Review by horror_spooky

"Gotta Catch 'em All! Wait a second..."

Admittedly, a long, long time ago, when I first heard about Elebits, I was unbelievably excited. I mean, the concept sounded so simple, but so fun at the same time. Sure the game had an art direction that looked like it was aimed towards five year olds, but that still doesn't make being able to levitate a car or totally trash your house any less cooler right? Right. But the game does have some other problems that definitely drag it down…

Before I get to that, though, I probably need to explain the question that's on your mind: What in the living hell is an “Elebit”? Well, Elebits are tiny little creatures that came to the planet millions of years ago in a lightning bolt and humans have turned them into a power source. Yeah, even creatures from outer space fall victim to our energy needs. Anyway, there are all kinds of Elebits. There are blue ones that are basically your generic ones that are everywhere, the red ones that are a little more powerful, the blue ones that are speedy little devils, the orange ones that can fly around, the yellow ones that can combine with other Elebits to turn into a bigger and violent Elebit, purple ones that float around and shoot little balls of energy at you, and finally, there are the very rare pink ones that can teleport. There are also bosses, but they are just a bunch of Elebits combined most of the time…and I do have to say that the bosses resemble some Digimon I've seen before…

Well, the basic concept of the game is that you need to capture these Elebits because there has been a huge power-outage. You play as Kai, whose parents research the Elebits and somewhat neglect their son. Well, when his parents leave to investigate the blackout, Kai decides to take his dad's “Capture Gun” to suck up the Elebits that he despises so much. So, how do you find these Elebits? Have you ever thrown your TV at your computer monitor? Probably not, but you can do that in this game! You see, a target appears on the screen and you use the Wii remote to shoot a laser on the screen in order to capture Elebits or pick things up (and throw them). You can open desk drawers by grabbing onto one of the drawers and pulling your arm back, but these activities can be strenuous on you arm. The Elebits are hiding everywhere, so you'll have to demolish places in order to collect as much as you can. When you collect enough “watts” an electrical appliance becomes active in the room, which will either have a switch on it for you to press, something to put into it (like toast into a toaster), or some other sort of action like spinning it around. By doing this, electrical Elebits appear, which you can capture in order to upgrade your Capture Gun (only for that stage) in order to pick up heavier things—and then the real party starts!

As you totally trash various stages, special stipulations will be added to the missions, but they aren't really that significant—in fact, I pretty much ignored them all the way through the game. Some missions will only let you break a certain amount of items or make only so many loud noises. In practically every stage though, you'll have to get a certain amount of watts before the time runs out. These missions are usually very easy, and I definitely feel that the game's difficulty level in the earlier stages could have been increased since some of the later stages are so hard that they're stroke-inducing.

At the end of every stage you are ranked Devil May Cry-style. By earning a good ranking, you can unlock some parts for the Edit Mode and the ability to edit the stage you just played in. The stage ranks you based on how quickly you completed the stage (but you are given the option to just dink around even after you've collected enough watts, which I did every time), how many watts you collected all together, how much you powered you Capture Gun, and how much damage you took. In Elebits, there are little mounted cannons lying around that can damage you, as well as tanks. The purple Elebits shoot energy balls at you and when the yellow Elebits combine with others to create the larger Elebit, they can use telekinesis to throw objects at you.

Of course, by finding those pesky pink Elebits you do get some reward. The reward you get, though, is not so great. By finding one pink Elebit in a stage you unlock Score Attack for that stage, by finding two pink Elebits in a stage you unlock Eternal Mission for that stage, and by finding three pink Elebits in a stage you unlock Challenge Mission for that stage. Score Attack is simple enough—you just collect as much watts as possible before the time runs out. Eternal Mission is the same as the normal mission, but the time doesn't run out—you just see how well you can do and quit when you want to. Finally, the Challenge Mission is unique in that it makes everything extremely hard. For example, you may be only be able to break one thing and make one loud noise, but the only place any Elebits are at are in a stack of glass cups in a tower.

Special items help you in your quest to collect the Elebits. You use these items by grabbing them in the environment and smashing them on the ground, but sometimes I found that the freaking things wouldn't break for whatever reason. No matter how hard I slammed them on the ground they would stay intact, which got pretty annoying after a while. The awesomeness of the items makes up for this flaw, though. There are items that make you invincible for a certain amount of time and items that make it so the Elebits are deaf, but there are way cooler ones. You can suck in a whole lot of Elebits simultaneously with one of the items, your strength can became even stronger, and you can make a bunch of Elebits attract to an item called an “Elebit Cookie” to extract more watts out of them. However, the coolest item is the vacuum, which sucks up the entire environment and creates a huge mess, which is extremely satisfying.

I mentioned unlocking stuff for Edit Mode earlier, so you probably guessed that there's an Edit Mode! Well, you would be right. For Edit Mode, you just choose a stage that you've already been in and you place a bunch of items in there as well as Elebits. You can even change the gravity to make the things float if you want, but I found the Edit Mode to be very bare-bones. For one, before you can even really experience Edit Mode, you have to play through most of the Story Mode, and even then there isn't really anything awesome you can create, which is the main reason why games have an Edit Mode I believe.

Multiplayer is in included in Elebits, but it is only amusing for about an hour or sooner. Right off the bat, you choose the way your target looks as well as how powerful your laser is. Alright, that's cool, but when you get into a level (with the basic objective of simply capturing watts) you share a screen and only one person can control the camera at a time, instead of utilizing split-screen functionality. This can become, needless to say, very, very annoying.

Now, it's time to talk about the major flaws in the gameplay presented in Elebits. Simply put, playing Elebits for too long becomes way too boring. At first, the game is amazingly entertaining, with just doing the simplest things like knocking down a shelf full of stuff creating huge laughs. However, the game's concept wears thin very fast since practically nothing new is added to the formula. You just go to each stage, collect as many Elebits as you possibly can, go to the next stage, and do it all over again. Even the boss battles are pretty much done the same way each time, which is a real disappointment since I know Konami can think up some pretty sweet bosses (Castlevania anyone?).

I got a little bit into the story earlier, but I'm sure you could tell from my short description that there isn't much story-wise about the game at all. The only thing even a little notable about the story is that the main character somewhat evolves, but there's so little cut-scenes that it's kind of like a dramatic switch in personalities all of a sudden.

I do have to say that Elebits actually doesn't look that bad. I have played games on the Wii that look way worse and the art direction for everything is actually kind of cute in a way. Sure, some of the designs of the Elebits (especially the bosses) aren't that original, but you can look past that. The biggest problem, I'd have to say, would be the glitches. You might accidentally drop a building on yourself and get trapped in a black area for a little while or you might get stuck behind some object that you can't even move out of your way. Sometimes an object or an Elebit will go beyond the boundary that dictates how far you can travel and they will be unreachable, which can really be a pain in the ass. Sometimes you'll have to flip an object over which is practically impossible with the controls and when you open doors they don't stay open nearly long enough for you to get through half of the time. Also, sometimes when I would move something out from under something, the object that was on top of it would just float in the air. What the hell? Not to mention that there was some lag in the later stages, which is just painfully irritating.

There are plenty of little tunes in Elebits and each stage has a new one. If you go to a new stage, but hate the background music terribly, you can change it to any one of the songs in a stage you've played already. That being said, the soundtrack is pretty forgettable and the noises that items make when you pick them up and lose them is kind of annoying.

Elebits' biggest downfall? It's way too short. You can complete the Story Mode in about five hours, and sure, there is a ton of stuff to unlock, but do you really want to spend all that time unlocking stuff when the game gets way too boring if played too long? Multiplayer is a relative drag and the Edit Mode is a bust, so there really isn't that much to come back to after you've had you're share. It's too bad because Konami usually does a tremendous job with replayability.

I know what a lot of you are thinking right now (don't I just know everything?): If the game has that many flaws, why did it get a passing score of a seven? Well, at first, Elebits was the most fun I had on the Wii, and the game is really good in small doses. Plus, it does so many things that other games on the Wii fail to do, like actually deliver decent graphics. Elebits isn't the best game on the Wii and it's definitely not the best game you'll ever play, but if you can get past all the technical problems, it really is a genuine blast.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 04/01/08

Game Release: Elebits (US, 12/12/06)

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