A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Could potentially make kids consider how trash can be used as a means of energy recovery, the "fourth R" in the reduce, reuse, recycle environmental philosophy.
Positive Role Models
Nintendo's Chibi-Robo has a history of cleaning up after people, disposing of trash. He does similar work here, though now much more focused on fighting.
Ease of Play
Unusual control scheme comes with learning curve. Can be unforgiving on failure, forcing players to lose significant progress, even restart levels while also subtracting from energy reserves.
Violence & Scariness
A tiny robot uses his power cord as a whip against mechanical creatures that break apart in flashes of light before vanishing.
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Products & Purchases
Some treasures Chibi-Robo finds include Pez, Tootsie Rolls, Mentos mints. Has optional Amiibo additions for extra content.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash is a side-scrolling platformer adventure game with some mild cartoon violence. The game's hero, a tiny robot, fights off invading mechanical aliens using his power cord, which he slings around like a whip. Hits result in enemies bursting apart and disappearing in a flash of light. Beyond fighting, Chibi-Robo solves simple contextual puzzles and cleans up any garbage he comes across before incinerating it to generate the power on which he runs, much of which is branded from product like Mentos and Pez. There's also optional Amiibo gameplay tie-ins with the Chibi-Robo Amiibo. Note that while the game is safe for younger kids, the controls are a bit awkward at times and take patience to master.
Is It Any Good?
While the hero remains as cute as ever, some of the personality that defined his series has been lost here. The quirky and distinctive objectives of past games, which included tasks like cleaning and taking pictures, have been largely supplanted with generic running, jumping, and combat mechanics. And Chibi's key ability in this game -- using his power cord as a grappling hook and whip-like weapon -- feels a little awkward. Players need to adjust a targeting line to properly aim each toss, sometimes mid-jump. It breaks the flow of movement and can lead to costly mistakes that will force players to lose significant progress or even restart some levels. Plus, strange game design decisions -- like spinning a wheel used to randomly choose the next level, which can lead to replaying levels you'd rather not revisit -- are as likely to lead to frustration as they are to delight.
If you can grow accustomed to the less-than-intuitive controls, there's still fun to be had, thanks to a handful of imaginative levels and the tireless and persistent Chibi-Robo himself, who is easy to root for. Plus, players who opt for the version of the game that comes with a Chibi-Robo Amiibo figurine should enjoy levelling it up with points after each level and then using it to transform Chibi-Robo into a super-powered version of himself. Let's hope, though, that the next Chibi-Robo game returns our tiny tin hero to his charmingly eccentric roots as a household chore robot.
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