This page discusses the differences between the different versions of the game, mainly between the Wii U/3DS version and the Wii version. From here onward, the Wii U and 3DS version will simply be referred to as the Wii U version, unless mentioned otherwise.
In 2011, Yuji Naka's indie studio, Prope, announced Rodea the Sky Soldier for Wii and 3DS, with Prope working on the Wii version, and the game's publisher, Kadokawa Games, porting the game to the 3DS with a different control scheme to work with buttons instead of the Wii Remote's cursor.
The Wii version of the game was finished in 2011, but Kadokawa wanted to hold off publishing it until the 3DS version was ready as well. Kadokawa took so long to finish their port, that by the time it was ready in around 2012, the Wii U had already been released, and it no longer made sense to publish the game only on a last gen console and an inferior handheld, so Kadokawa took even longer, porting their version from the 3DS to Wii U. By the time they were finished with that, the Wii was already obsolete, so not wanting to waste Mr. Naka and Prope's hard work, they bundled the Wii version of the game with the Wii U version's first print (but not with the 3DS version).
Gameplay differences Edit
Probably the largest difference between Rodea Wii and Rodea Wii U is its control scheme, and core mechanics.
In the Wii version, only the basic Wii remote is used, without need for a Wii Motion Plus, or even Nunchuck. Players point the cursor toward their desired target, and if the cursor is red, they can press B to send Rodea rocketing toward where they had pointed. Rodea can walk around using the Wii remote's D-pad.
In the Wii U version, players are required to use the control stick to move the cursor on screen (to select where to fly to), making gameplay much slower. The control stick is also used to walk. To compensate for the lack of control over Rodea's movements, he has a few extra moves, such as Fast Rise or Fast Fall, as well as a special attack called Shining Bullet.
While Rodea can fly indefinitely in the Wii version, the Wii U version introduces a flight meter, allowing for about 10 seconds of flight before needing to land or collect Gravitons to recharge. This difference is made up by increasing the range of objects Rodea can target, as in the Wii version he can only target objects that are relatively close, but in the Wii U version, his range is more than doubled, and he can fly towards nearly any solid object on screen. The slower reticle movement, along with Rodea's decreased flight speed and limited flight time make the game much more difficult than the Wii version.
The Wii version is globally more of an arcade game with a focus on action, while the Wii U version is more of an adventure game with a focus on exploration. Other mechanics differences include the following:
- In the Wii version, Rodea has 3 possible states; getting a Power Wing will change him to a more powerful state, while taking damage will revert him to a weaker state. In his weaker state, Rodea cannot attack and his flight ability is severely downgraded; getting hit while in that state results in losing a life. In the Wii U version, Rodea has a standard health (armor) bar instead of this system.
- The Wii U version introduces an upgrade system. Most enemies will drop a mech piece when destroyed, and these pieces can later be used to improve Rodea's flight speed, attack power, armor, or to give him new abilities, or to upgrade his Gears.
- In the Wii version, Gears are temporary power-ups that disappear upon obtaining a different one, taking too much damage, losing a life or completing the level. In the Wii U version, each Gear becomes permanently available when obtained and can be used at any time.
- In the Wii U version, all mid-bosses have a health bar, and how much damage Rodea deals to them depends on his power level. In the Wii version, all mid-bosses except Geardo always require 3 hits to be defeated.
Level design Edit
Most of the levels have the same design between versions, but there are some differences, either due to the different controls, to make the game easier, to add hidden battles, or for unknown reasons.
- In terms of level design, the Wii U version is globally easier than the Wii version:
- Some parts of the levels have been removed or rendered optional (for example, the base's island in Chapter 14 or the fortress in Chapter 21).
- There are sometimes less enemies.
- The time limits have been increased.
- There are more explanations about what to do, either with extra dialogue, extra cutscenes, or pop-up information boxes.
- Zolendark has less weak points.
- The battle against final boss has checkpoints, while there aren't any in the Wii version.
- About half of the Legacy Medals in the Wii U version are in different locations compared to the Wii version (a very small number of medals are also in different locations between the Wii U and the 3DS version).
- The green doors have different purposes. In the Wii version, they require a certain number of Gravitons and they lead to a bonus 2D room with Gravitons and the possibility to get a Legacy Medal; there are always 3 doors in each level that has Legacy Medals. In the Wii U version, the doors are rarer (at most one per level, but not in all levels), don't have requirements to be crossed, and instead of a 2D room, they bring the player to a remote island with 3 dash rings: one leads to mech pieces, another one to Gravitons, and the last one to either nothing or enemies; you can't know which dash ring leads to what until you've tried it.
- The Prologue is different to take into account the differences in controls; there are enemies to defeat in the Wii U version, not in the Wii version.
Graphical differences Edit
- The Wii version of the game is vibrant and colorful, whereas the Wii U version (but not the 3DS version) have significantly less saturated colors, and a light cel-shading filter has been applied to the graphics, presumably to help hide the fact that the game is mostly a port of the 3DS version to a superior system.
- In the 3DS version, a lot of decor elements (such as trees, pillars, patches of grass, flagpoles...) are missing compared to both the Wii and Wii U versions, presumably for performance reasons.
- When playing as a R-Series unit other than Rodea, in the 3DS version, the Slide and Lock-on Gears are constantly visible on the character, even when not being used. Conversely, in the Wii version, they don't appear at all on the character, even when in use.
- Valghis is supposed not to have a tail, but in the Wii version, he gets one when being played as.
- Character and item models tend to be more detailed (have more polygons) in the Wii U version than in the Wii and 3DS versions. For example, the Legacy Medals are round in the Wii U version but octagonal in the Wii and 3DS versions (however, the icons of the Legacy Medals show that they're supposed to be octagonal in the Wii version, while the Wii U and 3DS icons show them round).
- In the 3DS version, mech pieces obtained from enemies or collected in levels look like panels with a picture of the piece. In the Wii U version, they look like actual mech pieces.
- Wii: mostly runs at a steady framerate, even picking up to 60FPS at times.
- Wii U/3DS: the framerate seems to max out at 30FPS, but these instances are few and far between, with numerous crashes and lockups being found during normal gameplay. For instance, if one uses the Slide Gear upward toward the ceiling of one of the floating platforms in Chapter 22, the game will lock up, and cycle between two of the same frames over and over again, and the system can only be hard reset (video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMjf3ZqUbTU)
- Western copies of the Wii version crash after the results screen following the credits. For more details, watch socialanimeguy's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWGqCJssUbA
- The Wii version has a split-screen multiplayer mode, absent from the Wii U version.
- The Wii U version has unlockable Ticket Islands, that are absent from the Wii version. (The 3DS version has StreetPass Islands, which are apparently identical to Ticket Islands, and Distribution Islands).
- The Wii U version features an Unlock menu where extra features are unlocked by spending Legacy Medals (because the 3DS version doesn't have Tickets Islands in the unlock menu, the number of medals required are not always the same). This includes features not present in the Wii version, like music.
- In the Wii U version, the levels are selected on a world map. The Wii version shows a map in the background of the Chapter Select menu, but the levels are not precisely located.
- The Options menu has more options in the Wii U version, notably the possibility to change the volume of the background music, sound effects and voices.
- The Western versions have an extra menu that lets you choose the voice language between English and Japanese, and the subtitle language between English, Japanese, French and German. The Japanese games only come with Japanese voices and text.
Music & Sound differences Edit
- While the Wii and 3DS versions use the same unnamed title screen music, the Wii U version use a different song, "Rodea the Sky Soldier", on the title screen.
- During the credits, the song "Rodea" plays in the Japanese Wii version, "Forever" in the Japanese Wii U version, and "Rodea the Sky Soldier" in the Western versions.
- The background music of Chapter 1 is "In the Sky" in the Wii version, but "Sky High" in the Wii U version.
- In the Wii version, the song "Patience" is played during the battles against Orthos, Rylus or Kelvis, while the song "Kimito" is played during Chapter 24. In the Wii U version, both are replaced by an unnamed song exclusive to that version; instead, "Patience" is played during the bombing at the end of Chapter 4, as well as during some of the hidden fights, while "Kimito" is not used.
- The level select/map theme is different, and more generally, the various songs used in menus are not the same between the Wii version and the Wii U version.
- In the Wii U version, Ion pointlessly talks during levels, for example saying "Fly!" or "Whoosh!" when Rodea starts flying.
Story differences Edit
- There are some extra dialogue and cutscenes in the Wii U version, and sometimes different dialogue.
- In the Wii U version, there's an extra scrolling text after the prologue and at the end of the game (before the credits), giving information not present in the Wii version and changing the story a little.
- In the Wii U version, there's a "dream" sequence at the beginning of Chapter 1, not present in the Wii version.
- The credits of the Japanese Wii version are different in appearance compared to the other versions.
- The Wii U version displays a radar during levels, showing the location of nearby items and enemies.
- The name of each chapter is introduced differently. In the Wii version, it's just text silently displayed over the scenery at the beginning of the chapter. In the Wii U version, the chapter's name appears on a separate screen with a jingle, and is read aloud (usually by Ion); it doesn't always appear at the beginning of the chapter and sometimes appears in the middle of the level instead.
- When playing the Western Wii version with English voices, some of the CGI movies are different from the movies with Japanese voices (which are the same as in other versions). It seems the English movies are early versions of the movies, put in the game by mistake. The most obvious difference is at the beginning of Chapter 25; Geardo is heard but doesn't appear even though he's supposed to. The Wii U version doesn't have this problem, and shows the correct movies regardless of the language selected.
Differences with the announcement trailer Edit
There are several differences between what can be seen in the original announcement trailer released in 2011 (link) and the finished Wii game:
- Two CGI cutscenes seen in the trailer don't appear in the game: the first one with Rodea flying next to the Ion Wave, and the one with Rodea and Ion talking.
- The cutscene in the announcement trailer with Rodea and Ion talking shows the airship dock from Chapter 3 behind Rodea. The next shot is of Rodea and Ion in front of the Mendous Tree from Chapter 2, however, both characters seem to be in the same location. This, along with the first shot of Garuda itself earlier in the trailer suggests that at one point, these two places may have been part of the same level.
- At the end of the original trailer, there is a scene showing Rodea attempting but failing to save Princess Cecilia from falling to her death. It looks like the the cutscene at the beginning of Chapter 21 in the game, but in the trailer, Rodea still has his original arm (also, Cecilia's airship is visible below her). Moreover, in the trailer, Rodea destroys his arm in the same location, presumably just after missing Cecilia's hand, while in the game, it happens in the desert. This suggest that Cecilia was originally supposed to die at the beginning of the game, during the Prologue, without teleporting Rodea away. (If Rodea shut down after smashing his arm in that location, that would also confirm that the Prologue is set on Garuda, so that Ion could find Rodea 1,000 years later.)
- The CGI cutscene where Rodea makes a promise to Ion takes place in front of the Wind Chronos Tower, while it's the Sand Chronos Tower in the finished game (incidentally, it's still the Wind Chronos Tower in the English-voiced cutscene).
- In the gameplay sections of the trailer, the enemy placement, item placement or even level design are sometimes different from the finished game.