Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Chibi-Robo


Developer: Skip Ltd.
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: June 23, 2005
Systems: GameCube
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: Cute Robot just didn't sound as cute.

0:01 Happy calliope style music loops over a sterile title screen with water droplets making circles in the background. Suddenly a silver, screw-shaped robot with legs and arms runs by holding his plug/tail. A hoverbot behind him showers him with confetti. The robot picks up the used confetti poppers and deposits them inside his head like a trash can. Cute stuff.

0:02 A family is gathered in a living room around birthday cake. The daughter is wearing a frog hat/mask for some reason. She has a stupid grin plastered on her face like she's developmentally disabled. Graphics remind me of a late N64 game... minimalist and unpolished. Jenny's mom gives her a pink hat, but Jenny doesn't like it. "Jenny, you're eight now. You can't run around in a frog costume all day. You need a real hat!" "Ribbit ribbit" Jenny replies, adroitly.

0:03 Tao, the freaky-looking dog, also has a present... a bone wrapped in a bow. "How did you wrap it?" It's a fair question, but Tao doesn't answer.

0:04 Dad thinks Jenny will love his gift. Mom is incredulous. Mom thinks he got it for himself, and that they can't afford it. "Get ready Chibi-Robo, it's almost show time" says the hover-bot from inside the box. "Get ready to ROOOOOBBOOOOO," Dad says excitedly.

0:05 The robot hops out of his box to a techno beat and a light show. "Yaaay! Chibi-Robo!" "We're here to make you happy," says hoverbot, whose name is Telly. What a concept. A game that tries to make you happy.

0:06 Telly is worried because they came to the party empty-handed. Ironic, since they are, in fact, the gift. He spies a flower and decides that should be their gift. Now I'm in control. I climb up on some plates and the vase in super-cute fashion. Everything seems so big from this low angle

0:07 I love the peppy, Charlie Brown-style piano music in the background.

0:08 "HOT! Diggity! Dog! That's Awesome!" dad says as Chibi-Robo puts a rose that's three times his size inside his body. Even mom is impressed.

0:09 The Chibi-copter lets me hover in a super-cute fashion. When I hover over to the cake, Telly tells me I can't eat it. "Sorry...I didn't mean to hurt your feelings." Robots have feelings now?

0:10 The word "chicken" brings back some really bad memories for Telly, apparently. "But maybe now isn't the time to talk about that." Come on, please? The one thing this game needs right now is a tale of chicken-induced trauma perpetrated on a floating television set.

0:11 I got 20 "happy points" for giving Jenny the rose. Happy points! This is threatening for cutest game EVAR!

0:13 Now it's night time and I'm back in my box/mini-house, charging. With the 20 happy points, my imaginary worldwide ranking is up to 784,309 from an initial 1,000,000. So there are 215,691 robots with less than 20 points. What are they doing, sitting in the box? If I reach number one I'm upgraded to Super Chibi-Robo!! Boss!

0:14 Telly's full name is Telly Vision. AND HE'S A FLOATING TELEVISION! I GET IT!

0:16 Every step I take makes a musical note, like in a Looney Tunes cartoon. I love it.

0:17 Off into the living room. Mr. Sanderson is sleeping on the couch. Telly thinks he "passed out from the excitement." I think he and Mrs. Sanderson are having a little argument over his extravagant spending on unnecessary robots.

0:19 I come across a... well... I have no idea what this thing is. It looks like a duck with antennae and a pencil. "Dear diary... Tonight I'm in my usual spot. Head in the living room, body in the kitchen." Tao dropped her here, apparently.

0:20 Apparently it's a squeeze toy that's stuck in the door between the rooms. The toys come to life at night, in a totally original conceit! Her name is Sophie.

0:21 I love how everyone talks in a kind of pidgin, Simlish-style language, but I wish the text translation/captioning would scroll a bit faster.

0:22 "Girls and their diaries. This could be a while." Oh Telly. You chauvinist pig, you.

0:23 So every step I take lowers my battery... rather quickly too. I only have 800 or so steps before I need a charge. Luckily there are wall outlets all over the place.

0:24 I climb a stray power cord to get on top of a table. I find a record player that I can't seem to do much with and some cookie crumbs. Is this game just about cleaning up trash?

0:27 There's a toothbrush by Mr. Sanderson's hand. I take it because I want to clean up stains around the house. They should have called this game Chibi-Maid. Seriously.

0:28 I get six happy points for cleaning a stain. I like the happy guitar ditty that plays as I do this. The audio design is really top-notch.

0:29 Already I've had to charge three times. Each time takes a few minutes. It's a bit annoying.

0:30 Through some conveniently placed books, I climb to a chair and open a box that just happens to have happy points in it. Why do the Stephenson's have this box. Shouldn't these points be strictly controlled by the FDA.

0:31 Some beeping sound presages the end of the night. We return to the Chibi-House to check in my happy points. I'm up to rank 653,376 already. I rule! Once I reach number one "The girl-bots won't be able to leave you alone." Good to know!

0:34 Daytime now. Jenny is coloring a picture of some frogs. She takes me in her hand and with a menacing look, gives me 13 happiness points. Not sure why... I didn't really do anything.

0:38 My day so far: Picking up trash and cleaning up paw prints. It shouldn't be so much fun, but it is. I blame the chipper music and sound effects. They're infectious!

0:39 Mr. Stephenson admits to the marital strife I'm causing, but tells me not to worry about it. How can I not worry about it. I'M TEARING THIS FAMILY APART!

0:40 Climbing up some cabinets, I find a small door that's openable by plugging and twisting. Inside is a creepy silver universe of eyes and "Moolah" the in-game currency. Freak E.

0:41 I can't hold any more bits of paper. Does this mean I can stop cleaning? I'M FREE! FREE!

0:42 Mr. Sanderson seems content waving an action figure in the air over and over repetitively. Mr. Sanderson is easily amused.

0:43 So far there's been lots of moolah to wander around and collect, but not many different tasks to collect happiness points. Some more structure, please.

0:47 My rank is up to 415,243. And I ain't even hardly done nothing.

0:50 Night time. Dad's sleeping on the couch again. He drops a book from his lap. It's the manual... for me. That's a bit unsettling, somehow.

0:51 Telly apparently has some extra happiness points provided by Mrs. Sanderson. He gives some to me as a "cleaning bonus." YOU'VE BEEN HOLDING OUT ON ME TELLY!

0:52 Reading the manual gets me happy points. READING. THE. MANUAL. More games should have such encouragement.

0:56 "Forget the other rooms for now. Let's check out this room." You make a compelling case, Telly. Wait, no you don't.

0:59 I wish I knew what to do with all this detritus I've been picking up. I also wish I knew how I can improbably fit it all inside my tiny body.

1:00 The TV that mysteriously turned on and plays an ad for an action figure... that is standing atop the TV as well. "People say evil. People say justice. But what is JUSTICE. And what is EVIL? Am I just a fool? A blind fool? NO! I fight on the side of JUSTICE!" Buzz Lightyear much? Seriously, the creators watched too much Toy Story. His name is Drake Redcrest.

1:01 "Space Hunter Code Part One: Greet everyone by yelling!" "As your friend it is my duty to tell you that it appears your life needs more justice." I love the writing here. He gives me a Drake Redcrest suit. SO CUTE!

Would I play this game for more than an hour? Yes.
Why? It's so endearingly cute and wacky, even if the "game" part hasn't really been too interesting yet.

This review based on a retail copy borrowed from a friend.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

How much do you weigh on a tuesday?

Anonymous said...

It's a good game, although the story is admittedly quite slow-paced. It's nice when you have a battery that lasts more than two minutes, too.

Simon said...

RTFM for what to do with the rubbish: throw it in a bin!
(not the first time a reviewer docked a game for something that was actually mentioned and explained in the manual)

Kyle said...

I did not "dock" the game for my inability to figure out what to do with the rubbish -- I still gave it my highest ranking ("Yes"). I was confident it would become apparent eventually. That said, I didn't see the bin and the game failed to point it out to me sufficiently, despite pointing out practically everything else I needed through the course of play.

Simon said...

So no matter if the game explains things or not, it's a negative whatever it does?

Kyle said...

Er, maybe I wasn't clear? If the game explained it to me, that'd be fine. As far as I could tell, it didn't. Maybe I missed something. Regardless, it didn't significantly affect my review or my final evaluation. 'Twas just a throwaway line.