Episode 130 – Leak This

leaking-tap Jack and Mike start out the show but Kelly soon joins. We talk about Halo leaks, Wii price cuts and Chibi-Robo is our WTF Japan of the week.

This Week in Gaming

Rumor Mill

  • A new version of the PS3 will be coming out that is significantly cheaper than the current $300 price tag.
  • Fable 3 part 2 is currently in development. Think of it like an expansion.
  • Your three favorite dwarves from the Dragon Age Series will be returning for Dragon Age 3. That’s Varric, Ogren, and Sandal. Why who were you thinking of?

WTF Japan

Robots are awesome, there is no denying that. Whether it’s watching Terminators blowing stuff up, Gundams blowing stuff up, or sentient Daleks exterminating, there is no shortage of entertainment to be had witnessing robots at work. But where is the fun to be had interacting and witnessing smaller robots, or robots who’s only duty is to clean up around the house? That’s the question that is presented to this week’s WTF Japan Game, Chibi-Robo!

Chibi-Robo! is a Gamecube title that was released in 2005 in Japan, and 2006 in the US and Europe. It was developed by Skip Ltd. in collaboration with Nintendo. Players take the role of “Chibi-Robo”, a tiny miniature robot who is bought by an unemployed father and taken in to his dysfunctional family. Within the family as well is a wife overstressed by how much money her deadbeat husband spends, and a socially withdrawn daughter who Chibi-Robo was the present for. The role for each Chibi-Robo is to create happiness for their respective families, which allow them access to more abilities such as flight with a propeller head, and a radar to find hidden objects. But our Chibi-Robo will find that it will be difficult to become the top Chibi-Robo in the world. Not only bring happiness to the fractured family, but also to solve the problems that the various toys are facing, prevent a tiny alien invasion from threatening the home. all the while doing chores such as cleaning the house and cooking food. Will our miniature hero manage to both save the household and prevent a divorce?

Chibi-Robo!’s gameplay involves controlling the tiny protagonist all around the house, starting off at the ground floor. Players maneuver through the large world of the home, finding spare change in crevices and defeating tiny aliens, while creating happiness from doing the various chores around the house and assisting the family and the toys with drama. The key reason for going the extra mile during the game is to expand the amount of time you can remain unplugged from a wall socket. Chibi-Robo uses a lot of energy to go about doing its duties, so it is essential for it to obtain more powerful batteries to be unplugged longer. When finding the AWOL members of the Free Rangers toy egg soldiers, or experiencing the drama between a dancing flower and a Lego T-Rex, you will need all the extra energy you can get. As the game progresses and you help everyone in the household become happy, you’ll be able to access the entire household from the attic to the basement. The overall objective of Chibi-Robo is to help everyone become happy (while also preventing a miniature alien invasion, no pressure.)

Chibi-Robo! was favourably received by critics upon initial release. Despite complaints about the mediocre quality of the graphics and repetitive game play elements, they were charmed by the presentation of a light happy world with a dark edge in its story and characters, as well as impressed by the unique premise. The game was not a blockbuster, but it did sell a good number of copies in Japan and in North America, sparking two DS sequels. Chibi-Robo!: Park Control was released both in Japan and North America, while Okaeri! Chibi-Robo! Happy Richie Ōsōji! was a Japan only release. As one who has bought and played Chibi-Robo back when it was first released, I enjoyed the charm of controlling a 4 inch servant in a Toy Story styled environment, while witnessing the presentation of a family whose problems are relevant in modern times (considering a good portion of video game families are either not presented or end up being killed). If you still have a Nintendo Gamecube and manage to find a copy of Chibi-Robo, I would recommend that you “Plug into Adventure!”

About MikeH

Gamer/Podcaster/Blogger - Mike, who is also known as Fimlys in the WoW community, is the Author of Asleep at the WoW Blog ( http://aatwow.fimlys.com ) and Co-Host on the Twisted Nether Blogcast (http://www.twistednether.net ) and HotsCast a Podcast about Heroes of the Storm. He also produces Polygamerous and does the web maintenance. An avid gamer, he's played since his parents first bought him an Atari 2600.. Back in the stone-age...