Chibi-Robo, he’s cute, he’s small, and he can pack one hell of a punch. Chibi is on yet another adventure of collecting trash and kicking robo butt with his trusty new Zip Lash ability.
Will Zip Lash zip its way to an impressive rating, or is Chibi just too small for his own metallic boots? Check out our review after the break!
The plot of the game is generally straightforward, as Chibi-Robo is giving his space ship a nice scrub, a news report comes on about how natural resources of Planet Earth are mysteriously disappearing and how there are also strange sightings of aliens being reported. Chibi, with his (or her) kind hearted will, decides to take action and investigate, by travelling to six different countries and regions of Earth to kick some robo-alien butt!
Zip Lash plays very differently compared to previous entries in the series, instead of exploring in a 3D world, you’ll be exploring a 2D side scrolling one. Getting from level to level is a bit unconventional, this is because you will need to spin a wheel of numbers, and depending on what number you land on, depends on what level you play. For example, if you just finished level 3 and roll a 2, the next level you will play is level 5. You can, of course, use the in-game currency to purchase extra panels to raises the chances of rolling a number you want or for rolling higher numbers. Though this is definitely an interesting concept for progressing from level to level, it really does feel a bit unneeded and tedious as it takes around two minutes complete this process.
The main new feature of Chibi-Robo Zip Lash is in its name, the Zip Lash move. Your regular attack, the Whip Lash, sends your power cord flying a short distance either straight ahead or at a 45° angle. Your super charged attack however, the Zip Lash, allows you to aim anywhere, packs much more of a punch, and even reflects off different surfaces. You will need to use these techniques to defeat a variety of enemies, solve puzzles, and you get yourself to hard-to-reach places. You will start off each level by only being able to shoot at a short distance of 15cm, you will be able to extend your range as you progress through the level however. Collecting red orbs will extend the range of your Whip Lash, and blue orbs will extend the range of your Zip Lash. One thing that is annoying is how the controls for the aim can be a bit inaccurate, which is especially annoying when you need to aim and shoot quickly, as the circle pad moves the aiming cursor too quickly.
You will be using these abilities quite often, though these will mainly be used against enemies, collecting far off items, and pulling yourself to high areas. Other than making the most of your Whip and Zip Lash abilities, there aren’t really that much creative level design. Some of them do have neat little puzzles or obstacles, but I feel that there could’ve been more. I also feel that the fact Chibi’s power cord resets its length at the beginning of each level causes the game to miss a great opportunity. Once you have extended the cord to an extent, the extra length doesn’t really add much use. What would have been cool is if you only extended your cord a bit every level, that way, you can go back to levels and reach secret areas which you could have been able to access when you first played the level. It is pretty satisfying shooting your long cord, deflecting on all the surfaces, and collecting loads of coins though.
Another problem with the levels is that most of them are pretty simple to complete and don’t take too much effort. Sure, you may get the odd flesh… uh, metal wound from an odd enemy, but that’s mainly because they tend to move so slow, it is especially annoying when you are used to fast paced action. Some levels do take good advantage of the length of your power cord, for example, one level is split into different parts, and every part requires you to extend your cord to a certain length to get to the next part.
When exploring levels, the battery meter acts as your health. You start with 999 watts, this slowly depletes as time goes on. Every time you get hit by an enemy, or come into contact with hazards, 100 watts is zapped from your meter. Once your meter has been completely depleted, it’s Game Over. If you wish to restart the level, you will recharge using the reserve watts gained from the trash you collect. Yes, that’s right, you can collect trash! Before setting off in a level, you can use the Trash Compactor to burn the trash into watts.
Though I did say that a lot of levels could have had a more challenging design, they can still be pretty fun to get through. I especially like most of the vehicle levels, these tend to be a bit shorter but can be very fun. Vehicle levels do what they say on the tin, they require you to complete the level by using a vehicle. My favourite level is the skateboard one in the second world. In this level, you have to hop on a skateboard and try not to loose speed by using your cord at the speed gates so you can make bigger jumps.
There are tons of collectible to, well, collect in Zip Lash, most of which will give you a badge of sorts for the level, as well as more points. The most basic of collectibles are the star Coins, there are three of them in each level, they give you more coins, and more points, that’s it. Chiba-tots are little rascal versions of Chibi him/herself. Once again, there are three of them in each level though are a bit more difficult to collect with them running and jumping all over the place. Just be careful you don’t use your cord on them, they’re a bit fragile. Finally, there are snack, real world snacks. Not only can they fulfil your hunger, but they can also add more points, and you can exchange them for a costume from each world, neato! A little birdie has also told me that you can unlock a special little secret if you collect every Star Coin, Chibi-Tot, and Snack!
The last collectible is a pretty interesting one and makes a very creative use of Miiverse. After you have completed a level, you can go back to it and a baby alien will be hiding somewhere. Bringing the alien to a special area of the level and swinging him round with your extension cord (I don’t think Chibi-Robo would be fit for parenting) will cause a UFO to approach your location. If you throw the alien onboard, not only will you receive 50 coins, but you will also receive part of a code. Every level has a code to unlock a new costume for Chibi to wear, but the alien will only reveal one letter. You will need to post this to Miiverse so you can then work with players in the community to finish off the code and unlock the costume, I think this is an incredible way to use Miiverse and it would be great to see other games do something similar.
The boss fights of Zip Lash are definitely a breath of fresh air, and look pretty epic too. Some of them can be rather difficult and also marks a good test for your platforming and zipping rules. One of the bosses I enjoyed was the boss of South Africa (the desert themed world). It’s a giant golden snake which you have to defeat by throwing bombs into its mouth, the only problem is that the bombs are timed and his mouth isn’t always open. One thing which is a bit annoying is the fact that you have to complete all six levels of a world before you can gain access to the boss level, so if you are pretty unfortunate when it comes to wheel spins, you may find yourself taking a while to get to the boss.
If you also pick up the Chibi-Robo Amiibo that comes with most copies, you can scan it to unlock a capsule machine that unlocks various figures to display in your Chibi-House. You can also level up the Amiibo by achieving higher scores in levels, the higher the level, the higher the chance you will win a super rare figurine. Touching the Amiibo mid level will transform you into Super Chibi-Robo. This lets you run faster and increases the max amount of watts you can have at any one time. Be warned though, you can only transform so many times a day, so only transform when it is most necessary.
Overall, Chibi-Robo Zip Lash is a pretty neat little game. It has that cute Nintendo charm, the level designs are pretty fun on the most part, and there’s quite a bit to do. There is still a lot which could be improved such as increasing the amount of challenge. If you are looking for a fast paced or challenging platformer, I would stick to New Super Mario Bros. U, but if you are looking for a more peaceful and casual experience, then this is the game for you. 7/10
Final Rating – 3 out of 5
Have you played Zip Lash yet? If so, tell us what you think below!