Review: Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero

Nathan Meunier | 6 Feb 2009 17:00
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There are some days when tossing furniture in all directions, tossing the contents of your closet across the living room floor and rampaging around the house seems dangerously appealing. But rather than actually trashing your abode in a bout of berserk spring cleaning, the quasi-psychokinetic powers of the capture gun in Elebits let you flick the Wii remote around like a baton of annihilation - quelling urges for wreaking real-world mayhem in the process. While Konami's Pokémon-ified DS sequel doesn't quite offer the same level of cathartic destruction, it packs an addictive punch in other ways.

In the original Wii game, a young, attention-starved boy named Kai gets fed up with his parents after they neglect him to obsessively pursue their research on Elebits - tiny energy-producing creatures that act as the world's main power source. Kai decides to go on an Elebit-collecting spree to exact his revenge on the little critters, but winds up making nice with an Omega Elebit named Zero by the time the credits roll. Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero on the DS picks up shortly thereafter, but it offers a handy recap for players who missed out on the first game. The story is more developed this time around, and a few not-so-subtle eco-friendly messages even creep into the game. The duo's new adventure kicks off when they stumble upon an anthropomorphic, time-traveling bus built by Kai's dad. While horsing around, they accidentally power the thing up and warp into another world: big whoops. Trapped in a strange dimension with no roadmap, Kai and Zero must explore the land to collect enough power, resources and Omega Elebits to warp off to the next locale in hopes of finding their way back home.

Though there are no households to upend in search of the elusive Elebits, you're still able to give Mother Nature a thorough shakedown. Kai's capture gun is more subdued; you won't be lifting cars or buildings into the air, but flinging rocks, shaking trees and grabbing bushes is all par for the course. The game makes great use of touch control, allowing you to effortlessly direct the power of the capture gun with the stylus in interesting ways. While all controls in the game can be handled with the stylus alone, using the D-pad for movement and utilizing the touch screen for other tasks will likely be a more natural fit for most players.

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