Elebits: Adventures of Kai & Zero - NDS - Preview
E3 2008 Preview
Among the many must-play Wii launch titles, there was a game that only innovation could breed: Elebits. This short, ultra-challenging first-person puzzle game tasked players with the job of snatching tiny alien creatures from a real-world environment. To get the job done right, the player was given a stellar zapper (controlled with the Wii remote, of course) that could be used to not only shoot and capture aliens but also to pick up and toss objects. It was genius, more so than any words could describe. Elebits was a true example of a game you must play to believe.
The first Elebits sequel -- Elebits: Adventures of Kai and Zero -- could have been made for Wii. That would have been the logical thing to do. But it seems these developers prefer not to take the logical route, instead searching for additional points of innovation. They found that in the Nintendo DS.
Upon learning that the game was coming to Nintendo's handheld, I wondered if they could possibly re-create the Wii's stellar experience. Elebits was a 3D first-person game. How in the world can the DS compete with that?
As it turns out, it doesn't have to. Using a Zelda-inspired isometric view and touch control setup (where you touch the screen to guide the lead character, Kai), Elebits is now a unique game (and potentially series) for Nintendo DS.
Once the Zelda controls have been learned (which takes about five seconds), you'll discover that by tapping the screen, those familiar alien creatures can be captured. Likewise, you can move objects and toss them aside by touching them and dragging the stylus across the screen. The graphics are purely retro with SNES-level visuals, but the mechanics are of a much more powerful generation. Fans of Elebits as well as Zelda will instantly jump into this game and be eager for more.
Zero, the small white character who follows you around in the game, is the one who actually snatches the Elebits. I don't remember if he was a part of the first game, and neither did the two Konami reps I spoke to. But from what I can tell, he's your new sidekick and does the work you can't. As Kai, you'll lead the way for his invasion by tapping each alien you wish to capture. As soon as the first one is tapped, a meter appears on screen and begins to deplete. Your job is to tap as many aliens as possible and tap Zero before the meter runs out. If you fail to do so, Zero won't eliminate the aliens that have been touched.
This may sound incredibly simple, and in the short time I had with the game it was. But I suspect that, as with the first Elebits, the second and third levels (and beyond) will be a whole other story. The developers have put so much into making the game as good as its Wii counterpart that it's hard to believe they wouldn't do the same for the challenge.