Spectrobe /spek trõb/ n. 1 fossilized creature awakened by the power of yelling, featuring three evolutionary stages and ready for a lifetime of battling servitude. 2 a bit like Pokémon. 3 but it’s not. 4 honest.
It’s impossible to describe monster-collecting titles without Pikachu and chums appearing and dancing a jig on your mental cogs - and it’s a smug jig at that, the jig of a self-satisfied franchise that knows it rules the gaming roost and refuses to evolve as a result of it. Well, along comes Spectrobes - ready to smack the jigging fool in the face with its own rhythm stick.
Instead of dull Pokéball lobbing, spectrobes must be excavated in fossilized form - resembling copper dog feces - by using drills, solvents and explosives mapped to the stylus. In a particularly nice touch, excess rock dust can be cleared away by blowing into the DS mic. The game is pretty generous with the amount of accidental whackage a fossil can sustain but the archaeology is quite fun in a Tony Robinson sort of a way.
Awakening fossils is achieved by speaking into the mic and maintaining a particular sound level, ranging from low telephone stalker-style heavy breathing to loud yelping and/or screaming. Needless to say, this isn’t a game that’s well-suited to public transport.