Electroplankton Reader Review
Well, I've managed to obtain a copy of Electroplankton and I think BIGsheep may well be right in what he thought. It is strangely limited, yet completely unlimited - the inability to mix the instruments is a bit of a shame, but the randomness of each instrument is actually enough in itself.
The lack of save function isn't really much of a worry - it really is about spontaneity and doing what the hell you feel like. But unless you take some time to understand each instrument and how to get the best sounds, then it can put people off.
Following on from the very first Electroplankton video that was released on the internet, I thought I'd recreate it with a slight twist [http://www.gamesrant.com/gamesrant/wp-content/eeleectroooplaanktoon.avi]. There is definately some novelty in the software and no doubt I'll be turning back to it every-now-and-again, but it's not the sort to stay in my NDS for long periods of time.
10 instruments are available for you to play with, all involving interation with the touch screen to get the plankton to sound-off:
Tracy - draw six lines for the six different plankton to follow. Each plankton is a light-sounding percussion instrument (i.e. no drums).
Hanenbow - plankton are launched from a leaf into the air to land and bounce off other leaves, emitting a xylophone sound. Leave can be rotated around its pivot.
Luminaria - four plankton, each emitting a different sounds (three 'ding' variations, one piano bass) and each moving at different speeds, are guided around a matrix of arrows. The arrows can be rotated every 45-degrees and each arrow has a set frequency for that sound.
Sun-Animalcule - placing the plankton-eggs, wait for them to hatch and then hiding; each create a sound (i.e. three sounds per plankton-egg), and frequency determined by placement position. The timing of each placement of plankton-egg is remembered, so you determine the speed. Up to 30 eggs at once.
Rec-Rec - a pre-determine speed of music, touching any one of the four plankton allows you to record a set length of audio through the microphone. See the video above.
Nanocarp - a number of free-swimming plankton which emit dream-like tingle/ding sounds when they collide with each other, or if they get puched by a wave you created by touching the screen.
Lumiloop - imagine the skill of running your finger around the edge of a crystal glass and it resonating, combined with spinning plates. Each of the five spinnable plankton emit slightly different tones, frequency varying depending on spin speed.
Marine-Snow - piano/xylophone sounding plankton that, when touched, swap places with the previously touched plankton.
Beatnes - made to the background music of classic SNES games; there are five lengths of plankton, each with head and a number of plankton-tail-segments. Each head has a sound effect, and the tail-segments have different frequency notes. Each plankton is different sounding.
Volvoice - Record audio through the microphone, up to 8-seconds, and play it back through different shaped plankton. Each shape distorts the audio differently.
Certain plankton instruments can have their displayed arrangement changed by pressing the Select button, and/or it resets the screen to a fresh state. The d-pad can be used to wipe up/down/left/right across the screen to make the plankton sound, change the arrow directions, or change the speed of the background music - the effect depends on the plankton being played with.
Finally, there are two modes to play Electroplankton; Performance or Audience mode. The former allows you to play with whatever you want. The latter is much like a demo mode - it selects a plankton and just plays with it, and after a while it will change to a different plankton. What's good is that you can join in whenever you like and change it - I don't know if it then switches to Performer mode.
The audio is superb and uses the frequency range and capability of the NDS very well; there's never a note that too low or high that causes you to cringe and pull you out of the experience. The only issue on this matter is when you have to record you own audio through the microphone - clearly Nintendo can't foresee what you're going to do, so if you squeal into the mic then it's your own problem.
I think Electroplankton has managed to get me into a hypnotic state already - I kind of just play around, listen and then start focusing way behind the NDS screen and the visuals just blur. But whether it is able to hold my attention for a long time is yet to be seen. Definately not a must-have piece of software (can't really say 'game') but if you come across it, it is worth a dabble. Unlimitedly limiting.