Elebits - WII - Preview
E3 2006 Hands On Preview
Elebits was the big question mark game in Konami’s E3 lineup. The trailer, which showed little Pikmin-style creatures, was so vague that the game could’ve turned out to be anything.
All confusion was eliminated at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, where Konami unveiled the first playable demo of the game at Nintendo’s Wii exhibit.
Elebits is one of those games you have to play to appreciate. Konami’s trailer couldn’t do it justice, nor did I gain anything from watching others take their best shot at collecting the little creatures. It wasn’t until I grabbed the controller myself and started messing around with the different functions that the beauty and ingenious gameplay began to sink in. Even the simplistic visuals began to make sense, as did the quirky sounds emitting from the speakers.
Like Pikmin, Elebits is a timed adventure, but the similarities stop there. The small, mouse-sized creatures have infiltrated homes all over the world. They’re aliens, or so we’re led to believe, and the player must use a special laser device to manipulate the world and make the Elebits disappear.
As with most first-person Wii titles, the remote acts as a pointer. The analog attachment controls your movement. While aiming at the screen, pushing the A button caused a laser to shoot out and lift whatever object it touched. Toasters, frying pans, plates, chairs, tables, houses (yes, even entire houses) can be grabbed with the laser, lifted into the air, and thrown to wherever you desire. This may sound awfully destructive, but don’t fret – this is not a violent title. The purpose of all this world manipulation is to find the Elebits. Zapping them with the laser makes them disappear, adding to your point totals – presumably the key to success in the final version.
When holding onto an object, players have full control over how they wish to deal with it. You can spin it around, toss it backward, or throw it forward. Throw it to the side, or launch it at other objects in the room. Every action is followed by a realistic (and amusing) reaction.
The most exciting part of the demo involved cupboards and desk drawers. To open the drawers, you shoot the handle and pull back on the Wii remote. The length and speed at which you pull back on the remote affects how far and how fast the drawer opens. Same goes for closing the drawers. You may have a situation where two drawers are open at the same time. You can see that an Elebit is hiding in the bottom drawer, but can’t get to it with the top drawer open. Grab the handle, literally push the remote forward (while holding onto it obviously), and the game will push the drawer shut. You can then pull the bottom drawer out as far as it’ll go, zap the Elebit, and move onto the next task.
Clever, entertaining, and a lot of fun to play, Elebits is another great example of what creative developers can do with new video game technology. No launch date has been announced for the game, but I’ll keep my remotes crossed for a 2006 release.