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Game Profile
Skip Ltd.
GENRE: Action
PLAYERS:   1-2
October 02, 2007

 Written by David Taylor  on December 14, 2006

First Impressions: Domo arigato, Chibi-Roboto.

No one in their right mind can fault Nintendo's consoles for a lack of original titles. Case in point: this year's Gamecube release Chibi-Robo. In the action-adventure game, players took control of Chibi, a tiny robot who was assigned to perform tasks around a family home in true Jetsons' Rosie fashion. Critics praised the game for its quirky gameplay and undeniable charm. Due to this, Skip Limited, the game's developers, keen on creating a franchise out of their vertically challenged Tin Man, plan to release a sequel, Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol on the Nintendo DS.

Whereas the original game took place indoors, Park Patrol's primary action occurs outside. Chibi's chief assignment is to discover who or what is stealing the park's playground equipment (my guess: The Hamburgler). In the meantime he must perform several maintenance tasks around the park. Other than the change in setting, Park Patrol's gameplay remains true to the original. Chibi again gains Happy Points according to his performance, while players must keep an eye on his battery life throughout the game.

The player views the game through the top DS screen. The bottom touch-screen is used to select icons and interact with objects around the park. For instance, to water the park's flowers, the player must pump water through an up and down motion with the stylus. The resulting flowers grow according to the music that the player creates by spinning on a turntable. There is some strategy to this, for the music must be adjusted to just the right speed to achieve the best results. A number of vehicles including a bicycle and buggy are available, as is a squirt gun that Chibi uses to take out monstrous flowers. Yes, for those wondering, Park Patrol already has my vote for ?trippiest? game of the year.

It seems that Skip has done an admirable job of retaining the graphical style of the Gamecube original. The environments are vast, varied, and filled with detail. The player can be wandering through an open field, one minute and the next thing you know be crossing a river into a forest.

Final Thoughts
Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol is shaping up to be yet another innovative title for the Nintendo DS. It is games like this that have made the DS the #1 portable system on the market. If all goes well, Park Patrol will retain the carefree fun of the original while bringing a wider audience to the series. Look for its appearance on our shores (and in our hearts) sometime in 2007.

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