developed by skip co. ltd./published by Nintendo/2007.09.24
1 player/1 flash-ROM/Nintendo DS
Having thoroughly enjoyed the highly original and inventive Chibi-Robo! on the Gamecube, I decided to pick up the DS sequel, Chibi-Robo! Park Patrol. Having read some reviews that said it was only passable or mediocre, I wasn’t expecting much. As it turns out it’s a very different sort of game, but a decent time waster nonetheless.
Park Patrol puts the player in the role of Chibi-Robo once again, but this time his job is to restore a barren yard to a beautiful green park. By tilling the soil, planting flowers, and adding items of your choosing (trees, water fountains, benches, and play structures), you can return the park to its former glory.
As in the original game, there is a time limit of about 10 to 15 minutes per day. At the end of each day, you are automatically returned to the Chibi-House (your base of operations), to recharge and tally your score. Chibi-Robo himself also has a limited battery life, and will need to recharge should he run out of juice.
The park itself is a square grid divided into 7×7 large tiles. You can freely arrange the walking paths, streams, and landscaping to your liking. For example, you can add hills or valleys that push the terrain up or down, or run a path over a stream (which makes a small bridge). All of this hard work is actually done by Chibi’s friends from town, whom he enlists, that don’t come cheap. Every job requires electricity, which is the game’s currency.
Happy Citizens, Happy Points
In order to make electricity, you’ll need to make people happy. Happy Points can then be transferred into power, which is then stock-piled for later use. At first Chibi-Robo’s battery life is very short, but you’ll buy upgrades and eventually you’ll have an infinite supply.
Just outside the park there is a flower shop (you earn major Happy Points for delivering flowers from the park), a Monkey Burger fast-food joint, and a back alley. These areas are easily accessible and are home to a number of toys that will need electricity to be revived. Once revived, the toys will go to work for you in the park.
Like in the original Chibi-Robo, the toys in Park Patrol have unique problems and a favorite food. By collecting chocolate bars, candy canes, bubblegum, and more from the trash left near the park, you can boost your plastic pals’ friendship rating. The better friends you are with each character, the cheaper their labor becomes.
Helping out the citizens and renovating the park would be entirely too easy (not to mention boring) if it weren’t for something standing in your way. And that’s where Sargent Smoggler comes in. The stock villain of the piece, Smoggler attacks from time to time by sending smoglings and smog-globs into the park to ruin your flowers or damage your structures.
You can easily dispatch any smoglings before they do much damage, and for the most part the game even warns you when a smogling attack is about to occur. As such, they’re really just paper tigers, but they do a good job of mixing things up before you get bored, sort of like the natural disasters in Sim City.
Chibi-Robo Park Patrol may not be as good as the original, but it’s hard to compare them since they are such different games. Park Patrol does make excellent use of its setting, allowing you a great deal of customization of the park. Though it is simple, the game does have its share of intricacies which I don’t have time to go into.
Unlike most DS games, the controls in Chibi-Robo (aside from walking) use the touch screen in some way, and become second-nature in no time. The controls are set up so that a lefty can play as well, using the A, B, X and Y buttons as the directional pad. The best addition to the Chibi-Robo universe are the many vehicles he can ride (and again, the touch screen controls are fun for those as well).
I’ve enjoyed Chibi-Robo Park Patrol, though not as much as the original game. This is a game to keep on your back burner while playing a more involved game, 15 to 30 minutes here and there. The total play time is roughly 8-12 hours. Having said that, a new Chibi-Robo game is coming out on the DS that looks like it will provide a more well-rounded experience.
- Good use of touch screen
- Simple, but addictive game play
- Good side game (like Animal Crossing)
- Positive environmental message
- Controls may feel weird at first
- Not much camera control
- Very repetitive side-character conversations
- Lush park setting would be better served on a home console
- Short draw distance prevents you from seeing as much as you would like at once
One sentence review: A good but repetitive diversion from more serious games.
One word review: Go green! (ok, I know that’s 2 words)
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