E3 Impression

Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol



I love chores. When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is menial labour. Once the house is clean, I clean up my yard. Then, I open my neighbor's window and clean their home and garden. After being escorted home by some nice police officers, I play video games about cleaning. That's where Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol comes in.


In a daring effort to solve the "tragedy of the commons," Chibi-Robo is cleaning up the local park. Nice of him. It seems that all of the flowers have vanished, leaving the park barren and rather bleak. Fortunately, Chibi-Robo knows just the tools to bring the flora back to life: a syringe full of water and a turntable. Your "home base" is a small shack at one side of the park. Inside it is an outlet to recharge yourself with when your battery is dying. Starting from there, I ventured out with Chibi-Robo to bring back some plants.

The plants did not totally vanish, fortunately. They left behind their seeds/buds/remains, which can be revitalized. The little bud needs water, apparently, so I brought out the syringe. Its image appeared on the lower screen, and I had to use the stylus to move the plunger and squirt water on the bud. It bloomed into a rather droopy looking plant. I decided it was time to bring out the record player. Its image appeared on the lower screen and I had to spin the disc using the stylus. Chibi-Robo and the droopy plant jammed to the music at the speed I spun the disc. If the disc spun fast enough for long enough, the flower would finish growing.


A full grown plant ejaculates a little red heart, which Chibi-Robo can collect. Bringing the hearts back to his "home base" allows him to recharge the power there, which you have to use to recharge yourself when your own battery dies. If your battery dies and your base has no power either, it's game over.

Chibi-Robo: Park Patrol suffered from a serious problem, at least, from what I played: repetition. Water plant, dance with plant, collect heart, repeat. The landscape was largely repetitive, too. The same park for the entire game, the same flowers, etc. The constant need to return to your home base meant that exploration needed to be carefully metered out. There were vehicles that could be used to get to remote locations of the park, but I couldn't figure out how to reach them. (It was somebody's brilliant idea to park them some distance away from Chibi-Robo's home base.) The sound was quirky and giggle-inducing the first time. The millionth time I heard the record spin, I wanted to tear off my headphones. Chibi-Robo's jump to the DS was a good idea, and looks like a great game, but unless the final version is beefed up significantly, I have my doubts.

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