It's only 5 hours long...!
CyberConnect’s Tail Concerto is a cute little 3D action platformer for the original PlayStation starring anthropomorphic dogs and cats designed by Nobuteru Yuki (probably most famous for his character designs in the television series Escaflowne). It’s the first game in the company’s imaginative Little Tail Bronx series, set in a steampunk world of floating islands.
Story & Game Play
The Black Cats Gang is causing havok amongst the floating island cities of Prairie, so police-dog Waffle is called to the rescue. Along the way he’ll help to uncover the mystery of the Iron Giant, a mysterious artifact from an ancient civilization.
Piloting his robot suit, Waffle can jump, shoot bubbles, and grab objects around him. In later stages he’ll hover using a jet pack, cling to mesh ceilings, and climb on pipes to get around. Unfortunately most of these mechanics aren’t fully explored, as the game is simply too short to get the most out of them.
There’s also a bit of an RPG feel as you can enter buildings and talk to people in the various locations. However, you can’t upgrade your character’s abilities or robot suit, and aside from optional red boxes which can be collected to complete a photo album, there are basically no side-quests or puzzles.
The grabbing move is mainly used to pick up items, and you can also grab and toss bombs back at enemies, but that’s about it. Most of the time, you damage foes by shooting them with your bubble gun, which doesn’t deal much damage.
Tail Concerto is a decent looking PlayStation game, benefiting from simple cartoony graphics. Cut scenes usually feature full voice acting, and there are frequent animated videos to punctuate major plot points (about 20 minutes in total). It’s a well rounded package but nothing extraordinary compared to other games that were released around the same time.
Each of the areas you’ll explore are pretty basic, so the main challenge comes from the poorly programmed camera. Sadly camera control was not mapped to the secondary joystick, and tilting the camera up and down with the L1 and L2 buttons doesn’t help much. As a result, you’ll end up making mistakes that should be easy to avoid, which may get a little annoying.
There were a few bosses and platforming sections which gave me some trouble, mainly due to the poor camera and somewhat sluggish controls. The game gives you plenty of opportunities to pick up continues though, so you never have to replay too much of any given segment.
Tail Concerto isn’t as fleshed out or as polished as it probably should have been, which is a real shame as the characters and world could easily support a much larger game. And while it may be aimed primarily at young children, the clunky camera will probably make it too frustrating for that demographic. Meanwhile more experienced gamers will find the game is too short and simple, clocking in at just five hours. If you can get past the problematic camera, there is an enjoyable little adventure with a big heart to be found, with little to no filler. I would still recommend you skip it and play the sequel, Solatorobo, instead.