Review: Electroplankton Rec-Rec (DSiWare)

A chorus of fish!

Back in 2006, a talented and eccentric media artist named Toshio Iwai developed a very unique title for Nintendo's DS system that allowed the user to interact with various forms of plankton on both a visual and musical level. In fact, it was this combination that gave the game its unique feel and ultimately produced one of the more original playing experiences available on the system. While it didn't fare very well as a commercial proposition, it has gone on to garner quite a cult following among DS owners, even costing more now than it did when it was first released. Obviously Nintendo felt the game deserved another chance and has released the first five Electroplankton games from the retail release as individual DSiWare releases.

Electroplankton Rec-Rec might not be as relaxing as many of the other Electroplankton releases, but it is easily the most humorous. In this title you have four fish plankton swimming across the screen. You can then click on any of the fish and once it begins to flash you can record your own sounds for the duration of time that the fish swims across the screen; that fish will then record your sounds and play them out each time. You can record a different track for each of the four fish and listen as they play out in harmony. You can even use the D-pad to select from seven different background musical tracks to play along with, not to mention change the tempo of the swimming plankton.

Much like the other Electroplankton releases, Rec-Rec still features all of the zoomed-in action on the top screen and all of the touchscreen controls on the bottom screen. Play control is very simple to pick up on and very easy to manipulate. When you add in the almost limitless range of sound effects you can create for each of the fish, you end up with a very open-ended playing experience with an almost endless amount of variety. You also have what has to be one of the more enjoyable Electroplankton releases of the series.

From a visual standpoint you have to appreciate what the developers have accomplished with the Electroplankton releases. The individual graphical elements might be very basic and simple in design, but the way they move around and interact with the stylus gives the game a very unique feeling of everything being alive onscreen. The musical side of the game also features some nice variety with seven different types of background music to accompany your own musical creations. Couple all of this with the ability to create your own four-part harmonies and you have what is one of the more unique audio/visual experiences available for the system and one that fits the gameplay elements to a tee.

Conclusion

Electroplankton Rec-Rec is yet another engaging take on the Electroplankton gameplay idea and given the freedom it presents the player, you'd be hard-pressed to find one as fulfilling as this one. It might not have the soothing experience of other releases, but it more than makes up for it in the creativity department and the freedom it allows you makes it something you'll likely want to come back to far more often than you would many of the other titles in the range.