Electroplankton Nintendo DS Review
Welcome to the game that is not a game, but believe me it is a game but Nintendo want you to believe different! This game that is not a game is all sorts of fun. Let me tell you guys a story! Or sing you a song… If you dare listen!
Ever since I first saw screenshots of Electroplankton I had been very interested in its premise, though all the hype, I had only downloaded one video so I could watch the game in motion and that one video I chose to download made little sense to me, so I waited and waited. The weeks turned into days and then the days into hours and the hours into minutes. Then the mail man decided to make me wait a few more days until a small package arrived for me late last Thursday. Then I opened and by god, was I ever confused. Highly entertained but extremely confused!
To review this title is very awkward as everyone will have a different experience while playing. Some people will love its premise and will mess about it for hours upon hours, while others will just not “get it.” So instead of going down the conventional DarkZero route I will instead talk about the 10 different mini games (musical applications) that you can mess about in and what you can hope to create in each.
Tracy: The first option you will encounter while you begin the game is titled Tracy. It involves six different planktons and gives you the ability to draw lines for them to follow. Long Lines will produce different sounds than short lines and a line drawn slowly will result in a different sound than a line drawn quickly. Tracy is an interesting but fun introduction into the possibilities of Electroplankton.
Hanebow: Although Hanebow is simpler in appearance than Tracy, it still offers lots of exciting musical options. Hanebow involves pink tadpole like plankton, a plant and a leaf (see it is weird!). Changing angles by rotating the leaf will result in different noises which will result in the plankton making even more different sounds when they hit the plant. You don’t control them directly like you did in Tracy. Simple but fun!
Luminaria: Incredibly simple but one of the most exciting. Luminaria will result in many different exciting compositions. It involves four different planktons each occupying a different corner of the screen. Hit them and they will start moving (each one of them at a different speed than the other). They move along semi-predetermined paths with arrows scattered around them. The players can control the different arrows which will once again result in different sounds.
Sun-Animalcule: This game will not result in immediate effect, but once you give it time to grow, it will result into some nice effects. You must plant the planktons and watch them grow. You can plant as many or as little as you want and can place them anywhere you want to as well. All these decisions result in what music will happen to come at the end.
Rec Rec: Anyone who is interested in the game will have no doubt heard of Rec Rec at some point. Rec Rec uses the DS microphone to great effect. Touch on one of the fish on screen and say something into the microphone, and the fish will repeat it. As surreal as that sounds it is weirdly addictive. There are a total of four fish and a backbeat to use to make a never-ending selection of weird techo/rap sounding tracks, with all the surroundings in your environment to use as samples to add to them.
Nanocarp: Chain reactions from ripples are use in Nanocarp. There are fifteen planktons on screen, each of which reacts to ripples which are caused by tapping on the screen. Each time a ripple hits one of the planktons it emits a sound and emits a small ripple of it own, which can hit other planktons which will result in them making a sound. This can be built up to produce something that sounds quite original.
Lumiloop: Undoubtedly the simplest of the bunch Limiloop gives you a chance to make the sounds by just rubbing in circles on the touch-screen. The faster you rub, the stronger the melody the planktons will produce. With 5 different planktons available here and a different melody produced depending on which way you rub, there is not as much to do as in the other applications but it can be fun for a while.
Marine-Snow: Dancing Snowflakes! Every game should have them! Tap them and they make a sound with each one producing a different kind. It plays like a Piano and it is the most normal true to life application in the game.
Beatnes: Fantastic retro fun but very hard to explain. Beatnes give you the chance to remix the old 8bit Nintendo titles by poking on a selection of five different plankton tails. Poking different parts of these tales give you different sounds so there is a lot to mess about it this game!
Volvoice: And to round things off, the last application is Volvoice. This is different from all the others but is slightly similar to Rec Rec. You can record samples into the microphone by touching one of the sixteen balloons and once recorded, the balloons start to deform what you recorded. It will also mess with your voice if you want it to. Each of the balloons offer different options but overall, Volvoice is not very in-depth. It is great in short bursts!
Now you know how it plays! Electroplankton is fanatic for ten minute stints while on the bus or train, and also fantastic for hour long composing sessions while at home. Only your imagination limits your expansion in Electroplankton; if you think of something you can more or less recreate it in-game with enough tinkering about. You will never create two pieces of music that sound the same. Whoever plays it – no matter what their gaming skill level – will create something unique and different. Every time you pick it up you will hear and do something you never did before. Now, any title that can do all of the above must be something special and that’s why Electroplankton is a little bit weird but very, very special!
Innovation is what Nintendo promised when they unveiled the DS and innovation is what Electroplankton is. Highly original and like nothing you have ever seen or played before. Sadly, the title looks like it will never make its way to the US let and it has a snowball’s chance in hell of ever seeing the light of day Europe, so importing seems to be to only way to go. It’s definitely worth the slight hassle of importing though, the game hasn’t left my DS in a week and I can see myself messing about with this for months to come. Infinite, limitless fun for people of any ages.
8.9 out of 10