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July 3, 2014 (Originally posted on Tumblr)

Chibi-Robo Photo Finder Review

So, I figured I’d write a review here since you can’t really do that on eShop. It’s long so…

I was pretty excited when a Chibi-Robo game was announced for the 3DS, and it was coming to the West. However, there’s something really preventing me from enjoying this one. Is it how it’s not really the third entry in the series, which was only released in Japan and actually sort of continues the story in the first game? Maybe. But there’s a lot more to it.

Let me explain the gameplay. You do tasks to earn Happy Points, like before, but these tasks are now mainly just minigames you pull up from a menu. It’s more of a minigame collection than anything. Now, Chibi-Robo does have its share of minigames of sorts generally, but this is literally mostly minigames. And not many are that great. The better ones are the ones involving the Chibi Blaster (laser gun), mostly. The worst ones are the ones in the kitchen and eventually on the deck of a boat, which involve ingredients and racing chicken.

Let me also state that this game has some of the most horrifying characters in the series, that you are supposed to sympathize with. There’s a weird slimy squid who acts like a jerk, the probably gay-for-each-other ketchup and mustard chefs with scary faces, and this creepy fuzzy gremlin thing. Who has siblings. I’m all for strange characters, but… It’s difficult.

Among the better characters are a toy robot, and, of course, Drake Redcrest. The robot also has some of the most infuriating minigames, like a guess the distance one. But keep in mind that you’re guessing fictional distance roughly in scale to your character and there’s a weird angle thing going on too. The other? Minesweeper but with no clues whatsoever and you just jump on boxes to hope they don’t explode. I have no idea how I managed to pass that game once and without hitting a single bomb in the process, but it may have been cheating accidentally or luck.

The best part of the game in my opinion is the explore mode, which is a lot more like the old games in that you run around an area, clean it, find secrets, and chat up the locals to try to solve plots. Except there’s not really many plots to be found there, mostly the main story outside of those. That just makes me want a more traditional Chibi-Robo even more, and not minigames. In fact, one of the minigames is about cleaning, which is sort of what the main game should be about anyway. And it’s hosted by a sponge dancing bear that vomits vacuum bags. I took video of it.

Oh, right, what do you do with Happy Points in this game? You spend them on film. Which you use to take pictures with the actual cameras on the 3DS. But not just any. You have to find “household” items. Why quotes? Because I don’t even have half of what they asked me for for real and had to improvise with Internet searches. Oh, and those I did have? I had to put a lot of lighting on them to get an acceptable score because the cameras are not the best, but that’s not the game’s fault. It even gives you a lot of leeway to take pictures, but sometimes it will just not work anyway.

The main part of the game focuses on taking pictures. Sometimes of really specific things, other times you can just sort of find a vague enough shape somewhere. I like the vague shape thing better because not all of us have those certain consoles with us, and so on. Still, the photography should have been more of a side thing in a more full game.

I should also point out the fact that the game is sort of prone to crashing and save data corruption. Both happened to me, and I’m not happy, because I’m not going to be playing this one again.

Long story short, it might not be worth $10. Maybe $5. If only eShop had Steam Sales. And if only Nintendo and related could realize the same that they do for most other franchises, to not screw with the formula immensely and end up with something that could have gone a lot better. However they somehow manage to experiment with Kirby fairly decently, so… It’s mainly disappointment in this case. It felt more like a grind than a game but taunted something better.

Arbitrary score: 2/10

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