Solatorobo takes place in Shepherd Republic, a set of floating islands inhabited by anthropomorphic cats and dogs who use large humanoid mechs to complete daily tasks. The story revolves around Red Savarin, a hunter who takes odd jobs to make ends meet, and his younger sister Chocolat, the pilot of their airship, which doubles as their home.
When Red is contracted to retrieve a stolen file from aboard an airship known as the Hindenburg, he discovers a magical medallion and a mysterious cat girl named Elh. With the medallion, the three take a journey to find the truth behind Elh's mysterious past, and the truth behind the power of the medallion.
While Solatorobo could be considered an RPG, it's largely action-based. Red spends most of his time fighting from his mech. Battle consists of grabbing environmental objects and enemies themselves, and throwing them at walls and other objects to cause damage. While this simple mechanic remains throughout the game as Red's primary means of attack, Red can grab any manner of objects, from weapons lying in the environment, to parts of enemies to defeat enemies and clear obstacles in unique ways.
Red's mech, however, cannot operate complicated machinery or traverse tight spaces. For cases like these, Red can jump out of his mech with a simple button press, and traverse on foot. While on foot, Red can collect hidden items, momentarily stun robotic enemies, and operate lifts and other computers in the environment.
When Red defeats enemies, he receives EXP points, which go toward increasing his level. Since Red does not have a complex list of statistics as in most RPGs, level only affects Red's maximum life gauge. Stats like strength, speed, and defense are governed by the add-ons you place in the mech. The add-on system itself is similar to Tetris. Parts of different shapes are placed in a 5x5 grid, but spaces in the grid must first be opened. Locked grid spaces are opened by spending points accumulated from collected items known as P-Crystals, and those spaces can then be filled with parts purchased at a repair shop.