It's been a while since I've played it but this game has kind of stuck with me and might be one of my favorites. It is Rodea the Sky Soldier. You have probably heard that it plays like NiGHTS but with speed like Sonic and it is basically that, flying around trying to get fast times. It's pretty simple, you just point where you want to fly and Rodea takes off but he can fly in arcs when you swing the controller so then you can swerve around stuff pretty fast when you get good at it. I think the B button was for flying and the A button was for boosting which is also his main form of attack. It's a simple game but I've seen one person say it gets repetitive and they might be right so the story might be your main motivating factor after a certain point. The story itself is one I enjoyed but might not be all that great in the eyes of others. A robot named Rodea is fighting in a war and he has to protect the person he loves but she sends him off into the future to protect the land that Emperor Geardo, the main villain, wants to take over. It then has you playing as Rodea getting from one point to another for various reasons. You can also get a few power-ups but you can only have one at a time and they are revealed to you pretty early so you don't have much surprise to keep you playing. That was the Wii version, the Wii U and N3DS version have you going into some kind of "pre-flight mode" where Rodea jumps up into the air, stops, starts spinning in place so you can choose a target, and then he starts flying towards the selected location that can be chosen with a cursor that is controlled using the control stick. While he flies towards his target he can only do so for a limited amount of time because his fuel runs out and it runs out even more quickly when you make Rodea boost. Thankfully there are energy cubes scattered around that Rodea can pick up but it still makes that function a problem. There is an upgrade to make him fly faster but his fuel runs out faster which makes it seem more like a sidegrade, he also can't arc normally, that is also obtained via an upgrade that must be purchased but the trade off is that there aren't too many objects that force you to arc around it such as the spider webs that are present in the Wii version. Thankfully Rodea can hold multiple power-ups at once and switch between them in the Wii U version but one of them is vastly inferior. Rodea also has some kind of special attack that he can use for fifty gravitons called "Shining Bullet" which wipes out all of the enemies on the screen, unfortunately it mostly just looks nice. A lot of the enemies aren't really necessary to defeat and some don't even pose a threat at all so it is really just there to look cool and it certainly doesn't help your times. On the topic of gravitons, it's kind of like this games' coins or rings, you collect them seemingly just for the sake of doing so but you can actually get ranks for how many you collected, the highest being an S rank but you end up collecting a lot. Just for an example I played a level where I scoured the whole level for as many gravitons as I could find and ended with a total of five-hundred-ninety five gravitons and I only got an A rank, I was probably five away from S. It takes a lot of time to find them all and you can lose all of them if you lose a life so it really take a while to get them all, thankfully your best ranks are saved so you can get an S rank for gravitons collected and then get an S rank for time later which is how I would recommend going about S ranking everything. Anyway, in the Wii U version they function as a back-up fuel source in case Rodea loses all of his fuel while flying. The problem with the Wii U version and it's flight mechanics seem to serve only to limit what you can do, Rodea is at risk when he flies for too long and it might get the stingier players to fly slowly if at all and not boost which is not how the game is supposed to be played. Rodea is able to fly freely and quickly in the Wii version, swerving around objects weaving in between things in the environment when you get good enough at the game allowing you to really shoot through the levels and giving you a sense of freedom, the only limiting factor being your flight range. The Wii U version has you limited all the time making you feel as if you have no reason to be flying and more reason to be walking. It basically limits Rodea and makes you feel like you aren't really playing as Rodea, I don't know how they thought this was a good idea. The Wii U version has more voice lines, some of which aren't really necessary, extra cutscenes and some scrolling text at certain points in the game. It does elaborate on the story which the Wii version leaves a little vague and the Wii U version does have better graphics but not exactly "better", just a bit better but not "good" for Wii U standards and it makes the game look unfinished. You can see stuff a bit better, at least. In general, the Wii U version has worse gameplay and cheesier voice lines than the Wii version but better graphics and the story is less vague. I tried playing the Wii U version but it was just slow, unpleasant, and made me scared to boost. Again, not the way it was supposed to be played. I haven't played the N3DS version and I probably won't.
The ending is something that really left me unhappy, huge spoilers ahead.
Rodea is in love with Princess Cecilia, Emperor Geardo's daughter, and is also her royal bodyguard. After being sent into the future he later is repaired by Ion but loses his memories but he still remembers a promise he made to Cecilia. He promised to protect Garuda from Geardo, who wants it for it's resources and fertile land. His promise is talked about a lot throughout the game and he later remembers Cecilia. Even further on he is given the chance to save Cecilia but fails because she falls, presumably, to her death and for some reason he doesn't fly down after her. Afterwards he has to defeat Geardo once, Valghis once (another one of the robots he has to fight), and Geardo a second time after he turns into some kind of giant robotic beast. The disturbing thing about this fight is that Geardo keeps calling out for Cecilia despite the fact that she is dead. You have to fight him but by the end I don't feel like I defeated a cold hearted tyrannical emperor, I feel like I killed a grieving father in cold blood. Rodea then shuts down after the fight and uses the Key of Time that he obtained from Valghis to send Ion back to the future but she later digs him up from his grave and repairs him and the other R-series robots. It can be assumed that Rodea and Cecilia were buried together but Rodea and Ion end up together by the end of the game. The whole time there was a build up to Rodea and Cecilia being together and it felt like it was all for naught. It was even romantic but I felt like it was torn away from me. I played the whole game wanting Rodea to be with the person he loved and it didn't happen! Rarely do I care about romances but this one that I did care for was just ruined and I didn't feel very happy. The story itself is a bit dark since Rodea essentially turns on his entire kingdom for the wish of a single person, he has to fight his friends and even somebody who claims to be his sister, the whole time I thought that the silver lining would be Rodea and Cecilia's happiness, I kept playing for his noble love and it didn't happen. You have to fight one of his friends, one of his rivals, his sister, and a new robot who is Geardo's right hand man but also does not fully have allegiance to Geardo, and then the father of the woman he loves while he is grieving and they don't end up together! Not. Happy. At all. My OTP was broken... At least Rodea is still husbando material.