[Game review]“Elebits” has a very odd premise ― you’re a little kid who has to capture little electrical blobs with limbs to resolve a mysterious blackout ― but the result is an endearing, creative game that’s the most enjoyable, replayable single-player experience yet for the Wii.
In each stage, the player points the Wiimote “light gun” at objects, turns them over with a twist of the controller, and then shoots the Elebits hiding underneath. Capture enough of the tiny creatures and you’ll be able to activate machines from lawn mowers to phone booths, thus increasing the power of your light gun and enabling you to overturn heavier objects.
The biggest appeal of the game, besides its lush artistic design, lies in the havoc you can wreak on the domestic environment as your gun gains power. Hurling shrubberies and dumpsters into the air is distinctly satisfying (though there are sometimes penalties for breaking fragile objects). Mini-enemies and boss levels add spice to the gameplay.
Multiplayer is somewhat underimplemented, but a level builder that allows you to trade levels on the Internet adds endless variation. By Ben Applegate
Platform: Nintendo Wii
The “Densha de Go!” series puts train maniacs in the conductor’s seat, ready to speed imaginary passengers across an obsessively detailed recreation of the Japanese countryside to their destination. Naturally they arrive on time.
The first version of the game for the new Nintendo Wii offers the chance to get behind the lever of the Sanyo Shinkansen, the bullet train that runs from Osaka to the port of Hakata in Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu.
It may not sound very exciting to drive a vehicle guided by rails across the same course over and over again. And it’s not. But Taito does get some credit for trying as hard as humanly possible.
Having trouble controlling the train with the Wii remote? Try the nunchuk, or the classic controller. There’s even a special controller on sale shaped like a Shinkansen instrument panel, if you care to drop another 70,000 won. The gameplay itself hits you with a truly admirable variety of trains, weather conditions and timetables. But the “kids’ mode” is the only one that makes use of the Wii’s motion sensing.
This series is still strictly for train fans. By Ben Applegate
Densha de GO! Sanyo Shinkansen Edition
Genre: Train simulation
Platform: Nintendo Wii