Electroplankton Review

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Developer: NintendoPublisher: Nintendo
Release Date: January 8, 2006Also On: None

The most important thing first: Electroplankton is not a game. What is it then? It is something completely new, a cross between a musical album and an instrument, an audiovisual experience that has not been seen before. It is funny that this is coming from Nintendo since they never supported multimedia much on their consoles. Well, Electroplankton is not your usual piece of multimedia.

Electroplankton features 10 different modes. They could be seen as tracks or as 10 different instruments. Each lets you make music or sounds in a different way. Probably the most accessible of them is Beatnes. There is a background tune from a classic Nintendo game that loops. You tap on-screen buttons to create a beat from sounds in this game. The sounds you make are repeated for a certain number of loops. To keep it interesting, you have to add new sounds every loop, creating ever-changing music. The great thing is that the program takes care of the rhythm to a certain extent so whatever you play will sound good.

Another mode is Tracy. Here you draw traces on the screen for the little things to follow. Each position on the screen represents another tone. Depending on how fast you draw the lines, the little things will then move along them and create a little melody. This mode is much more experimental. It does not let you create music in the classic sense. Experimenting with different shapes and the sounds connected to them can be a lot of fun still.

Yet another mode is Volvoice. It lets you record a short sound with the microphone and then play different altered versions of it. For example, you can play it backwards, low pitched, fast or simply plain weird sounding (in more than one way). Some of the modes are more exciting, others less exciting. They are all different and you will have difficulties picking a favorite. All are illustrated with beautiful 2D graphics in a unique art style.

Some modes have sub-modes, which add replay value to Electroplankton. How long will you spend with this audiovisual experience? Is it worth spending the money on? This completely depends on you. Electroplankton does not have any mechanics to motivate you for a longer time. The only thing that will make you come back is the fun. Due to the open nature of the program, there will always be a new tune to explore so you might be booting this for years to come. I have spent a number of hours with it and I know that I will spend a lot more. Nintendo continues its streak of innovation on the Nintendo DS with Electroplankton. Let’s hope they keep it up.

Note: This review is based off of the Japanese version.

Replay Value/Game Length:8.5
Written by OrtwinReview Guide