistently lit by the afternoon sun.
- Artiella - The cultural centre of Landroll, where the television network is broadcast from and the largest Art museum resides. It is also the significant producer of music and fashion, and also attracts those interested in the planet's history. Artiella, being located much further south than Tokoine and Lifeborn, is constantly bathed in the evening sun where a permanent sunset can be seen on the horizon.
- Intelligent Sea - The only Landrollian city built completely at sea. A very technologically advanced city, but mainly the residence of staff and their families of the two largest production company's, Bravo and Shine. The city also houses a hospital and acts as a link to Sanctuary.
- Sanctuary - an island that floats above the surface of Landroll and acts as a headquarters for the Sages. It also acts as a large hospital for those with serious illnesses or injuries and need specialist treatment.
- Paradiso - A peaceful and prosperous tropical resort for those that have completed all the assignments their profession requires them to complete in their lifetime. Because of this, very few have ever had the privilege to visit and Paradiso itself remains a mystery to many yet to retire.
Opoona was developed by ArtePiazza, a Japanese game company responsible for creating and porting games in the Dragon Quest series for Enix. Artepiazza was asked by publisher Koei "to create fun and unique visuals that convey the enjoyment of an RPG in a simple fashion" in place of using state-of-the-art CG and hardware technology available at the time of the game's production. Rather than utilize the traditional "single hero" or "chosen one" motif of RPGS, the staff members at Artepiazza emphasized the importance of relationships and family in Opoona. Planning director Sachiko Sugimura desired to "express that every single person means something and that the world grows and changes in accordance with the loving relationships among all people, instead of depicting the main character only as a special existence." Artepiazza wanted Opoona to appeal to family members of all ages instead of just children. The team designed the game so that it may be played with the Wii Remote Nunchuk attachment alone because of its limited control input that allows the player to casually play the game one-handed while relaxing or eating. The developers initially wanted to exclude any other control options, but decided to allow users to use the Remote or Classic Controller if they prefer.
Art director Shintaro Majima stated that he was first inspired to create Opoona after waking from a nap, taking a bath, and drawing his first design on the bathroom mirror. The main characters were meant to be simple enough that they could be easily redrawn by children; enemies were designed as non-living objects to make them distinct. Majima's personal interest in modern architecture and industrial design were the driving force behind the visual style of Opoona and that the Wii's "clean" and "something new" style overlapped the game's image. Majima's brother Tatuso, a modern artist, planned the locations and landscapes using what he considered to be the most attractive blend of reality and imagination. The musical score for Opoona was composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto and five fellow members of his Basiscape sound company. Sakimoto arranged the score in an orthodox manner with "futuristic" sounds as he had done with many of his past compositions by combining orchestral music with a synthesizer. However, his work on Opoona involved composing the songs through the characters' perspective to somehow lend the player their sympathy. The official soundtrack to Opoona was announced via Basiscape's Twitter account and was published over three years after the game's original Japanese launch.
ArtePiazza began working on Opoona in the spring and summer of 2005. The project had no publisher until Dragon Quest designer Yuji Horii sparked talks between ArtePiazza and Koei following the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2006. Majima came up with the game's title and the main protagonist's name. By using an Energy Bon-Bon projectile as the letter "o" the title, the spelled out "Opoona" was meant to resemble a child firing an Energy Bon-Bon rapidly. The three "o's" in the title was also meant to match Opoona's round shape. Opoona was announced as an untitled RPG in a September 2006 issue of the Japanese Famitsu magazine and was unveiled with its finalized title at a Koei press event the following March. Opoona was published in Japan on November 1, 2007 and in North America on March 25, 2008. The game was for release in Europe on July 25, 2008, but was delayed until September of that year.
Opoona suffered low sales upon its release in Japan. The game was released on the same day as Nintendo's Super Mario Galaxy, a title that Artepiazza and Koei did not foresee as competition being in a different genre. Opoona received a positive review from Japanese magazine Famitsu, which gave the game a score of 31/40. The publication credited the characterisation, length, music, and difficulty level. In the US, Opoona received mixed reviews, with a Metacritic score of 65/100. Eurogamer gave Opoona 6/10, praising the control system, pace and presentation, and said "it's charming, strange and often fun, but too shallow and stretched out".
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