What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this handheld sequel to Konami's popular Elebits for Wii is a safe bet for chidlren. Kai, the game's protagonist, is a likable and genuinely good dimension-travelling kid who is just looking for a way to return to his own world. There's not much fighting (the goal of the game is to capture elebits for their abilities and energy rather than kill them), and there are plenty of clever environmental puzzles to solve.Kids need to be able to read to play this game.
What's it about?
In ELEBITS: THE ADVENTURES OF KAI AND ZERO, players take on the role of Kai, a young boy who finds himself travelling from one dimension to another after a bus he boards goes haywire due to the power contained within his pet elebit, Zero. He spends the rest of the game shuffling about different planes of existence, helping locals with various problems, capturing certain elebits to charge up his power reserves, and adding other, rarer elebit types to his own personal menagerie so that he can use their special powers.
The resulting experience feels rather like a Pokemon game with a tad of The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass thrown in, thanks to its large collection of clever environmental puzzles that require players to make innovative use of the elebit abilities they have gathered. Its low level of violence makes it a good bet for kids, so long as their reading level is adequate to handle the game's frequent text conversations, which sometimes provide vital mission information.
Is it any good?
This accessible and highly entertaining action adventure game makes great use of the DS's touch screen interface. The entire game can be played using only the stylus to perform simple and intuitive actions. You tap the elebits running around the screen to mark them for capture, then tap Zero, who races about and picks them up, charging Kai's battery in the process. The energy collected is used to power gates, move platforms and elevators, and power up the rare omega elebits that Kai collects, increasing the strength of their magical abilities. These abilities are key in solving most of the game's intriguing environmental puzzles. Players will need to spray glyphed statues with matching elements to reveal their secrets, shatter boulders with punches, and move large metal balls around with the power of magnetism. The puzzles are well conceived, and some are real head-scratchers.
The only time The Adventures of Kai and Zero takes a downturn is when the player is forced to run around hunting for generic elebits to charge up Kai's battery. They're not hard to find, but tapping and capturing gets old after a while. It's the equivalent of running around looking for random boss battles to level-up a character in a role-playing game. This one issue aside, there's little not to like about the elebits' second escapade.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the notion of multiple dimensions. Do you think that other worlds might exist alongside our own? What might they be like? You can also discuss the idea of capturing monsters rather than fighting or killing them. Other games, such as those in the Pokemon series, have done something similar -- and to great success. Do you find collecting creatures to be as much fun as battling them?