Chibi-Robo, which means "little robot" in Japanese, is an action adventure game for the Nintendo Gamecube. The game stars a small maintenance robot named Chibi-Robo
, whose main objective is to clean the household and restore happiness to his owners, the Sandersons.
The game starts out on Jenny Sanderson
's birthday. We see a small introduction to the characters in the family- Jenny is a small girl who wears a frog hat and speaks only in 'ribbit's, Mr. Sanderson
is an unemployed inventor who can't get over his obsession with new toys and gadgets (and Drake Redcrest
) despite the families shrinking bank account, and Mrs. Sanderson
, who seems to be the most sane of the family, keeping their troubles in mind and going so far as to scold her husband for getting yet another new toy .
Chibi-Robo is Jenny's gift from her father, and after that day, he gets right to work trying to set the house straight and fight the dangers of scattered trash and muddy footprints.
As the game continues, Chibi-Robo delves further into the history of the family. Over tea with Mrs. Sanderson, she explains the family's financial woes and the problems she's having with her husband, who seems clueless and continues to laze on the couch, playing with his action figures. Later, after opening up the basement, Chibi-Robo finds Giga-Robo, a giant robot missing a leg, hunched over in a corner, out of battery, essentially dead. Plankbeard
explains Giga-Robo's story, and Chibi-Robo agrees to help him. This is put on hold, though, when Mr. Sanderson is caught spending more money and Mrs. Sanderson finally flips out and locks herself in her room. After visiting her a few times, she hands Mr. Sanderson a letter. Not being the brightest, he thinks that it is a love letter, and proceeds to read aloud to Jenny what winds up being a notice for divorce, which spurs him into finally getting up and helping around the house.
Meanwhile, Chibi-Robo can go into the garden and pull up weeds to find a strange symbol on the ground. Using the radar, he can summon aliens, and they allow Chibi-Robo to use a time machine, which he uses to go back in time to see the much happier Sandersons before Jenny was born. He sees where Giga-Robo's leg is hidden and goes back to the present to retrieve it and help Giga-Robo. However, a group of robots attacks him and the Sanderson family (called the Spydorz) and defeating them winds up bringing the family back together in time for Giga-Robo's leg to be reattached. He comes back to life and shares the story of the family. He then gives himself and Chibi-Robo a never-dying battery, which he got from the alien, and the main story finally wraps up.
Throughout the main quest, Chibi-Robo is helping not just the Sanderson family, but everyone he meets. From this, there's a few surprisingly dark stories, though most of them seem to keep with the idea of it being a children's game in the end.
- Plankbeard is a pirate who has lost his ship and crew and would like nothing more than to get it all back.
- Drake Redcrest, the famed space ranger, is unrelenting in his quest for justice, and asks you to aid in the patrol.
- Sophie is a chew toy whose love for Drake she constantly spills into her diary. She needs help being able to approach him and confess her love.
- Mort the mummy is in love with Princess Pitts, but is unable to approach her, so he watches over her silently to ensure her safety.
- Princess Pitts wants to like Mort but unfortunately shrieks and faints when she sees scary things. She needs your help to get over this problem.
- Telly Vision, your assistant, comes to you when you sit on the stump in Jenny's room and uses you to help himself rocket to singing stardom with his song, Teriyaki Blues.
- The Free Rangers are a crack military unit. Sarge, missing an eye, berates himself for the loss of Private Tampa (and his eye) to an attack by Tao and yearns for revenge. Meanwhile, other Rangers, unhappy with their lot in life, are plotting to go AWOL as soon as the chance presents itself
- Funky Phil is a dancing flower whose seeds Chibi-Robo acquires and cultivates. He re fuses to take responsibility for them as his children and, quite suddenly, dies one day after having 3 kids in total.
- Sunshine the bear has the darkest story in the game. Being addicted to nectar, he goes on rampages when he's suffering from withdrawals. He needs your help to get off the juice and return to a normal life.
The gameplay of Chibi-Robo! mainly consists of exploring the rooms in the Sanderson's home and interacting with the toys and family. Your main job is to clean and do chores around the house, like picking up garbage and cleaning up stains, but you can also do favors for the family and toys, like collecting objects or completing mini games. Doing these favors progresses the storyline and gains you access to other parts of the house. It also gains you happy points, which is used to unlock bigger batteries and rank-up until you become the #1 Chibi-Robo in the world. The game also has a currency called 'Moolah' and you find it lying around on the floor, as well as getting it as a reward for helping people. This can be used to buy new vehicles and upgrades for your Chibi-Robo. Later in the game, an enemy in the name of the Spydorz comes into play, and defeating them earns you scrap metal. This can be recycled into new gear, such as bridges and ladders, to help Chibi-Robo explore the house better.
What makes Chibi-Robo! unique is that the game takes place from the perspective of a tiny robot living in a normal human household. This makes normal things like climbing a set stairs seem like an insurmountable feat for Chibi and makes exploration the most interesting part of the game. For Chibi to get around he must use everything at his disposal, like climbing up a power cable in order to reach a table top, or using his built-in helicoptor to cross large gaps that would just seem miniscule in our eyes. Chibo-Robo's size also means he gets to explore parts of a house that are normally not seen, like the garbage ridden underside of a child's bed. Every area in the house to explore is unique, with different characters and toys appearing in them at different times of the day. Chibi-Robo! is broken up into day and night cycles which are timed, and you must pay close attention to this because some events only happen at day or night. What makes the exploration more interesting is that the game truly lets the player go anywhere they can see-even to the top of the crown molding in the living room. There's a great deal of verticality in the game, and it's almost possible to measure how far you've reached in the game by how high you can get in a room (the higher you go, the further you've gotten).
Though you are encouraged to explore, something you must always keep track of is Chibi-Robo's battery life. Chibi-Robo is constantly losing life with every step he takes and every action he does. There are various outlets found around the house you must use to charge him throughout the game. If Chibi-Robo's battery ever reaches 0, he collapses and returns back to the Chibi-House, losing half his Moolah, or money (although it unlocks the injured suit the first time it happens). You can unlock better batteries later in the game through the Chibi-PC with the Moolah you've collected and earned doing chores around the house.
There are many items to collect in Chibi-Robo! which include:
- Stickers: Can be acquired by completing tasks for the toys and family and collecting other items. Stickers have no real use in the game other then to show you're achievements.
- Costumes: When worn they affect the way Chibi interacts with people. Outfits can be acquired accomplishing various things.
- Moolah: Used to buy items at the Chibi-PC and is collected by finding coins in the house or completing chores and tasks.
- Happy Points: Used to get upgrades and also go towards your Chibi-Rank. Moolah can be collected in many different ways like interacting with people and doing chores.
- Tools and Chibi-Gear: Used to help Chibi accomplish tasks and clean. Can be bought or found throughout the house. They include the following:
- Chibi-copter: Used to cross gaps that you can not jump across, or if used when falling Chibi will slow down and as a result he will take no falling damage.
- Toothbrush: Used to clean stains and messes around the house.
- Chibi-Blaster: Used to fight Spydorz, Chibi's enemies. Sometimes you will also use this to create holes which gain Chibi easier access to areas.
- Mug: Chibi hides under this and uses it as a sheild.
- Spoon: Used to dig holes in the ground for planting flowers or other things.
- Squirter: Can hold water used to water plants and clean. It can also hold nectar which is used for various things throughout the game.
- Chibi-Radar: When looking through the radar important items will be pointed out to you.
- Utilibots: Used to help Chibi travel in the Sanderson's home. They are made in the reclotron in the Chibi-House. Different ones include ladders, warps and bridges. Each take 300 scrap and you can only purchase Utilibots for one room at time.
- Scraps: Scraps are used to make Utilibots. They are collected by killing Spydorz by either using the Chibi-Blaster or the cup as a sheild.
- Frog Rings: Rings Jenny has left throughout the house for you to collect. When given to her you receive Moolah and Happy Points. There are ten hidden in various places in every room.