Elebits - first impressions

Hidden creatures crying out for the catching: that pitch initially sounded so cynical. It would be easy to write Elebits off as a lazy recharging of Pokemania against a domestic backdrop that calls to mind Chibi-Robo or even Toy Story. The result, however, seems likely to be far more surprising.

And the biggest surprise of them all is the slow-dawning realization that Elebits is, in essence, a first-person shooter - albeit an FPS reduced to first principles and then rebuilt with an entirely different focus.

As Japanese audiences spend considerably less time viewing their virtual worlds down the barrel of a gun than those in the West, Elebits unites with whacked-out shooter Killer 7 in imagining what the genre might look like divested of a near-decade's worth of baggage. Gone are the rust-ridden corridors and gothic details. Gone are the blood splatters and headshots.

Instead we have kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms - bright, shiny spaces where your prey lurks inside kettles, or underneath the sink. And you're not killing it anymore, of course, just collecting it.