The latest title in the Chibi-Robo series, Photo Finder, has made its way to North America's 3DS eShop this week with one minor, hilarious omission.
Conceptually, games should function as entertainment on two levels: firstly, to make the impossible possible, and secondly, to make the mundane enjoyable. The GameCube's Chibi-Robo happened to swing more towards the latter of those, with its little robot helper putting the fun into picking up litter, cleaning floors, and other such drudgery in the middle of solving a bit of domestic strife. In other words, we liked it a lot, recommended it to all and, as is our luck, saw the world largely ignore it. Blame that on the game being given a low-key release in the GC's twilight hours (and there were certainly a lot of them), but chances are you missed out on what, given developer Skip's heritage, was one of those rare non-first-party games that epitomised the cute, colourful aesthetics of Nintendo's own work on the fated purple box.
This DS off-shoot, then, wants to give us another chance to see why. This time Chibi's out of the house and into the fresh air, tasked with turning round the fortunes of an empty, run-down park for no more reason than an in-built servitude chip in his tiny silicon brain.
The chief way to do this is to plant and water enough flowers to regenerate the barren soil. Playing music and dancing (by spinning a dial on the touch-screen) makes flowers spit out new seeds which float onto new patches of ground, and pumping water onto them lets them bloom, and so on until you've revitalised each section of the park. Plant a set quota and you gain access to new items and upgrades which make the work easier. More blooms also advance the story; as your nature-hating nemesis tries to scupper your plans by constantly unleashing little monsters that like nothing more than to drain the colour from your hardy perennials.