Chibi-Robo! Reader Review

“The court calls not-discredited-at-all lawyer Jock Timpson to present the prosecution summary. Mr Timpson, please proceed.”

JT: Your honour, [wipes froth from mouth before lighting cigar with $100 bill] with this “Robo Chubby” game, we have just the latest example of the depravity of those who make and play videogames. Take the name, for example...

Defence attorney Phoenix Wright: Objection, your honour, as I've already said umpteen times, this game is called Chibi-Robo, not Robo Chubby. And it's really quite sweet.

JT: Oh is it? Perhaps, then, you can explain why the game encourages the relentless pursuit of so-called “Happy Points”? It's quite clear that Beelzebub's minions within the games industry are encouraging our children to experiment with drugs! Won't anybody think of the children?

PW: Your honour, these happy points are simply your reward for doing good deeds in the game. Your Chibi-Robo character has been placed in one of America's more average families, complete with frog-obssessed disturbed child and dysfunctional relationships...

JT: [With visibly throbbing vein on his forehead] FROGS? See, I knew those crafty French had to be involved somewhere! Your honour, this game is nothing but an evil assault on the great American way of life. It's practically terrorism.

PW: If I may just continue, your honour. I was referring to frogs of the amphibian kind. It's your job to bring harmony to this struggling household, primarily through simple acts of kindness like cleaning. As you collect more Happy Points, you get new abilities which enable you to help the inhabitants in more ways. Not just the people, but the toys which come alive at night.

JT: Your honour, I ask you to consider the evidence. Frogs; happy points; living toys. If this isn't the product of a drug-addled force of malice trying to CORRUPT THE CHILDREN, then what is? I don't understand it, so it's clearly evil! Why, only this morning I had a poor mother weeping, WEEPING I TELL YOU, as she recounted how her previously ordinary child had taken to tidying up after playing this game. The poor little one had even given up on his previous hobby of collecting firearms sold at Wal-Mart. This game is the biggest threat facing America today, make no mistake.

PW: It's nothing of the sort. It's simply a well-designed, compact little game. The threat comes in the form of Spydorz, robotic insects that leave scrap metal when destroyed with your Chibi-Blaster. This scrap metal can be recycled into...

JT: IT HAS RECYCLING TOO? Next they'll be trying to tell us that climate change isn't a conspiracy by dirty foreign types. Your honour, these depraved lunatics must be stopped.

PW: Er, riiiight. As I was saying, the scrap metal can be recycled into little tools to help you in your mission to create a happy house. It really is a fun little game, you should try it. While it's hardly thrill-a-minute, traipsing around the house, admiring the scenery from the perspective of a four-inch-tall robot is enjoyable by itself. It's flawed, admittedly: it does get annoying having to find a plug socket to recharge from every few minutes, but this forms an integral part of the difficulty curve so we'll let it go. Sometimes you'll find yourself wishing you could just explore without having to keep an eye on the clock, but it's far from the first game to have this flaw (which is mitigated somewhat by the ability to set the length of the in-game day/night cycle to 5, 10 or 15 real-time minutes). Despite this, I defy you not to smile when Chibi first strikes his superhero pose, or hover about with his helicopter blades sticking out of his head, or when you water a wilting plant with a syringe.

JT: Is there no end to this sickness? Your honour, syringes are drugs paraphenalia, as you know. BAN THIS SICK FILTH!

PW: Your honour, do you think if we all ignore Mr Timpson, he'll go away? Because he really doesn't know what he's talking about. This is an example of all that's nice about games, and the perfect antidote to a night of slaying hookers in GTA. The balance of exploration and just-taxing-enough puzzles is struck just right, but above all this game has charm. Even the sound effects, with the expected noises replaced by musical tones, made me chuckle to myself. If this doesn't fill you with childish glee, then I'm afraid you're dead inside: if you've got an unloved Gamecube knocking about, then you really owe it to yourself to check Chibi-Robo out.

8 / 10

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