Genre : Action
Release Date: November 19, 2006
The overwhelming impression left by Elebits is that it’s a game about how fun it is to break things. Using a specialized ray, you must overturn everything in the vicinity looking for the eponymous creatures; you’ve got to throw furniture, tear open cabinets, rifle through drawers, empty out the fridge, and generally make a mess of the place.
It’s more entertaining than it might sound.
Elebits is set in a strange sort of parallel world where small, faery-like creatures – the Elebits of the title – basically power every appliance that requires energy to run. One day, the Elebits all vanish, leaving the world dark and in chaos. Your job, then, is to track all the Elebits down, pull them out of their hiding places, and recapture them so they can get back to work.
Interesting premise, isn’t it.
Bizarre social implications of the plot aside, you begin Elebits in your character’s darkened house, equipped with a capture ray. This ray allows you to pick up objects, open doors, and manipulate your environment. More importantly, when you flush an Elebit out of hiding, you can aim your ray at them to capture them.
An Elebit can be hiding almost anywhere, so you need to look everywhere. The more Elebits you capture, the more power is generated, and the more of the appliances in your house work. For example, if you capture enough Elebits in your house’s kitchen, you’ll be able to turn on the microwave. Now you can open it, to find more Elebits, and cook food in it, which may attract still more.
In a way, this is a light-gun game with strong puzzle elements, allowing you to try a variety of things to wring every last Elebit out of your environment. It’s a bizarre concept, and it sounds ridiculous when you articulate it, but in practice, it’s actually a lot of fun. If nothing else, you can amuse yourself by tossing things across the room and making a mess, but there’s a certain sense of building momentum that you get after a while.
It’s strangely immersive, too, since you aim and fire the capture ray with the Wii Remote’s right stick, and turn and move your character with the thumbstick. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you have the basics down, it’s amazingly easy to get into the game. I found myself physically moving more than the game demanded, as if I was actually standing in that kitchen. (Of course, I am a crazy man.)
Nintendo’s critics will probably label this game as being too “kiddie,” and at the same time, it’s a light-gun game dressed up in Pikmin’s clothes. I also wonder how long Elebits’s fundamental gameplay will stay fresh, but then, I only played the first level, so I have no idea how far it goes or how varied it gets; I was also told that the Elebits in the demo I played were much more sedate than they are in the original version.
With those caveats, I can recommend Elebits as an interesting title that shows off the beginnings of what the Wii can do in the hands of a qualified developer. It’s good for all ages, and it’s a solid game for the Wii’s launch lineup.
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