Review By: Matt Flanagan
|# Of Players:||1-4|
|Accessories:||WiiConnect24 (trade levels)|
I've had high expectations for Elebits from the first time I saw it. It wasn't visually stunning, but it was quirky and had "sleeper hit" written all over it. I was expecting the next Cubivore or Katamari, a game that, while it's not the most beautiful thing to look at, manages to be addictive and fun. I wasn't disappointed.
The game's story revolves around a young boy named Kai, whose parents study creatures known as elebits for a living. He feels like his parents like elebits more than him, and so he learns to hate them, something he has to overcome when the elebits stop working and stop providing the world's power. Thus, as Kai the player uses his father's “Capture gun” to collect elebits, which give the gun power that allows you to lift heavier objects. This in turn lets you find and catch more elebits. Each of the game's 15 levels has a power quota you’ll be expected to meet in a certain amount of time before you can move on to the next level.
Just about everything you come into contact with in the game world can be picked up and moved, only you'll need to catch more elebits before you can lift heavier objects. The physics in the game are realistic, and throwing an object at something else will cause things in the environment to fall over and break convincingly. Unfortunately, there are some problems when you start moving bigger things, which act as though they’re a lot lighter than they really are, and low gravity seems to affect most game items. The multiplayer mode would definitely benefit from a split-screen feature, since as it stands only one person can controls where everyone in the game is, but it’s still fun to play and gives a sort of “work together while trying to beat each other” vibe to the game.
The controls are very responsive and easy to get the hang of, and while some things (like opening doors) can be a bit frustrating, the game is overall easy to control. Those of you that struggled through Red Steel's unfriendly control scheme will feel relieved by the fact that, while turning is still slow, the game doesn't require you to move faster then the game engine will allow in order to do so.
The sound in the game is a mixed bag. The sound effects are good, but the voice acting could use a lot of work. Sadly, this means that cutscenes aren’t very exciting. On the other hand, the artwork in them is top-notch, but unfortunately it doesn't distract you from the wooden placeholder-esque dialogue.
Graphically the game isn’t going to blow you away, and there are some hiccups in the action in larger levels, but neither of these things gets in the way of the gameplay. In general the game feels like the developers concentrated more on how the objects in the game moved then the objects themselves, but seeing as how that is the point of the game, it's easy to look past the simple visuals and see a sort of Katamari Damacy-esque charm in them.
Replay value is high, and even when you get tired of searching for elebits you can have some mindless fun trashing the house. It’s addictive to just run around throwing things and catching little animals. When you run out of maps to play you can create your own in edit mode, with items and levels you unlock in Story mode, and Wiiconnect24 lets you trade your maps with friends.
Elebits is well worth the money you'll spend on it. It's quirky, fun, and has a lot of replay value. This one is definitely a must-buy for Wii owners.
Posted: 2007-02-12 20:28:42 PST