by JSnake, reviewed on
Lots of puns and opportunities to poke fun
Just recently, Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol (hereon referred to as Chibi-Robo DS) was released to a limited audience. What I mean by that is that Nintendo decided to make the game a Walmart exclusive because, apparently Walmart is ecologically smart. You see, Chibi-Robo DS' main goal is to run around your park and plant flowers and just spruce up the place in general. You control Chibi-Robo, a friendly 4" tall robot. As you progress through the game, you will meet several different characters with their own personality who will help you develop your park. That's the major gist of the game, and while simple, the game is incredibly addicting and rewarding. Let's delve further.
In the context of the game, Citrusoft Technologies has just developed a new brand of Chibi-Robos. These iterations are designed to be ecologically-sound, and they are built to run on electricity, so they can run around and do their park business with no strings attached (pun intended). But one day, the evil Smogglor arrives at the park and notices that the park is turning not into the junk-yard he wanted, but a wonderful and beautiful place. He then sends his Smogglings (yeah, this game is full of puns) out to the park to do his evil bidding, mainly, making the park ugly. So, of course it's up to our pal, Chibi-Robo to save the day! Pretty bare-bones story, yes, but it's part of the game's irresistible charm. To its credit, it leaves a lot of room for puns and opportunities to poke fun at itself which all just add to the charm of the game.
Gameplay wise, Chibi-Robo DS' main gimmick is that Chibi runs on electricity. This means that while he can run around and explore without having to be plugged into an outlet, he also needs to charge himself up from time to time by going to his house and plugging himself in. However, as players progress through the game, they can buy larger batteries for Chibi which increases his battery life. Naturally, this opens up new areas of exploration since you can now travel longer distances without having to recharge.
Slowly building up Chibi's life-span is surprisingly addicting and it is yet another thing that gives the game its own personality. Unfortunately, the game also starts off slow because of this. Essentially, players are completely confined to a tiny section of their park for the first hour and a half because of Chibi's meager battery life. On the bright side, the game certainly picks up and players are soon able to walk into town and that's where many adventures unfold.
The thing is, though, is that these are really all just means to an end. Throughout the game, your only real goal is to plant flowers and generally pretty up the park. To accomplish this, you take out your trusty squirt gun (that seems to never run out of water) and water the flower buds until they blossom into beautiful, full-grown flowers. If you run out of flower buds to water, you can go to any white-colored flower, take out your radio, and dance to some tunes. When the flowers get their groove on, more flower buds will burst out of the ground. Every time you reach a milestone in the number of flowers in the park, you will gain a new item. These range from a tiller which allows you to turn sand into soil (flowers can only grow in soil), to a clipper which allows you to pick flowers and sell them for happy points. Really, the progression the game takes is strangely addicting and it will have many gamers hooked and they will be especially eager to plant those flowers.
No Pros and Cons at this time