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Elebits (Wii) Preview

The Nintendo Wii is the hot topic, the buzzwords that are currently on the tip of everyone's tongues in the gaming Industry. Veteran developer Konami has confirmed it is to release a launch title for the platform, and it is a completely new property by the name of Elebits! But does it look like it will actually be any good? Adam Riley takes a closer look...

The first thing that really does deserve a mention is that Elebits is the brainchild of producer Shingo Mukatoge. Not heard of him? Well, he is the genius mind behind the Drum Mania, Guitar Freaks and Beat Mania rhythm games, and he seems to be taking a welcomed break from that genre for the quirky looking Elebits. Also of note, the game's director is Akihiro Ishihara.

When first revealed in Japan's gaming Bible Famitsu, the first impressions were that this was nothing more than Konami's take on the popular Nintendo franchise, Pikmin. And to be honest, from just looking at the initial artwork and screens, it would not be too crazy an assumption. However, this adventure promises to be vastly different from that cute little RTS series. The game aims to train players throughout, with it only being a single-player adventure at the moment, as you search here, there and everywhere for the tiny creatures, the Elebits. Each one of the strange little 'bits has a different attribute or skill, making them quite useful in various different ways. You are about to enter an unusual world, but the ride is set to be an immensely enjoyable one.

Their name comes partly from the fact that they are so small ('bits'), but also because they prove to be the energy source of the world around you ('Ele'). This means that the more of them that you capture as you move around the game's world, the more their energy is harnessed and fed into this world to make it evolve in mysterious ways. But the Elebits will not simply lie down and wait for you to merely stumble across them, oh no! Instead you will have to hunt them down in any way you can if you to progress in the correct manner. It has been reported that the game revolves around three main concepts, with it allowing gamers to actually feel like they are touching inside the TV screen, giving people the opportunity to find many things simply by moving stuff around, and the tiny new creations, the Elebits themselves.

Screenshot for Elebits on Wii

The mission that Konami gave itself was to create an experience on the Nintendo Wii that could not be replicated elsewhere. Hmm, but when this was being made the PlayStation 3 did not have motion sensing in its controller...so who knows now! But seriously, the areas within Elebits are so dependent on the Wii controller that it would really require a complete remake to map this to another system and it proves that developers are clearly readying themselves for this 'paradigm shift' that Nintendo is bringing to the table. In Elebits, gamers will be able to take full control of the environments they encounter, with movements via the Wii-mote being relayed to the game to reproduce the actions on-screen! This is part of the reason why some critics have (in a positive way) labelled it as the spiritual successor to Namco's Katamari Damacy.

Some of the stages have been created in such a way that you will be able to complete them in under ten minutes, as Konami is attempting to sell Elebits to as wide a market as possible, since the target age-group of the Wii is currently unknown. However, although some levels are this short, the amount of secret content littered throughout will be more than enough to attract core gamers. There is also consideration being given to adding other aspects to Elebits, such as online functionality, but these are to be looked into when the single-player mode is developed more, apparently.

Screenshot for Elebits on Wii

The game works in a first-person perspective, with players being able to wander around the world in search of the elusive 'bits. Using the Wii controller, you can literally get your grubby mitts on whatever you please and throw it around as much as you desire in order to either just cause general mayhem or actually go about the task of uncovering the 'bits. And this can all be done using the special motion sensors of the Wii controller! But it must be mentioned that both controllers are actually used, with the analogue pad acting as the camera and for general movement, whilst you can then aim with the remote control-style controller and either fire your gun at the Elebits or move around to point at anything you want, then click A and hold it to drag, lift and push items about, letting go of A to drop or throw them afterwards.

It is all so simple, yet all reports point to it being extremely addictive. Being able to throw things around acts as such a fun element, just like the fun that could be had with Katamari, except now you really feel like you have total control. One of the demonstrations on offer at E3 started off in a kitchen with all the normal utensils and kitchenware there to be destroyed with a simple flick of the wrist

Screenshot for Elebits on Wii

But why are we all actually bothering to collect these Elebits, you may wonder? Well, as mentioned earlier they are the energy source of the world. Yet for some reason they become quite awkward and suddenly stop generating this energy and the world quickly begins to suffer the consequences. This means that when you first start the final game you are faced merely with a dark room and it all builds up from there as when you collect the first few 'bits, light begins to gradually pour in, brightening your surroundings. And once you expand your playing area, the possibilities for further exploration continue to increase. All your efforts pay off, giving you a much wider space to work within. And it is not all contained in a housing location, as Konami has plans to stretch out into townscapes as well to add variety for gamers.

Whilst the outside scenes currently look quite sparse, with nary enough detail to be considered 'next generation' quality, Elebits is actually one of the stronger looking Third Party games. The imp-like characters themselves look like evolved versions of Pikmin, with great detail and character given to them. The inside locations also look quite impressive indeed, but at the moment the game still requires a lot of work, and Konami will finally have its completed (~90-95%) development kits to flesh out the style some more before it hits its expected launch date alongside the Nintendo Wii. With Konami stating it has not had much trouble with development thanks to the similarities between the Wii internal structure and that of the GameCube, plus the fact that Nintendo has been on-hand to provide support, it is safe to say that Elebits could well be one of the technical marvels on Day One. And for this particular title, the built-in physics system of the Wii will definitely benefit the hands-on control mechanic.

At the current standing, Konami is saying the game will take around fifteen hours for advanced gamers to complete, which would translate to anything between twenty or thirty hours for average players. Plus, factor in the amount of stuff included that can be collected after the main adventure has been finished and the fact that Konami is at the moment considering making use of the WiConnect24 system for updates and new content, and may even include some multi-player aspect, and you are left with a pretty complete package for a launch game.

Screenshot for Elebits on Wii

Worth waiting for?

Konami has always been a strong supporter of Nintendo in the past, although with the Nintendo 64 and GameCube that support had started to wane slightly. However, the company is back with a bang now in the form of Elebits. If this launches well from Day One, perhaps this may even turn into a long-term franchise. From the look of it now, it definitely deserves a lot of attention. A hidden gem in the Nintendo Wii line-up...

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18.05.2006

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Also known as

Elebits

Developer

Konami

Publisher

Konami

Genre

Adventure

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (6 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Preview

oh my God, thats so weird... this looks like a rip off of an idea that my friend came up with a few years ago :lol: he'll be pissed off to see this :lol:

Co-founder of the PDSLB - Pink DS Lite Buddies Fraz: Cheerios are made from fairy orgasms.

The video looked fun.

Please give our little random review show a try;
http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
We have special effects and umm...stuff...

"since the target age-group of the Wii is currently unknown."

Someone hasn't been paying attention....I think the answer is fairly obvious.

And about the PS3, it couldn't do it because it would need a sensor bar...which it doesn't have (at the moment).


Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I don't think the answer is fairly obvious at all, actually. You have games like Spongebob and Cars coming, but also the likes of Disaster: Day of Crisis, Red Steel, Project HAMMER and even a grown-up looking Mario in the form of Super Mario Galaxy.

Everything I've heard about Elebits points towards it appearing slightly young in slant, but being deep enough to please all gamers.

As for the PS3, it's also the fact that it's a two-handed controller, not a single like the Wii-mote.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

it looks like a really cool game even though it looks really really strange, the video was nice didnt explain too much for me though. with all that tho its going near the top of my list for wii games when its released!! :Smilie


i wanna play i wanna play...i like this kind of weird stuff

The whole manipulation thing is a LOT like HL2's Gravity Gun, and even more like Garry's Mod's physgun. It's even got the same blue beam and rotation functions... Though the Wiimote is a bit better for controlling it.

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