hunterob's Chibi-Robo! (GameCube) review

Avatar image for hunterob

One of the most charming games of all time, if given a chance.

Let me say up front that this game is not for everybody, and if the thought of doing household chores (even with awesome musical cues) for points repels you, this isn't a game for you.

Conveying what exactly the gameplay in the original Chibi-Robo! game is difficult, even to those that have experience with a plethora of game types. It's sort of a free form Animal Crossing type game, but with more constraints. There is an end goal and a 'main story' pulling you along - not in the manner that you may be used to being employed in modern games, but there is essentially a main quest and optional side quests that are all intertwined in a way that blurs the lines between them, and there isn't any journal of sorts keeping track. You have a certain amount of time in a day, but you can pretty much do whatever you want in a given day, so the somewhat complicated web of tasks that are necessary for you to progress are something you can approach organically in any order. You need to unlock certain tools to complete certain tasks, and need to complete tasks to receive tools, which adds a degree of linearity, but in the fashion of a pre-Fusion Metroid, you aren't told what you need to do to get the next thing that you need, but you know you need something (unless it is sold in the games' shop, in which case your overly chatty robotic sidekick Telly will announce it). I might also describe it as being like a Banjo-Kazooie-esque collect-a-thon/maid simulator, with aspects of 'use this item on that item' adventure games and RPG's.

The game is also grounded by a constant need to find a power outlet refill your battery that depletes by performing tasks and simply moving around. This becomes less incessant when doing tasks and gathering 'happy points' will allow you to purchase larger batteries which will allow you to go longer without needing to recharge. However, it was at least a minor annoyance to me, and I could imagine some being completely turned off by the mechanic.

The story is about a restoring a broken family mixed with a bizarre Japanese take on Toy Story. You are introduced to the Sanderson family as a birthday gift for the couple's only child Jenny, (who happens to believes she is a frog and will only say things in the vein of "ribbit") to the immediate dismay of Mrs. Sanderson, as this expensive purchase was done behind her back in the midst of a family financial crisis provoked by Mr. Sanderson's recent unemployment. The game expands on these 3 characters and their anxieties in clever ways as it goes on, and immediately provides a solid motivation to do what you can to help them. The silent tiny robot also interacts with a bunch of talking toys and other inanimate objects ala Toy Story, which form the bulk of NPC's that give you tasks which are required to advance the story in turn with the Sandersons. Among them are a militant army of orange eggs with faces, arms and legs; a plush caterpillar who has a crush on the overzealous sentai-like Space Hunter Drake Redcrest (an action figure based on a TV show); and it only gets weirder from there.

Ultimately, the appeal of this game depends on how susceptible you may be to its unique brand quirkiness. I'd say if you have any degree of patience, and you have the means, it is absolutely worth experiencing for yourself.

Other reviews for Chibi-Robo! (GameCube)

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.