'Chibi- Robo! Zip Lash' Plugs Into Your Heart

October 12, 2015

For ten years, devout Nintendo fans have turned to a helpful robot whenever they were interested in playing something a little different. Since his first appearance in 2005, Chibi-Robo has been helping out humans in some of the most adorable ways, from cleaning their houses, to keeping their parks litter free. The little metal guy and his plug have made for some of the most endearing, and occasionally odd, gameplay on Nintendo platforms since second-party developer skip Ltd. brought him to life. Chibi-Robo has seen releases on the GameCube, and DS, along with a New Play Control! re-release of his original adventure on the Wii, and a 3DS release which went in a new direction for the series, taking advantage of the system's augmented reality capabilities. In short, Chibi-Robo has grown into a Nintendo mainstay over the last decade, and his new release, Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash for the 3DS, continues to evolve the series by putting Chibi into a 2D, side-scrolling platformer for the first time ever.

Developer: skip Ltd./Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

One of Nintendo's most creative, second-party development teams, skip Ltd., get most of the credit for bringing this unique, little robot to life. Some of this developer's best work hides right below the surface of Nintendo's stable of hits, with skip's handiwork having appeared on a host of amazing games that include the Japan-only Bit.Generations games, and the DSiWare/WiiWare Art Style series. The team of Nintendo and skip Ltd. have been the driving force behind all of the Chibi-Robo games to date, which means Zip Lash is just one more robot-assisted notch in their creative belts.

Chibi-Robo has committed his little mechanical life to helping out humans in whatever way he can. In the past he has cleaned our floors, or tidied our houses, but in Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash he is going to save us from alien invaders. While making sure everything on the space station was in order, Chibi sees the earth come under attack from a mysterious group of aliens, and, being the benevolent robot that he is, he sets out to stop them. Zip Lash is a huge departure from the earlier games in the series, in that it's more along the lines of a traditional 2D, side scroller, instead of Chibi's earlier 3D worlds. While exploring this new take on Earth, Chibi's biggest change is that he can fling his plug, using it as both a weapon and a tool. The plug can destroy enemies, and be used to reach out of the way places or items, either directly, or as a ricochet off the walls. Throughout each level, Chibi can collect items that power up his plug, allowing him more range and power for his Zip Lash attack. The game takes Chibi-Robo to a host of different environments around the world, and has him face off against some big baddies in his quest to help the human race.

Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash can be found exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS. Unlike Chibi's last release, Zip Lash does not take advantage of the augmented reality functionality, but it is compatible with amiibo, so you're in luck if you have a New Nintendo 3DS, or an NFC receiver for your older 3DS model. In fact, there is even an Chibi-Robo amiibo that comes packed with certain editions of the game, so you too can have your own adorable, little robot in your home.

Decades of experience have proven that Nintendo are the masters of platforming, and Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash is no exception to their pedigree. The plug/whip gameplay may be vaguely reminiscent of the 2D classic Bionic Commando, but beyond that, the design feels fresh, both for the series, and as a standalone game. Zip Lash also manages to retain the same endearing qualities pioneered by the earlier games in the series, and skip Ltd. cashed in every possible option to make Chibi-Robo cute and lovable. While the level progression could be a bit frustrating (you shouldn't have to spin a wheel to choose your next level), the game is easily accessible for players of all ages, from newcomers, to longtime Chibi fans. The game offers quite a bit of replay value as well, so for the completionists out there that want to dig in, and replay each level over and over to collect everything while searching out all of the game's secrets, Zip Lash has you covered as well. Zip Lash strikes a nice balance between challenging and fun, with Chibi-Robo tipping the scales in favor of the more pleasant of the two. If you have any doubts of whether or not you should give Zip Lash a try, just look at Chibi-Robo and try saying, "no" to him. Go ahead, try it. It can not be done.