Shortly after the Wii was launched in 2006, Konami released one of the most bizarre and enjoyable third-party games that year. Entitled Elebits, the game showcased the new functionally of the Wii Remote. Played from a first-person perspective, players explored the land looking for tiny electrically charged creatures, appropriately titled Elebits (or Eledees, depending on where you are in the world). Players manipulated objects in the real world, such as kitchen appliances and trees, and used the Wii Remote as a capture gun to capture the Elebits in what seemed like an elaborate game of hide and seek.
Now, a little over two years later, the Elebits are back in another fun-filled sequel. This time they have made the leap to the Nintendo DS. This time around, the game is played in a top-down viewpoint and an focus has been put on clever puzzles that use the Elebits powers. Deep inside Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero still boasts the same basic capturing mechanics introduced in the original.
The Adventures of Kai and Zero picks up exactly where the Wii version left off. Players once again take control of Kai, who wants to make the Omega Elebit he found his pet. At the beginning of the game, Kai names him Zero. Then things start to get bad. Zero accidentally charges up one of Kai’s dad’s inventions, a bus, and it takes them to another universe. The only way to return to his own world is to power up the bus with specific items, and thus the adventure of Kai and Zero commences.
While both the original Elebits and its sequel put heavy emphasis on capturing Elebits, the DS puts the concept to a better use. In The Adventures of Kai and Zero, Kai befriends several Omega Elebits, elemental beings that you can control to solve the game’s many puzzles. These Omega Elebits are powered by ordinary Elebits.
Scattered across each world that Kai and Zero visit are trees, rocks, and other hiding places for Elebits. Each has its own separate maps to explore and puzzles to solve and contains several hours of gameplay. But you basically do the same thing in each world. You can explore the land and collect Elebits by tapping them to acquire their energy. The more Elebits you collect in a single swipe, the higher your combo bonus.
Then comes the hard part. Collecting the Elebits and their energy is simple, but making your way through levels can be difficult, especially when they are polluted with obstacles. It is wise to expose all the Elebits first and then start rounding them all up. By doing this, you will get a much larger combo score than you would if you were to round them up in small numbers.
Each Omega has its own abilities, so you have to do some discovering to figure out their capabilities. Some will allow you to freeze lakes and burrow underground, while others give you the power to destroy heavy rocks. Knowing when and where to use each Omega’s abilities is tough, especially in the upper levels. Boss fights are also quite impressive, forcing you to quickly switch between various Elebits to take down the boss when they expose their weaknesses.
The Adventures of Kai and Zero isn’t exactly what I would call a difficult game. The puzzles are fairly straightforward, and the learning curve is pretty good. It isn’t difficult to see that the developers targeted a younger audience, but other age groups can still find enjoyment in the game.
What is also evident to see is that Konami has put some thought and effort into its sequel. This time around, a multiplayer mode has been included that can be played either locally or over Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The goal in this mode is to see who can collect the most Elebits in an allotted amount of time. It is a very fun and enjoyable mode, but it can be frustrating at times if you haven’t upgraded your Omegas to their evolved form.
The original Elebits is one of the most enjoyable games we've played in a long time and Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero is a similar story. The vibrant and childish graphics accompanied by the game’s simple difficulty may point to the game being suited for younger audiences, but anyone can love The Adventures of Kai and Zero. If you never had the opportunity to play the original, do yourself a favor and pick up its sequel.