Chibi-Robo!: Park Patrol
|Chibi-Robo!: Park Patrol|
North American box art
Chibi-Robo! Park Patrol, known in Japan as Sakasete! Chibi-Robo! (咲かせて!ちびロボ!, "Make It Bloom! Little-Robo!"), is a video game for the Nintendo DS developed by Skip Ltd. and published by Nintendo. It is the sequel to the original Chibi-Robo! for the GameCube.
Chibi-Robo! Park Patrol takes place almost entirely outdoors, and puts the player in the role of the titular character Chibi-Robo, a four-inch-tall robot tasked with revitalizing a park. The player does so by growing seeds into flowers by watering them with a squirter and spreading more seeds by causing the flowers to dance using a tiny boombox. The player can also alter the terrain, build and repair various structures, visit the accompanying town, and defend the park from noxious Smoglings, bits of pollution which can kill flowers.
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Though key elements from the first game are still intact in this game (such as losing watts by walking and performing actions), there are plenty of new features, such as the fact that the game takes place outdoors almost all of the time. There are many tools to use, with some returning from the first game, but most being new, such as the boombox and the clippers. There are also new modes of transportation called Chibi-Rides, which are vehicles like carts and bikes that the player can ride in.
The game has two main areas: the park, and the town. The park is where the player spends most of their time in. They water buds with their squirter, and they grow very quickly into either white flowers or colored flowers. If they are white, they use their boombox to make them change color and spread seeds. The boombox does not work on colored flowers. To use the boombox, the player must select it in their inventory next to white flowers. A wheel will appear on the screen when they select it. The wheel must then be spun at a moderate pace to play a catchy tune, and it is advised not to spin it too fast or too slow. At the end of each tune, there is a rating that scores their pace from 0-100. if the player gets a rating below 70, nothing will happen. If they get a rating of 70 and up, their flower will change into a different color and will spread seeds to the surrounding area. If they grow 30 flowers in one area, the area will turn from fertile soil to green spaces. In green spaces, the player cannot plant anymore flowers in the area, unless they lose a flower in that area. Plants cannot grow in sand.
In the town part of the game, there is a flower shop, a burger joint called Monkey Burger, and an alley where the player's friends hang out. At the flower shop, the player can clip flowers from the park and give them to the clerk to earn lots of Happy Points. They can collect Happy Points by doing good deeds like planting flowers or defeating Smoglings. There's also a special flower of the day that if the player gives one to him, he will triple the Happy Points. There's not really much to do at the Monkey Burger, but the player can learn new dance tunes from a toy monkey if they give him a monkey burger. All around the town are boxes and garbage that are sometimes filled with things like candy and cartridges. There's also a crosswalk in between the park and the town and a manhole that connects a street closest to the park to the alley.
In between the park and the town is the Chibi-House. Most of the features from the old game are included in this game such as recharging and the Chibi-PC. But there are still some differences such as Telly Vision being replaced by a robot connected to the wall named Chet. There's a reader that reads cartridges the player has collected and adds minigames and utilities to the shop for them to put into their park. The Chibi-PC has more features than from the first game including a park projects section where the player asks their friends to do the projects they want them to do. Players can mess with the tiller, the height, roads and rivers. There's also a Smogling forecast where they can check how many Smoglings or Smogglobs are going to be in their park.
The aforementioned Smoglings are the main enemies in the game. They turn the player's flowers black, causing the flowers to wither at dusk. The player defeats them by squirting them with water until they pop, spraying water and releasing a seed, and the player can prevent Smoglings from appearing using the holes in the ground that they appear out of until the holes shrink away to nothing. Smoglings can also react to food items like candy if players give some to them. Smogglobs are giant versions of Smoglings and turn flowers into black flowers when they step on them and into Miasmo flowers when they release smoke. Miasmo flowers still wither at dusk, but players can purify them by squirting them or walking over them. To defeat a Smogglob, players need to knock it down with a vehicle and squirt at it until it pops, releasing several buds and spraying water in a manner similar to that of the Smoglings.
Chibi-Robo! Park Patrol was developed by Skip Ltd., the same company responsible for the original Chibi-Robo! on the GameCube. However, Park Patrol was designed by a separate department led by one of the first game's directors, Hiroshi Moriyama. His co-director for that title, Kenichi Nishi, was not involved in the creation of Park Patrol. Nintendo producer Kensuke Tanabe asked the team to specifically develop an appealing game using a different approach from the original Chibi-Robo!. "While the feature like the miniature garden that GC Chibi-Robo! had are taken over," Tanabe emphasized, "I am asking them to aim at establishing a game system where the game’s emphasis is on freedom and enjoyable gameplay, rather than the game events."
Park Patrol was first announced at E3 2006. The game was subsequently released in Japan on July 5, 2007. Following rumors of its cancellation in North America, Nintendo announced that the game had been delayed during development, pushing the release date back from September 24, 2007 to October 2, 2007. The game was initially released in North America as a Walmart exclusive because of the company's alleged "strong environmental program and social giving campaign". To promote the game, Nintendo of America gave out packets of seeds to 500 randomly selected people who registered the game on the company's website. The game was not announced for a European release, though Australasia saw a PAL release in early 2008.
Critical reception for Chibi-Robo!: Park Patrol was generally positive, with some mixed reviews. The game currently has a GameRankings rating of 76.76% based on 17 reviews and a Metacritic rating of 78 out of 100 based on 14 reviews. X-Play said that it "lacked the immense open world and range of gameplay that the original Chibi-Robo! had". They also said that the gameplay was repetitive and had terrible sound effects but praised the graphics and charm of the game. GameSpot cited that it had "an innovative use of the touch screen, fun minigames and a great cast of characters but had slow paced gameplay and the minigames would have been great for multiplayer."
According to Media Create, Chibi-Robo! Park Patrol entered the Japanese sales charts at number two, selling over 45,000 units. An additional 26,905 copies were sold the following week. By the end of 2007, the game sold 160,376 copies in Japan. Gamasutra stated that Park Patrol apparently did not fare as well commercially in North America due to its limited release. The website ranked it as the fifth-most overlooked game of 2007. Park Patrol was followed-up by a third game in the series, Okaeri! Chibi-Robo! Happy Richie Ōsōji!, released exclusively in Japan in 2009. This game has a similar premise as the original Chibi-Robo!.
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