(3DS eShop)

Game Review

Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Dave Letcavage

Photogenic or photobombed?

Explaining the attraction of the Chibi-Robo series to the uninitiated isn't the easiest task. While the idea of a helpful little robot may be charming enough, it's the activities he takes part in — which, on the surface, might sound like little more than virtual chores — that are sure to scare away many a gamer. What Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder brings to the table is a core idea that's universally understandable and highly inviting, but can this downloadable photo hunt capture picture-perfect memories, or will it develop negative feelings?

Simply classifying Photo Finder as a scavenger hunt wouldn't be accurate, as there's much more to the game than that. By participating in mini-games and other activities you’ll be rewarded with a currency called Happy Points. These points are used to purchase silhouette film, providing you with an outline of a real-world object that you’ll need to find and snap a picture of. At that point the captured items – referred to as NostalJunk – will be materialized in the game world and displayed in a museum. It’s your job to help the curator of this museum to populate this exhibit, which in turn attracts visitors.

Initially you'll start out limited to about three mini-games, but as you progress by loading the exhibit with NostalJunk and unlocking more silhouette films, more games will begin to show up. These range from things like first-person target shooting that uses the gyroscopic capabilities of the 3DS to refrigerator fetch quests where you need to track down the perfect ingredients for a specified recipe. Some of these are a lot of fun to play — like target shooting — but in others success feels a bit too arbitrary. In some instances it's hard to feel like you're not being put to work — which is literally what you'll be doing.

When selecting the Explore option from the main menu of the Chibi-PC, players will have the choice of visiting various environments — like a desktop, a garage, a garden and more — and, you know, explore them. By wandering around and doing some light platforming you can find a few hidden items tucked away, but most of the time you'll be vacuuming up piles of dust, scrubbing away marker with a toothbrush or picking up littered rubbish. These are the kind of banal activities that many people will dread doing, where others will find comfort in the routine — the legendary forklift driving sections in Sega's Dreamcast classic Shenmue spring to mind.

You'll need to do as much of this as you can before Chibi's battery runs too low, which is when you'll have to head back to the Curator's Desk — the game's central hub — to plug in and recharge. If you run out of juice before doing so you'll lose any progress made in that stretch of play. In the early-goings having your productivity limited by such short battery life feels like a terrible design choice. Luckily, as you progress your wattage level increases, providing you more time to complete tasks — which ultimately makes proceedings more enjoyable.

The oddball cast of characters — some returning from past Chibi-Robo outings — does a good job of keeping circumstances delightfully weird on a regular basis. Whether you're absorbing cleaning orders from a teddy-bear-shaped sponge, or listening to the gossip of a lady alien dressed in her Sunday's finest, the interactions are quite memorable. Unfortunately, you may grow to despise these characters due to their excessive chatter.

When entering a conversation with any of the supporting cast you'll need to sit through painfully-slow scrolling text, even if you've already heard it multiple times before. Directions that have previously been explained can be skipped, but there's always an intrusive chunk of text before and after that's sure to irritate when you have a limited amount of time to play. This complaint extends beyond conversations as well, as entering any area of each game mode feels like it takes much longer than it ever should. You'd be surprised how many times you can press the A-button while trying to speed things along — without results, of course.

Once you begin accumulating Happy Points it's time to invest in Silhouette Film and start snapping pictures of your personal belongings. Some of the items you'll need to track down are as common as a 3DS game case or a baseball cap, while others — like sushi or a Wii U GamePad — may not be so readily available. Depending on how accurately you line up the outline with the object you're shooting, your efforts will be rated by a percentage of accuracy — 60% being the minimum needed to advance. You have nine tries to get a fitting photograph or you'll burn out that piece of film, need to repurchase it, and start the process over again. We know you may be thinking that nine tries sounds like more than necessary to take one photograph properly, and normally we'd agree; but the issue is that the 3DS camera isn't always up to the task.

On most occasions we found it necessary to concoct our own little makeshift photo studio, with a lamp barely two feet above the item we were photographing, and even then the game suggested the item was too dark to photograph. More than once all nine attempts were exhausted due to the limitations of the 3DS camera. Earning 100% accuracy will reward you further, however scoring that high seems to have no rhyme or reason.

A handful of photographs that we took didn't even remotely match the silhouette outline, and weren't even the slightest bit lined up with any edges of the object, yet a perfect rating was bestowed upon us. There were many other times where the opposite happened — we took a perfectly placed picture of a solid coloured CD multiple times, in immediate lighting, and couldn't score higher than 62%. It's all so inconsistent, and in truth, if we had to slap a figure on how often this function works as it should, we'd go with a 10-20% — it's that unreliable.

When it comes to appearances Chibi-Robo is a mixed bag. On one hand there’s a lot of detail, and the captured-photograph look of the textures gives the game a look of its own. On the other hand, the frame rate can run very low at times, the 3D sweet spot can be temperamental and there are many rough edges. It should be noted that our review sessions took place on a 3DS XL, which may attribute to the jagged edges; although, these imperfections still seemed to be more prominent than other games played on the same device. Some of the low resolution, blurry textures can also be an eyesore — but for the most part, it all works well enough to get the job done.

Our time spent with Chibi-Robo was filled with many highs and many lows, but in the end we found enough of the game enjoyable to know that — despite the numerous shortcomings and hurdles — Chibi may still deliver enough real-life Happy Points to make the risk worth taking. After all, there are roundabout ways in which you can secure those hard-to-get photos – capturing images from a computer screen or sketching the objects on paper – though it should be said that this process sucks the fun out of being able to transfer your personal belongings into a virtual space, which was part of the allure to begin with.


Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder brings a lot of quirkiness and value to the eShop, but camera functionality that borders on broken, a couple of questionable design choices and some dreadfully bland mini-games really short circuit the overall potential of the package. That’s not to say that there isn't a good game here, but you’ll need to go out of your way and participate in a less rewarding manner to get the most out of it. If you’re still interested after reading through our criticisms, there’s likely enough here to justify a purchase; otherwise, you’re probably best off leaving this photo undeveloped.

From the web

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Check out our coverage here: http://www.nintendolife.com/games/3ds-eshop/chibi_robo_photography

User Comments (70)



SecondServing said:

Wow, I wish Nintendo gave us a better Gamecube era sequel, not this crap. How about Geist, Metriod Prime, or Battalion Wars. I knew as soon as I saw Chibi Robo gimmick game, it was going to suck.



Shiryu said:

This reminds me that I did manage to snap up a few years back "Chibi Robo" on GameCube and have yet to finish it. Time to get on that!



swordx said:

I found this game to be more in the 7-8 territory, but I have to agree that the photo taking is near broken.



Jazzer94 said:

I'll still probably get it if it is reasonably priced on the UK e-shop.



TruenoGT said:

I downloaded the demo, but haven't tried it yet. Would others say the demo is representative of the final product (i.e. includes both the good and bad elements)?



ACK said:

@Shiryu Do it. Helluva game. Perfect for playing with a gal. Great story with some real verve.



Dark-Luigi said:

Yeah, nothing beats the gamecube version, also they really need to fix that gimmick with the camera, I couldn't recognize almost anything!



Wraith said:

The game is interesting but the 3ds camera is crap, I can´t take a decent shoot, so is more frustrating than fun



Gioku said:

Got it launch day, loved it. I knew it was probably an average-score game when it came to reviews, but I've still had fun with it. ...probably the last time I jump into a game like this without waiting for reviews, though.

The graphics are superb, and the characters are fun, though; so this is enough to keep me going.

...And apparently I'm the only one who's had zero trouble with the camera.



JadedGamer said:

Taking photos can be frustrating at times. But that's not the games fault.Nintendo should have produced a better camera in its 3ds. The game isn't broken.it's a fantastic concept. The game has a charm that won't wear off and characters you won't forget. Ten dollars is a steal for this title.I anticipated a better score this and batman blackgate.which I just finished and enjoyed.Both received poor scores over nitpicking issues. I still recommend this game over most all other overpriced vc titles



rjejr said:

Sounds too bad, good concept they were unable to execute for an enjoyable experience.

After that $30 Cocto Circus 2 game this morning this does look good at $10 though. My kids were missing around this morning w/ the 3D Scamera and AR cards so I know they have some interest in this stuff. I think they're too young to know who Chibi Robo is though, it's been a while since I played the last game on the Gamecube. Maybe if they put him in SSB they'll want this.

So, anybody think something like this could work really well as an iOS or Android game or does it require a 3D camera?



Gioku said:

...why? Why? Why am I the only one who's had no issues with the camera on this? I get 80-100% on everything!
...this is bizarre...



JadedGamer said:

I think it's unfair for people to dismiss this game over camera issues. The reviewer himself said getting a hundred percent on a photo does nothing to enhance gameplay. It's a solid game ..



ACK said:

@Shiryu I envy you, good sir. Incredible memories. Those GameCube glory days... Melee, Monkey Ball, Timesplitters 2, F-Zero GX, NHL Hitz, Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance, SSX Tricky, Four Swords Adventures, Nightfire, Burnout 2, Tony Hawk 3/4, X-men Legends... I had no less than five guys stuffed into my teeny room (like 10x10ft.) to play those games every day my senior year. We even all played through Metroid Prime, Twin Snakes, RE4, and Wind Waker together. Great times.

Custom Robo(t--stupid spell check...) was late to the party, but it was a total joy when my little bro would labor all day on his Robo tactics to best mine. Some days I'd go back in time, if I could... Just don't tell my wife.

EDIT: Just realized you probably meant Chibi Robo... Oh well. Nobody should miss out on that joyous experience.



Shiryu said:

@ACK F-Zero GX is my favourite game of all time, I still can't beleive a decade has passed and I0m still playing the GameCube entrey, there simply isn't anything comparable to it in any system.

Oh yes, "NHL Hitz" with my friends during college, yes indeed... I keep saying Nintendo is missing out a golden opportunity by not asking Next Level Games to reboot NES "Ice Hockey". NLG could do something similar to the way they made "SEGA Slam Soccer" -> "Mario Strikers" by turning "NHL Hitz" -> "Mario Super Ice Hockey" or something.



ACK said:

@Shiryu Pretty sure I said nearly the exact same thing about a next Level hockey game a week or so ago in the forums. Oh boy, would I be in heaven. And of course F-Zero GX is the best racing game ever crafted, in my eyes. Not sure if anything is close. Everything about that game is ace. Only after all this time, I desperately need more of it.

So... wanna come over and play? I still have 4 clean, working Wavebirds...



AdanVC said:

I was waiting for this review in order to decide if I should buy it or not... I'm still don't know tough, I mean i enjoyed the demo, it's charming and fun, I didn't have any issues with the camera, in fact it was fun trying to improve the photo to match the silhouette as much as I can and watching how Chibi-Robo appears on the photo taken is cool. I like random/bizarre/unique games like this (Maybe that's why I love the Wario Ware franchise as well) So ohh well. I think I buy it anyways



Gioku said:

@AdanVC Yeah, this is the sort of game in which, if you think you'll enjoy it, you probably will; if you don't think you will/are indifferent, you probably won't like it.



sinalefa said:

I got it and I don't regret it. It is sometimes slow, specially in the beginning, so I need to play a little more to make more happy points and unlock more film.



Shiryu said:

@ACK Maybe they just don't make video games for us anymore..

Hey, I never had a Wavebird! Since they don't have force feedback, I never found them to be a worthy investment. Thanks for the invite!

PS: I was devastated when I found out "NHL Hitz Pro" was not being released over here in Europe, but a few years back a friend went to San Francisco to get his MBA and snapped it up for me! Luckyyyyy!



DerpSandwich said:

Nintendo's really good at using a certain technology and making games that use it, but it's not quite good enough yet to work properly or otherwise it's too inconvenient to use. Then later when they've made that tech better, they'll abandon the idea and stop making games that use it. We get all these sub-par VR games now, but I bet you anything when the next handheld comes out and it's got a way better camera and processor, they'll stop coming.

(See: handheld-to-system link)



AyeHaley said:

"Some of the items you'll need to track down are as common as a 3DS game case or a baseball cap, while others — like sushi or a Wii U GamePad " I wonder how many would buy a Wii U just for that. I would say none but this is the human race we're talking about...



Spoony_Tech said:

@SecondServing That's what I thought till I played the demo which was surprisingly fun. I dl'ed it today and believe me didn't regret it! This is one of those games that will be fan led as I can see the critics not liking it for whatever reason. I think it deserves a much better score and the visuals are really goos as well.

Don't knock it till you've tried it people! Its my surprise eshop title for sure!



Prof_Clayton said:

I could barely get a round object to work in the demo. Honestly. Its like playing a platformer where the jump button doesn't work sometimes.



Darkness3131 said:

I got it and I almost wish I didn't as I'm finding it almost a chore to play... The camera accusations are correct; it is broken and after a while, you feel like giving up on perfect ratings as you just want to have the picture done with.The short battery life at the beginning makes it hard to get through the first part of the game because you are constantly interrupting what you are doing to recharge. Some of the conversations are funny and the art design is very nice, but you can only hear a character say that funny line so many times.



CazTheGamerGuy said:

Show of hands, who would rather have had an F-Zero or Punch Out!! sequel on the eShop than this electronic pile of pus?



Windy said:

I'm kind of surprised by the review. Everyone on MiiVerse is enjoying the game. I havent seen a complaint I can remember on there. Ive been on the fence about downloading this because I thought it wasn't in 3d since there are no 3d pics or videos in the Eshop. I'm going to pick this up from what I've been reading on MiiVerse. I will clock back in here later with my 2 cents.. I guess I will download the demo first. It Cracks me up how people think a 6 is a bad rating. I would say below a 6 is bad but 6 to 10 is decent. Of course we would all love to see a 10 but calling a 6 garbage isn't really true. Nintendo needs to make it mandatory that a 3d game in the Eshop has 3d pictures and videos. It makes it confusing if a game is in 3d at all.



JustinH said:

A six is fair, but if you loved the original you should definitely pick this up. If you're the type who likes Miiverse, there's a lot of fun in sharing the photos you picked with friends.



SCAR said:

I give this game an 8. 7 at the very least. It's worth a buy, IMO.



stevefrench said:

not that it makes a huge leap in quality by moving it up one notch, but I'd have to give it a 7. if it had been more than 9.99 then I would have to be a little more harsh towards its faults, but it's not a huge deal for the price.

The photo ratings are definitely off...I don't see why they don't or didn't do away with the percentages due to the wonkiness of it all. If you nail a silhouette and make it look perfect, it'll show. If you take an awful picture...well that's on you and you will feel enough of your own shame without the game giving you a 90% on something that looks terrible.

I dunno, not an offensively bad game, and its cheap, so I've been content with the purchase and having fun here and there. Worth it, and definitely worth it if you ever catch it on sale



mystman12 said:

I enjoyed it, I'd probably give it a 7. I only had issues with the camera during night, or when it was gloomy out. I also think the graphics were superb, and I got used to the frame rate. The mini games were pretty good, but to be honest, the only reason you play them is to buy silhouette film. If they didn't have that gimmick, this game would just be 14 minigames and an Explore mode. So really, only get this game if the gimmick interests you.



SonataAndante said:

Yeah I tried the demo out and had the same sort of issues with the photo taking. I thought the concept was pretty cool and I was interested in buying the game, but the demo changed my mind. The demo gives you 2 simple films to try out. The first was a simple circle, no details shown to hint at what it might be. I tried taking a picture of an orange perfectly lined up a few times, got nothing. Tried a roll of tape out too, mostly nothing. It finally hit over 60% accuracy with a rather skewed picture of the tape and revealed that the item was a pin. Great.

Second film seems pretty blatantly like an electrical outlet, easy enough. I used up all 9 tries on that one and still didn't get it to accept my pictures. I tried the simplest, most well lit outlet in my house and the game didn't seem to care. I was frustrated with the game at this point and since you can't buy more film in the demo, I just quit. Yeah, nah, not buying this. The draw of the game to me was the camera usage, and it was so frustrating and inaccurate that I won't buy it now.



Linkuini said:

When I tried the demo, the camera was constantly frozen, and green lines kept showing up all over the screen. If I jiggled the hinge, the camera would work just long enough for me to snap a photo, which, if my lighting was at the perfect angle, would be just good enough to satisfy the game. I thought I must have damaged the camera or something, but when I opened up the regular 3DS Camera application, the camera worked just fine. I guess something about the AR functionality just requires much better lighting by default and is more easily broken.

I don't know what's wrong with the camera in my 3DS, but it makes taking photos in this game next to impossible. Not getting the full game.



Zodiak13 said:

I've always thought that a 6 is representitive of certain gamer types. If a game is in a genre I like, I tend to still enjoy them. If they are in a genre I'm not as into, I rarely like them at all. Seems to me if you enjoy relaxing quirky fun games you will probably get your $10 worth. I can tell by the review that I will not like it, but I have a feeling my son will. So, Nintendo will get my $$$$ regardless...



unrandomsam said:

@Shiryu So do you have an Fzero AX Cabinet ? (Best game might as well have the best way to play it).

@Windy So how does that work with the 2DS ? (Or people who cannot see the 3D).



SCAR said:

If green lines are showing up in your camera, you need to have your 3DS repaired. I had the exact same issue with my XL, and they fixed the camera. I think it has something to do with the 3DS having trouble with recognizing what your camera sees.

You need to call Nintendo about the green lines in your camera.

EDIT: If it isn't showing up in the regular camera app, it probably will eventually. Every game that used the camera didn't work(when I had that issue), because that a hardware/software problem within the 3DS itself.



SMW said:

Here I thought I was just having random luck when a crooked and cut-off picture of my phone matched a perfect 100% for a book! Glad its not just me. I just cannot get any perfect pictures on purpose!



ningeek185 said:

When I think of Chibi-Robo, I think of the Nintendo Power cover. They were right, that issue's cover stank. (After all, nobody enjoys an all-text cover.)



Olmectron said:

@unrandomsam About what @Windy said, maybe Nintendo.could "force" the images to always be watchable in 3D, so even if you play a 3D game in 2D mode (the 3D slider down) and then post an image on Miiverse, that image will be visible on 3D for those with 3D on.

Of course, you would see the image in 2D if you use a 2DS or are watching the post with the 3D off. And, obviously, it will be impossible for games without 3D effect (like Scribblenauts Unlimited, for example), their images are only visible in 2D.



CaPPa said:

I've only played the demo but I didn't have any trouble with taking photos, so it sounds like the issues may be more environmental than actual software related.



Minotaurgamer said:

@SecondServing Chibi-robo, just like Pikmin, has ZERO reason to exist or even be made. It's a game nobody bought and nobody cares except the extremely small nintendo-hardcore-fanboy base. In fact, it was actually a good idea to make this game a small, e-shop game. It's so damn boring, uninteresting, filled with chores (like aounuma's puzzeldas) that has no life in the real-world. A small mediocre game for a small mediocre user base.



Senate_Guard said:

I agree with most of the review, the camera-taking process is borderline broken. My house doesn't have floodlights for lighting rooms. So I find myself going into areas like the bathroom trying to take a picture and even then the camera's lighting turns all yellow; including the object itself!

But besides that the rest of the game is full of fun, oddball characters, witty humor, charming semi-realistic graphics, and fairly enjoyable "chores."

I'm happy I finally tried one of Chibi-Robo's games.



SCAR said:

Criticising a game is all well and good, but bringing fans of a game into the discussion is about as low as you can get.



Kolzig said:

Hopefully Nintendo if Europe wakes up and brings this to Europe soon.



grumblegrumble said:

I just knew this title wouldn't get anything above a 5 or 6. And yet, Nintendo advertised it heavily in the e-shop and other places, plus, it was the only download available the week after Christmas for 3DS systems, pretty much. Hopefully we will see SMB3 soon and other gems that other countries have already seen.



TrueWiiMaster said:

I always enjoy Chibi Robo games, but since this seems more like a Chibi-Robo spin-off than a real Chibi Robo, I'll probably wait for a sale. I wish they'd release the 3rd Chibi-Robo in America, either on the DS or as a 3DS remake. That I would buy day 1.



FoxMulder900 said:

@SecondServing I actually have been really enjoying this game, it's worth it if you liked the original. That being said the complaints with the camera are completely accurate, but I don't really think that is the games fault, the 3DS camera just isn't very good.



ultraraichu said:

I was think a 5 but a 6 sound more right. With that said I do enjoy the game. The camera is odd at times like my perfectly align gamecube getting 78% one moments and then 100% when it's a crooked photo.
Well it's not like it's the first game/hardware I ever played that I had to work for. Glad I (more accurately my brother) have a video light, so I always get perfect lighting, not always a perfect shot.

Note: Surprised the danger sensing test haven't got an infamous mention.



EarthboundBenjy said:

I just recently bought on eBay the third Chibi Robo game (Happy Rich Cleaning) from Japan, and I was thinking about getting the second game (Park Patrol) from the US at some point too...this one isn't in the European 3DS eshop at the moment... I wonder why they decided there shall be only one Chibi Robo game for Europe?



c1pher_c0mplet said:

@EarthboundBenjy Park Patrol for the DS is a lot of fun! I played the demo for Photo Finder and besides being very disappointed and unimpressed, the reviewer is correct: the framerate is atrocious. And it's even abysmal when nothing's happening onscreen. Very, very disappointing and crummy. Chibi-Robo deserves better than this.



Luffymcduck said:

I've played the DS one for less than half an hour so far and I tried this demo... wasn't very interesting. Looks kinda nice and all, but there are countless other eShop games that I'm waiting for.



k8sMum said:

I just got this for my grandson who will be 9 tomorrow,20 July. He loves it and is having a ball with it. I also got him yoshi's new island and epic Mickey power of illusion. He has also talked me out of my rune factory 3 game.

It's been interesting seeing the gaming world thru a child's eyes again. They see games from a different perspective that we adults often lose along the way. Danny is just having fun with games that are far from perfect but he finds worth playing.

Plus, he's voted me the coolest grandma ever.



Pupito said:

HOT TIP: Find a room with semi-decent lighting, use a the Kid Icarus 3DS stand for support, steady your hand, and DRAW the outline of the film object on a white piece of paper. You'll 100% it nearly every time.

This will get you through the photo taking portions, and back to normal Chibi Robo game play as quickly as possible.

Every Chibi Robo game has an element of tedium, but a large reward waits on the other end of your unrecognized hard work.

Sound a bit like house cleaning, doesn't it?

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