Review by ghostrider9876

"Toilet Energized!"

Intro
Yes, you'll actually be told "Toilet Energized!" in-game. In more than one level, even. Elebits is one of the most quirky/unusual games since Katamari Damacy. The entirety of the game is built around a "Capture Gun" (aka the gravity gun from Half-Life 2) and these bizarre little alien energy creatures. Categories in order of personal importance:

Gameplay/Controls 9/10
The gameplay in Elebits is unadulterated fun. You use your Capture Gun to push, pull, twist, turn, throw, zap, and smash things, all in search of small energy-producing gremlins known as Elebits. Finding most elebits gives you "Watts," allowing you to turn on appliances like a TV or computer, or open previously locked doors. Turning on the appliances draws out a different type of elebit that gives you no watts, but levels up your capture gun so it can affect larger objects. The first level starts you off tossing around building blocks and action figures, while later levels get to the point of slinging furniture, tractor-trailer trucks and entire buildings! (Elebits has drawn many comparisons to Katamari Damacy for this exact reason. Well, that, and it's a bizarre, addictive Japan-flavored game...) This adds a little strategy to the gameplay, as you'll have to balance between finding watts and leveling up. Additionally, getting the gun leveled up lets you make a SERIOUS mess of the place, which is more fun than it might sound.

The physics engine is pretty impressive. Collision detection between objects is top-notch; larger, heavier objects have much more impact than small, light ones. So if you throw a dining table or a car, expect to make a mess. The only drawback is that many of the heavy objects seem to have a bit more "bounce" than they probably should...but by the time you can throw the heavy stuff, you're probably already making such a mess that you might not notice.

Challenge factor varies depending on what you're doing. Merely clearing the levels isn't particularly difficult once you know what you're doing. However, you get a letter ranking, and it can take some work to get that S-Rank. Also, finding the rare Pink Elebits can be tricky, and they unlock additional modes/challenges for their respective levels. If you want to see/do/collect everything in this game, there's a fair amount of difficulty to be had.

The controls are mostly well-done. The Wii Remote functions as your capture gun. You point with it to aim, tap the trigger to zap elebits, or hold the trigger to sustain a stream of energy to manipulate objects. Twist, pull, or tilt the Wii Remote, and it translates to the captured object in-game. The Nunchuk is used for movement and strafing, as well as for stretching to see higher places or crouching.

The only gripe I have with this part of the game is opening doors. In order to open any door with a knob (once unlocked), you have to zap it, twist the Remote, then pull back or push forward, exactly like opening a real door with a knob. While this might seem like it adds immersion, it can at times be annoying, especially when you pull too hard and it bounces back shut and you have to do it again. Even the non-knob doors have an irritating tendency to try and swing shut. Still, it's only a minor annoyance, given how well the rest of it works.

Graphics/Sound 8/10
Graphics are nothing particularly stellar. The game's real stars are the physics engine and the fun to be had as a one-man wrecking crew. Still, they're reasonably good, at least to the point that you can tell exactly what something is just by looking at it. Once more, compare to Katamari Damacy--while Elebits' visuals are of a higher quality (yes, I know Katamari's like that on purpose) you have the right idea stylistically.

Sound is good. Most of the tunes are catchy, and the sound effects of things being slammed around and shattering are pleasing enough. The elebits themselves make these little squeaky noises, which is fitting, because they're made to look cutesy.

Story/Presentation 7/10
The story is pretty simple. You play Kai, the ten-year-old son of two world-renowned elebits researchers. Kai's parents spend so much time on elebits that they don't have time for him; as a result, he hates elebits. One day, a strange lightning strike occurs, and all the elebits begin behaving strangely. Without their energy, all the electrical/mechanical devices fail immediately. Kai's parents rush out to their lab to investigate what's going on, leaving Kai by himself. Angry at the elebits because he's going to miss his TV show without power, he gets his father's capture gun and sets out hunting down the little creatures to restore power. And there you have it; basically the game's entire story. It's a little bit unnecessary, really, but it's nice that Konami bothered to create one at all.

The presentation is a mixed bag. The hand-drawn animation for the cutscenes is very high-quality artwork...but the voice actors kinda sound like they were phoning it in. Thankfully the game doesn't have THAT much voice acting.

Length/Replayability 10/10
Once again, this depends on what you're looking to do. It's not going to take anyone an incredibly long time to clear the levels, so if that's all you're after, don't expect a lengthy game. However, if you want to get all S-Ranks, find all the Pink Elebits, beat all the Challenges and Score Attacks they give you, 100% all the Eternal Mode stages...yeah, that will take a lot more time.

Replayability wins on two fronts. You'll want to replay levels to try and get that S-Rank...and you'll want to replay levels just to have fun making a huge mess and zapping things. Then there's Edit Mode, where you can take any objects you've unlocked in Story Mode and place them however you'd like into any unlocked stage, then play the stage single or multiplayer. A quick search on YouTube or this game's message board will bring up user-created stages that resemble a giant game of dominos, just as an example of how versatile Edit Mode really is.

Then there's the multiplayer. It's a lot of fun...if you can hande the complete and utter chaos of it. Only one player controls the movement and camera, and all players share the same screen in competition to see who can get the most elebits. It's possible to choose who's in control, or set it to cycle or randomly switch. You can see how this would get frantic, especially with four players. But it is very fun if the insanity doesn't bother you.

Rent/Buy/Avoid
BUY IT IF
-The only thing you care about in a game purchase is fun factor
-You're the type of gamer who wants to 100% everything and you expect some depth in doing it
-You like weird Japanese games a la Katamari (last comparison, I swear)
-You want to see an shining example of how the Wii Remote ought to be implemented in game design
-You've always wanted to trash your house/neighborhood/city with a gravity gun, but can't ever seem to find one on eBay
-You like fun multiplayer with a heavy dose of lunacy
RENT IT IF
-You're concerned about the graphics or the lousy voice acting
-You're not sure making a mess of epic proportions is all that much fun
-You're the type of gamer who plays through the story mode, sees the ending, and never picks the game up again
-The multiplayer description worries you
AVOID IT IF
-You're the type of gamer whose collection consists of everything with "Grand Theft Auto" and "Madden" in the title...and absolutely nothing else. You know who you are.
-Graphics are extremely important to you
-You're a compulsive neat freak. This game will make you cry and have seizures.

Final Thoughts
Elebits is some of the most fun I've had with a game in a while. I'm happy I beat Twilight Princess before I got it; otherwise I'd have a very hard time making the choice what to play. Yeah, it's THAT good. The first boss stage I played, where I didn't have to level up the gun and could just throw everything around with reckless abandon...that was a lot of fun. (Watch for flying pianos!) Besides, it's hard to go wrong with a game that will let you send cars and buildings hurtling into the stratosphere.

And a special note to DDR fans like myself: Konami has a few little easter-egg references here and there. :)


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 12/19/06


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