Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder Game Poster Image

Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder

(i)

 

Fun little photography adventure may motivate chore-doing.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn a bit about photography while practicing useful skills such as measurement estimation. The augmented reality activities here are pretty basic, but they involve taking real pictures with the 3DS’s camera and may get kids thinking about how to properly frame their subjects. A separate activity involving measurement requires kids to ascertain a frame of reference for length, then try to pull out a measuring tape to match a given distance. Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder isn’t an educational sensation, but it does make kids consider and plan out their actions.

Positive messages

The unusual and uneven story contains light themes about the importance of historical preservation of artifacts and keeping a clean home. Grander messages aren't readily apparent, though the game may instill an interest in photography in some kids. 

Positive role models

Chibi-Robo is a robot who wants to do right by his friends. He completes simple tasks for them that involve cleaning, collecting, and taking pictures. He doesn't talk, but players should get the sense he just wants to do some good.

Ease of play

Instructions are provided frequently and repeatedly throughout the game, ensuring players are never lacking for ideas about what to do or how to do it. It's unlikely kids will get stuck. However, achieving top marks in some tasks will take time, if only because it can sometimes be a matter of guesswork. 

Violence & scariness

Chibi-Robo can fall off ledges, reducing his power. If he runs out of power he collapses, is collected, and later is revived at a power outlet. A mini-game involves shooting non-living targets (balloons, clay chips) as they fly through the air. 

Language
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Consumerism
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder is a game available only via download for Nintendo 3DS. It’s a light-hearted augmented-reality adventure in which players explore realistic environments in a home, doing things such as cleaning and vacuuming. They'll sometimes have the chance to use the 3DS's camera to take pictures of household objects such as soda cans and T-shirts. There's no iffy content at all, but a lot of reading is required as well as some patience and experience navigating three-dimensional environments in games (it's easy to fall off ledges in some areas).   

Kids say

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What's it about?

Available only as a downloadable title through Nintendo’s eShop for 3DS, CHIBI-ROBO: PHOTO FINDER puts players in control of a four-inch-tall robot working for the curator of a museum. His primary objective is to run around taking pictures of household items (players do this using the 3DS's built-in camera) that are then replicated as three-dimensional objects and displayed in the museum to attract visitors. However, to earn the film necessary to take these pictures, kids have to do chores around a house, such as picking up garbage and recycling it or using a tiny vacuum to clean up spots of dust. Players also can engage in specific tasks, such as a measurement-guessing game involving a tape measure or a shooting-gallery game that involves taking aim and firing a little blaster at balloons and clay skeets. More activities and tasks unlock as the game progresses and Chibi-Robo fills additional cases in the museum.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Whether kids have fun with this little downloadable adventure will depend largely on their ability to digest the game's odd presentation. The unusual household activities -- such as trying to find a pork belly amid various ingredients in a fridge so a pair of talking mustard and ketchup bottles can prepare dinner -- are attended by bizarre scenes in which strange characters do a lot of talking about nothing in particular. Kids will either get the weird humor or they won't.

If they do, they'll likely have a lot of fun not only with the strange mini-games but also the photo-snapping core of the experience. Tracking down and then properly framing the objects the curator wants to display in his gallery -- a book, a CD, a paper cup with a straw -- is fun and can be surprisingly challenging. The resulting 3-D objects are kind of cool-looking and may even contain surprises such as collectible stamps if you examine them closely enough in the game. It's well worth the $9.99 price -- assuming you can get down with the peculiar Japanese vibe. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about housecleaning. Would you like to have a little robot helper do your chores? Do you think tiny automatons like Chibi-Robo will ever exist?

  • Families also can discuss photography. Did you have a hard time finding the proper subjects for the game's augmented-reality photography segments? Were you able to come up with suitable alternative objects to those that were recommended? 

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Subjects:Language & Reading: reading
Math: measurement
Arts: photography
Hobbies: collecting
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, prediction
Creativity: making new creations
Price:$9.99
Available online?Available online
Developer:Nintendo
Release date:January 9, 2014
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Robots
ESRB rating:E for Mild Fantasy Violence

This review of Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder was written by

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