What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game presents an uncomfortable family situation. The mom (whose nipples are visible under her tight top) has kicked the father out of the bedroom; she eventually asks for a divorce. The little daughter is so upset that she only speaks in frog language. The mother and father also represent extreme gender stereotyping, which older players may find amusing.
What's it about?
Players take on the role of CHIBI-ROBO, a 4-inch robot, in a house inhabited by 8-year-old Jenny Sanderson, her parents, and their dog. Your goal is to spread happiness, and, as you do, you earn cool new robotic items. At night, quirky toys come alive and need your help to solve problems within their toy world.
Because the player sees the world from the viewpoint of a tiny robot, it takes logic, creativity, and planning to move around. Players quickly learn to climb up electrical cords and hop on drawer knobs. While Chibi-Robo can earn happiness points by cleaning the house, the best way to earn them is to accomplish tasks such as crawling into the drain to retrieve Dad's wedding ring or finding a toy pirate's missing ship. Players must periodically fight Spydorz, spider-shaped robots that, when defeated, provide scrap metal to build Utilibots that in turn form ladders, bridges, and even warp drives to help Chibi-Robo get around the house more quickly.
Is it any good?
Unfortunately, this fascinating puzzle adventure is set in a world fraught with problems that are better dealt with by adults than children. Early on, Chibi-Robo discovers that the Sanderson family is having problems. Mr. Sanderson is unemployed, and Mrs. Sanderson doesn't work outside of the home, so family finances are tight. Mrs. Sanderson has kicked her husband out of the bedroom and later announces that she wants a divorce.
Throughout the game, Jenny is upset and only speaks as if she were a frog. While the game ends with family reconciliation, in large part with the help of Chibi-Robo, this uncomfortable family representation mars what could have been a charming kids' game. This title is best for teens and adults who enjoy puzzle adventures and can better handle the interpersonal problems the game presents.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about why the developers of this otherwise kid-appealing game would decide to set it in such a disconcerting, unstable family environment. Who is this game actually for? While the environment allows Chibi-Robo to save the day, how does the player feel about being part of the game's family?