Whenever anything mechanical stopped working, my grandfather would usually blame gremlins. Not the “Don’t get ‘em wet” sort, but little monstrosities that love to break stuff. Elebits
features its own little creatures, known as Elebits; but instead of breaking things they are the source of electricity in the world. But, they’re just as problematic. Elebits aren’t the most cooperative of creatures, leaving it as your job to trap them and put them to work.
At first glance, it is easy to write Elebits off as a FPS. The scheme and presentation both look a whole lot like a FPS, though the gameplay is a little tamer. You navigate levels and aim at things, but it is not super violent or overly complicated. Think of it as the Fisher-Price FPS – simple, sturdy and fun.
Okay, let me restate that: the concept isn’t overly complicated, but some gameplay decisions and mechanical issues introduce complications that could either cause frustration or make Elebits one of the more strategically deep games you’ve every played.
Your goal is to flush Elebits from their hiding places and collect a specific wattage score before time runs out. You begin each level with a low-powered capture gun and all electric devices turned off. As you capture Elebits, objects – which include hair dryers, lamps and even a toilet – power up. Turning these objects on releases Elebits that, when captured, power up your capture gun. As your gun levels, you’ll be able to pick up bigger objects, revealing more Elebits.
Areas are built with total destruction in mind. Nearly every object in the level can be picked up, turned on its side or thrown around the room. Elebits are hidden everywhere, which is where some of the strategy comes into play. Anyone can tear through a room with reckless abandon. The catch is that some areas have a limit to how much damage you can do. Break too many things and its game over. On top of this, you are going against the clock, making Elebits a game of quick decision making. On one hand, this adds a bit of depth and strategy. On the other, it places limits on your fun. At times, it is like playing basketball with no backboard on the goal; you can do it, but it is tricky.
Another thing to keep in mind as you tear through rooms is keeping areas accessible. You can’t jump, so while knocking down a bookcase looks like great fun, you could end up blocking your path. You can always move objects, but that takes time and there are only so many places you can put objects.
Completing levels in Story mode unlocks them for Time Attack mode as well as giving you the set pieces for use in your own created levels. That’s right – Elebits features a level creation tool that lets you try your hand at level design. The plan is to eventually allow players to share these levels on Wii Connect 24. A multiplayer option is also available with up to four players racing to capture the most Elebits.