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Chibi Robo Review

Developer: Skip Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: February 7, 2006 Also On: None

I’ll admit it. I was among the large group of people that were skeptical about how Chibi Robo would turn out when I heard about it. Even upon seeing the box art and reading the manual, I was still skeptical about how entertaining Chibi Robo would be. However, despite its overly cute veneer and slow-paced low-action gameplay style, Chibi Robo is a game where those who are willing to give it a try will find that there is much more to it than meets the eye.

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So far as the graphics are concerned, everything looks nice and is easily identifiable. True, the graphics are not truly breathtaking like in games like Wind Waker and Super Mario Sunshine, but they are more than good enough to get the job done and convey the level of cuteness that the game has set forth to create. Overall, the graphics in this game are done very well.

The music in this game is very good as well, although it does get a bit repetitive over time. The sounds that Chibi Robo makes as he walks and climbs do much to add to the cuteness of the game as well, with different effects depending on the terrain being traversed. These sound effects also tend to get old just a bit, but not to any significant degree. This game, like many Nintendo titles, has no voice acting, but rather has you read text while the characters speak in a language that sounds not significantly unlike one of the languages in Animal Crossing. Overall, the sound does a lot to add to the cuteness of the game, just as the graphics do.

I’ll admit that I’m at a loss to truly classify this game. It isn’t a traditional platformer because Chibi can’t jump and there’s very little in the way of platformer-style battles with enemies. On the other hand, it does contain the collect-a-thon aspect which has been found in many platformers since Super Mario 64. The game has many puzzles in it, as well as a variety of missions that Chibi has to complete. Therefore, the best I can say is that it is a mission-based platformer/puzzle hybrid, but, for sake of space, I am going to simply refer to it as a platformer for the rest of the review.

You’re not at all limited in how long you take to complete the missions or collect the items. You can take as long as you want. The result there is a slower paced game than most platformers, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you want to be able to be methodical and have a more relaxing experience. There are three things that Chibi needs to collect a lot of. Happy points earn him battery upgrades, moolah can be used to buy stuff that will be useful to complete missions and puzzles, and scrap can be used to build utilibots that can be used to reach previously unreachable areas.

The battery is basically Chibi’s lifebar, but there is a twist to this game that isn’t found in most platformers. Chibi loses battery power, not just by getting hit by enemies, but also by moving, by using it to open or operate certain devices, and even slowly by doing nothing. Luckily, he can refill his battery power at will by plugging himself into an outlet. I kid you not. He carries around an electrical cord with a plug and he can pick it up and plug himself in. It is positively cute to watch him walk around with this cord dangling behind him.

Essentially, the way the game works is that you alternate day and night in time periods, sort of like the original Pikmin, except that you aren’t limited in how many you get. You can buy upgrades to make these periods longer if you choose to also. You use this time to wander around the house through various rooms doing chores to earn happy points by doing various chores such as picking up trash and cleaning stains.

As you progress into the game, you will find new ways to earn happy points and gain access to new areas. You’ll also eventually want to find items and use them to complete missions to progress the plot, but how quickly you do this is up to you. Cutscenes abound where these missions are concerned, and some of them are a bit lengthy. Obviously, what is going on in the house will vary depending on which missions you’ve completed as well as whether it’s day or night.

All things considered, this game is a lot more entertaining than it might appear on paper, and if you take a more leisurely pace to completing it, it can last quite a while. The new ideas that it adds to the platformer genre make it a game that is well worth checking out despite the fact that it isn’t a pure platformer, and, indeed, many people who are not typically fans of platformers might enjoy it. Is this game going to properly fill the gap left by the fact that Twilight Princess hasn’t been released yet? No, not by a long shot, but it would be a good game to kill some of the time in between now and then.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.7
Written by Martin Review Guide