December 12, 2006Written By:
Graham H.Screenshots: LinkAmazon: BUY NOW!
You assume the role of Kai, a young boy who gets left alone by his parents, who are scientists, studying Elebits. Because they always leave Kai alone, he has an underlying wrath building up inside of him....he hates Elebits. And he decides to take his revenge upon the little critters during a storm one night, when the power goes out and his parents leave the house to find out what's wrong. He “borrows” his dad's capture gun and goes hunting (aren't you supposed to keep firearms under lock and key..?)
That's the background anyway. The story progresses slowly otherwise. There are many levels between new story info. Which is ok and works well...given the game's focus on gameplay and otherwise tearing each room in the house apart from shelf to shelf.
The story parts that do exist go into this really interesting, colourful artwork. Almost like some kind of pseudo-anime. It's really gorgeous and quite the piece of eye candy. There is text at the bottom of each cartoon depiction, supplemented by some incredibly bare-bones voice acting. It's obvious the Konami team didn't even hire a kid to....do the voice of the kid, rather a female talking in a very babyish voice. The voices that do exist are quite possibly the only thing that really brings this game down. After every THREE or FOUR words..... there's this very EXAGGERATED.... pause..., with emphatic stress....awkwardly PLACED on...DIFF-er-ent syllabuls! It gets very annoying and, quite frankly, for the game's simplicity, and story simplicity, makes you feel like you're watching preschool cartoon shows.
The Gameplay is where the fun is at in Elebits. The story gets over just about as soon as you start your game up, and before you know it, you're commandeering someone's room in search for Elebits. Using you're “inherited” capture gun, you start to collect Elebits, by simply zapping them with your gun.
The Elebits power your gun. There's a few different types. Yellow ones will let you upgrade how much weight your gun can lift...but we'll get to that later. All colours other than yellow add to your total wattage, which is needed to complete the stage and move on to the next one. Later in the game they introduce other Elebits that can damage your gun and such, so you need to watch where you shoot.
You're greeted with a tutorial when you start the game. It's extremely boring, and within several seconds of playing the tutorial, you get the hang of things and you want to skip it and start playing. For seasoned gamers or FPS people, this control setup is one of the most natural things you can get used to. The Wiimote essentially takes the place of the second analog stick, the one that controls the direction you're pointing your weapon in. The Nunchuk is...just for movement.
Combining them is a breeze and really adds to how much fun the rest of the game mechanics are. The “invisible box” you may have heard of, possibly with regards to how some games at E3 (Metroid Prime) and other shooters exists in Elebits. However in Elebits, because there is no need to turn quickly, run as fast as you can, or jump in the air while spinning to shoot an enemy behind you, this setup works very well.
The Wiimote is extremely accurate for shooting. It literally feels like a point-and-click setup. Zapping the tiny Elebits is no problem at all. Standing on your tippy toes while looking into a garbage can from above, and zapping an Elebit in the corner is easy as apple pie.
The whole game is basically a hide-and-seek extravaganza. After all the obvious Elebits are captured, it's time to start opening closets and pulling drawers open. This takes a bit of getting used to. After chucking books around, you instinctively go to a closet door and attempt to open it in the same fashion. However by whipping the door open, it rebounds on it's hinges and slams shut again. You have to carefully pull the door open so it won't slam shut on you. Getting drawers to open and stay open is also tricky at first...but the way you do it is very intuitive. As you grab hold of the drawer, you need to draw the Wiimote towards yourself, as if you were actually pulling the drawer open.
Aside from opening doors and such, Elebits really know how to hide, so pulling random items off of shelves, throwing boxes around and making a big mess is a huge part of the game. It really can't be stressed enough how much enjoyment you get out of this. Sending a TV careening across the room is strangely pleasurable. And this is where how much weight your gun can lift comes into play...all objects in the game have a given mass. At first you can only lift small objects, but as you power your gun up, you can lift huge objects, even to the tune of a semi-truck later in the game.
Lastly, I'll just mention that Elebits has a lot of little surprises to offer, in the form of problem solving. Many parts of the game require you to do a two or three-step sequence of events before you get a reward of yellow Elebits. This simple addition really adds a lot to each individual stage and makes the whole game really engaging.
From the very moment you select Elebits on the Wii Menu, the music stands out. It's funky, upbeat, and is a joy to listen to. It adds to the mood of the game, which is to say, the music makes the game sound like a fun game. Which of course it is.
There's a few tracks that lean more on the techno side of things, but they all have the same characteristic sound to them. You may just find yourself turning up the volume a bit when you really start to get into the game.
As you uncover new levels, you uncover new music tracks as well. If you don't happen to like one track or maybe you have a particular favourite, you can choose to listen to it as you re-visit stages or take on your friends in the multiplayer.
This is possibly the only area where Elebits lacks. The colourful, happy, fun look that the boxart has to it does not carry through into the game. What you get in-game is entirely simplistic. No fancy textures or high-res detail, no crazy particle effects or lighting.
However if you take into account just what is it you do in the game...namely, take every item in the house and throw it around, the visuals aren't exactly important. Nor do you really focus on them.
Since this title is built ground-up for Wii, specifically with the Wiimote and everything in mind, you kind of expect a little more than what is offered. Environments aren't destructible either, which means you can hurl a truck into a house and there won't be a dent. Again maybe something we've come to expect in games, but given Elebit's nature, these “shortcomings” don't effect the game at all. Personal ThoughtsLengthly review for such a simple game, I know. There's a lot going on, though. That said, anyone who tries this game will instantly get drawn into it and express how cool it is. It's extremely addictive, and you'll find yourself throwing objects around after you've completed the level just for the sake of throwing objects around. The game has some really interesting puzzles, and every level has a specific way of doing things to get the highest score possible. In that sense the game has an arcade kind of feel to it, where you re-visit levels to better your score.
In the end, the goods far outweigh the few bads. Elebits proves to be one of the few unique Wii titles that make the system worth owning in it's early life. It's originality, uniqueness, and ease of control with an first person setup make it a game every Wii owner should pick up.8.5/
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