Review by striker64
"Pure destructive fun."
Elebits they are the force of the world. They bring power to everything. They even cause world-renowned scientists to give more attention to them than their children. Enter Kai one of those children. He's down because, although young, he realizes that he gets almost no attention from his parents because they're so obsessed over Elebits, thus causing him to hate the Elebits. One night, all of the lights go out, and Kai and his parents realize that something must be wrong with the Elebits. Kai's parents take off into the night to research, leaving Kai home alone in the dark. Kai decides to take matters into his own hands and takes his parent's capture gun to get the Elebits back. This is a fairly original concept story-wise, but as the game progresses it never materializes into much more than that.
The graphics do not resemble next-gen at all. I'm in the camp that gameplay, not graphics, make a good game, but a game really needs to have at least some of the potential of the platform it's running on. This looks like a poorly done Gamecube game. There's jagged edges, graininess, and slowdown all around. The one good thing the game does is convey the overall dark aspect of the setting. There are a few cutscenes that are very well done, although they are less scenes than they are just moving from one still picture to another. The Elebits are simple, but closer inspection reveals that they actually are quite detailed.
There's limited voice acting in this game, and it's pretty bad. Thankfully, it's kept short. There's little background music at all, but the sound effects are spot-on. From furniture landing on the ground to zapping Elebits, everything sounds perfect. Not a whole lot more to say about the sound because there is so little of it otherwise.
Elebits is a completely original concept of a game. You'll be trying to open everything you can to find the little Elebits. You'll find them hiding behind books, inside closets, and under almost everything. You'll have to push, pull, throw, and lift almost every object you come across to find them all. The game is sorted by levels, and each level has a certain power count requirement that you have to reach before time runs out. Each level is timed, but for most levels you have so much time that this won't be an issue at all. Most levels also have electrical objects that can be powered up for more Elebits once you find enough. When you get the required power count, you'll see a message stating that that certain object has powered up. You then seek it out and turn it on (by either pressing a button, turning a knob, etc.), and proceed to zap all of the Elebits that jump out of it. These Elebits are special in that they will power up your gun. The more powerful your gun gets, the physically stronger the zapper gets, allowing you to lift up heavier objects and find more Elebits. Elebits are worth different increments of power as well. Zapping an Elebit that's sleeping is worth the most power. Throwing things around and making a ruckus wakes them up, so you'll likely only encounter these at the beginning of a level and when you open a new room or cabinet. Certain doors are also locked until you reach a certain power count, forcing you to maximize what you collect in the area you're in.
Throwing things around and creating a huge mess is a lot of fun, but as your gun gets stronger and you start throwing heavier things around, things get very messy very fast. You'll find that many areas become cramped and difficult to move through because so much is in the way. Moved furniture also becomes a resting place for Elebits that have gotten away from you so you'll find yourself tossing it all around quite often.
As stated above, levels are timed, but for the most part you get so much time in a level that this is never an issue. If you reach your required power count before time runs out, you can either end the level or continue to play until the timer reaches zero in order to make your score and grade better. Certain levels also have restrictions for example, some levels require you to be extra quiet, meaning you can't sling objects around because you may end up breaking vases, plates, glasses, etc. creating noise and lowering your score. Make too much noise and you fail the level. Thankfully these restrictions don't come around in many levels, so you're free to destroy as you wish.
There are certain powerups you can get as well. The most useful one has got to be the homing gun, which will lock on to Elebits just by your waving the Wii Remote in front of them and you can shoot from any direction. There is also an item that will attract Elebits to wherever it is, so putting it in the middle of a room that you haven't destroyed too much in yet is very helpful. There are items to help with restriction levels as well, such as an object that blocks out all sound for 30 seconds, meaning you're free to crash and break whatever you want in that time.
Overall, the gameplay is hugely rewarding and very original.
Elebits has made full use of the Wii Remote. You move Kai with the control stick, but for the most part you'll be using the Wii Remote for most of your adventuring. Use either the A or B button to zap Elebits. You can throw objects around to uncover Elebits from their hiding places you do this by zapping the object and slinging it with a flick of your wrist. Overall the game controls very well except in a few areas. Foremost are doors. Doors are a huge pain to open at times. You zap the door and twist the Wii Remote, then pull or push to open doors. This seems simple enough, but the game responds poorly, and you'll find yourself having to manipulate the door several times before you finally get through. Even more annoying is the fact that it doesn't stay open but instead closes right back up, so you have to slip through almost immediately or end up having to open it up again. Along those same lines include trying to power up certain items, like the coffee pot or oven. In order to get the most use of them, you'll have to put the coffee pot itself onto the holder, or put food inside of the oven, meaning of course that you'll have to line it up with where you want it to go and push forward. The game has trouble recognizing this sometimes, making it frustrating. Outside of those few minor squabbles the control is excellent.
The replayability is decent enough. After every level you're given a grade based on your power count, the number of Elebits you've captured, and certain other things. Some gamers may want to get the highest score possible for each level, which will keep them coming back to play them over again. There's also a multiplayer aspect where up to four people at once can turn a room upside down looking for elusive Elebits. You'll also eventually unlock a level editor where you can create your own levels and restrictions and send them to other players via the Internet and Friend Codes.
The graphics and the fact that you control a young child show that this game is aimed more towards children, and the difficulty is as such. It's pretty much impossible to die except for some later levels and boss levels, and the only thing you have to worry about is the timer running out, but you're generally given so much time that this is never an issue. The only other challenge is the few levels that have restrictions, and although these can be frustrating to play through, there are few of them and most are easy enough.
From the moment you first pick it up, Elebits is insanely addictive. Throwing furniture and other household objects around just never gets old, and the expressions of the Elebits when you first uncover them is pretty golden. Some of the levels are rehashes of past levels, and these can get old after a while. Also, on levels where there are no restrictions but a high power requirement, you'll find yourself tearing through everything to get Elebits out. When you realize you still need a good bit of power, you'll backtrack through the level tearing up everything yet again, which can get a little repetitive. For the most part though, the game feels fresh and keeps you occupied throughout, and you really can't ask for anything more.
Elebits is likely to have somewhat limited appeal. Kids will like it of course. Some older gamers may be turned off by the somewhat kiddie graphics, concept, and difficulty, but most will find that once they play it once, there's more below the surface.
Control and Gameplay: 9/10
Total Score: 68/90 ~ 7.6
FINAL SCORE: 8/10 (Very Good Game!)
Elebits is a true showcase for what you can do with the Wii Remote and is one of the most original, fun games to come along in quite a while. Elebits won't last forever, but you'll likely come back to it several times. Unless you just completely shun games outside of a certain genre, it's well worth your while to seek this one out.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/15/08
Game Release: Elebits (US, 12/12/06)
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