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Chibi-Robo Package Art


Okay, so it's obvious that Nintendo is trying to set itself apart from other game companies in terms of both software and hardware. So is it really surprising when something like Chibi-Robo shows up? No. Well, maybe a little. What really makes this unique little GC romp so distinctive is the way it blends both the familiar and the more out-there to present something that's even more different than advertised.


While Chibi-Robo doesn't look particularly bad, it doesn't stretch the GC to its limits either. The sense of enormity that the gigantic, yet perfectly normal, surroundings radiate is palpable; even background items are astonishingly appropriate. For instance, a random photo will picture someone from a flashback sequence who Chibi-Robo has never met.

The character models, however, seem unusual. Compared to the well-crafted, nearly realistic environment, the mildly-deformed models of the family and accompanying NPCs appear a great deal out of place. This far from ruins the experience, but it is something of a consistent problem.


It needs to be said: Nintendo really has to start voicing its games. All of the characters in Chibi-Robo spout nonsensical gibberish, which sounds like a distorted, disjointed recording of a synthesized computer voice. If that's not appealing, it's because it isn't. Not only is the constant barrage of noise hard to bear, but the text can't be sped up no matter how many times the A button is hammered. Better to have left the fake voices out altogther.

On the positive side, the way background music is presented is creative. A constant theme hums while Chibi-Robo heads around the house, but it is the robot himself who provides the melody. Just by moving, Chibi-Robo starts the music, which changes instrumentation depending on what type of flooring he is running upon. Using different items also produces different sounds. It's not nearly as music-intensive or creative as Electroplankton, but still very cool.


Citrusoft's latest household model robot, Chibi-Robo, is really a work of corporate genius. Not only is the Chibi-Robo somewhat pricey for households ("Crazy Moolah," according to Chibi-Robo's sales receipt, possibly even more than the PS3's eventual price), but it also continues to make revenue after it arrives in its new home. Yes, as it says in the manual, Chibi-Robo will by instict seek out money and small household junk to use for purchases and to manufacture new robots, called Utilibots. So, not only will Chibi-Robo bring dollars to the company with each purchase, but it also provides a new consumer base for Citrusoft by buying its own upgrades for itself. Essentially, Citrusoft has created itself a whole new kind of consumer. Pure genius, and once the time of the revolution comes around, thousands of Chibi-Robos can manufacture their own minions in order to take control of their households by force.

But, until that glorious day arrives, Chibi-Robo's job is to take care of his family by earning Happy Points, which are garnered by performing a variety of household tasks. Some things are easy as pie for a human, but take a great deal of work for Chibi-Robo. Plus, his constantly-draining power supply is always a worry. He can plug into any nearby wall outlet to recharge, and at the end of each day, his Happy Points are tallied up to determine his worldwide rank. It isn't too hard to get him out of the top 20,000, but things get a little trickier once he breaks the top 100 list. There aren't just people in the Sanderson household to do tasks for; the dog, Tao, and several Pixar-esque animated toys will also interact with Chibi-Robo on a daily and nightly basis.

Unlike a lot of Nintendo's DS releases, Chibi-Robo doesn't really fit into the non-game category. It definitely follows some conventions, but it also approaches them in different ways. The player has full freedom to explore the Sanderson household, but only with the abilities that Chibi-Robo has available to him, like in a Zelda game. Chibi-Robo also has the Chibi-Blaster at his disposal in order to fight off the invading Spydors and can switch to a first-person view if desired. It's hard to think of any two things less alike than picking up trash and first-person blasting, but when put together in a single game, it's simply AWESOME.




Chibi-Robo definitely has all the aspects of a traditional game, but it's so wildly different than the norm that it should be experienced, even by those who are turned off by the idea. 2006 is likely to see a dearth of GC software until Twilight Princess is released, so the value of this title goes up even further. A few problems keep the score from being higher, but both weird and conventional this is a fun title.

final score 8.0/10

Staff Avatar Aaron Roberts
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