Elebits review

  • Making a huge mess
  • Activation puzzles
  • Mental storytelling
  • Repeating areas
  • Opening doors
  • So-so multiplayer

For all its creepy storytelling and Precious Moments-style character designs, Elebits is really nothing more than an elaborate game of hide and seek. Hundreds of electricity-spewing critters have gotten loose and it's your job to turn your house upside down and find them all. As you gather more of these living battery cells, objects in the area will activate, further empowering your proton pack - er, capture gun - to the point where it can lift chairs, refrigerators and eventually, entire houses.

And for the most part, that's all you do. From the very first level to the last, it all boils down to zapping, zapping and more zapping. While that may sound quite dull, there's some kind of sick joy we get from dismantling an immaculate kitchen or heading outside and flinging boats up onto rooftops. The tiny Elebits are tucked away in practically every corner of the world: underneath pillows, inside stoves, sleeping on top of chandeliers... anything's fair game for these little guys.

But after a few hours have passed and you've flung your 50th dining table across the room in pursuit of the Elebits, the "what the hell?" atmosphere starts to fade. It takes 10 levels to even make it outdoors (and even then parts of previous levels start repeating and showing up in new ones) and aside from a few restrictive gameplay goals, nothing ever, ever changes.

Most levels let you go nuts, making a huge ass mess just to find as many 'bits as you can in a given amount of time. Meet the goal and you've won. Later, you can't break objects, which forces you to gingerly place items like lamps or vases on the floor so they don't get smashed. Then you can't make a lot of noise. Then if you make too big a mess, a giant, spiked Elebit comes out and attacks you. They're not game-breaking moments, but when the gimmick is "tear the place apart," you need to let us tear the place apart.

The first-person perspective helps get you into the mess-making mayhem, and the remote aiming works flawlessly. The only time the whole motion control system breaks down is when you're trying to open or close items. See, Elebits doesn't just have you throwing things left or right, it also recognizes depth and lets you push or pull items in and out of the screen.

Zapping a turkey and placing it inside an oven, however, is way too tough. Everything you grab feels hollow and weightless, and tends to bounce around like crazy if it's not perfectly placed. It's times like these that you want to dive inside the TV, smack the little kid in the face and yell "just use your hands, dammit!"

Doors seem to have a hard time staying open or closed, too. Twisting the knob and popping them open is easy, but getting them to stay open while you run inside is a hassle. Cabinets and drawers suffer from a similar problem.

And even though there are several types of Elebits, the only one that seems to actually impact the game is the alarm-spamming red one. If it goes off, it'll alert other Elebits in the area, sending them in all directions for a better place to hide.

Repetition and control issues aside, Elebits still manages to entertain in a very primal way. There's something so visceral about completely demolishing an entire house and then not having to clean it up. Multiplayer options are limited, and are basically the single-player game with three more people gunning for the Elebits. Mailing custom-built levels to friends over WiiConnect24 is a cool bonus, but in a month or so, we doubt anyone will be enthused enough to keep the search party going.

More Info

Release date: Dec 12 2006 - Wii (US)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Action
Published by: Konami
Developed by: Konami
ESRB Rating:
Everyone: Cartoon Violence


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