Developer: Konami Digital Entertainment | Publisher: Konami | Release Date: 2007 | Genre: Action / First Person Shooter | Website: n/a | Purchase: Amazon
Kai is a young boy whose parents are experts in the field of Eledee research. Eledees are small, magical creatures that power all electronic equipment but since his parents spend so much time studying these critters, Kai is quite bitter about the whole affair. Kai takes matters into his own hands one evening after a thunderstorm when all the Eledees goes into hiding. While his parents rush off to investigate this mysterious occurrence, Kai grabs his father’s capture gun and goes Eledee hunting.
While Eledees is technically a first person shooter, you don’t actually kill any Eledees or cause bloodshed. Instead the capture gun is used to suck up the Eledees, Ghostbusters style which allows you to harness their energy. Of course, the Eledees generally don’t just patiently wait for you to grab them and hide around, under and behind objects just like little cockroaches. You have to grab objects, give them a good shake to dislodge any hidden Eledees and then capture the little critters that scurry away.
Each level requires you to capture a certain amount of Eledees in order to proceed and to make things a bit more challenging, there is a time limit involved. The game starts out in Kai’s house where you clear individual rooms of Eledees but soon ventures outside and into the city. Later levels also impose some bizarre restrictions such as not causing too much damage or keeping the noise down which kind of spoils the fun since causing a mess is half the fun in this game.
The Wii controller, which is used as the capture gun is the perfect match for this game and acts as a real showcase for what the console is capable of. You use it to open doors, pull out drawers, turn on items and smash objects while the nunchuck is used for movement and crouching or stretching. Your capture gun can only take a certain amount of damage before you lose so it is important to dodge the hostile Eledees and avoid any hazards on the levels. Capturing Eledees with the Wii remote is quite fun although it is quite tricky to make precise movements. Blasting the Eledees and flinging around objects is easy enough but once you start combining items you start to run into the limitations of the control setup. It wasn’t enough to spoil my enjoyment of the game but it is definitely an issue.
Your capture gun starts out quite weak on each level and you have to capture special Eledees to upgrade it. As the weight that your capture gun can handle increases, you will be able to lift heavier objets and thus uncover the Eledees hiding within. As the amount of watts you get from the Eledees increases you are able to activate certain electrical appliances such as televisions, ovens, microwaves and telephones which dislodges even more Eledees. The problem is if you make too big a mess, these appliances might be buried beneath a heap of other objects causing you to waste valuable time digging through everything. An onscreen prompt informs you when you have harvested enough watts to activate a certain appliance so at least you know exactly what to look for.
Apart from hiding from you, Eledees can also run amok and knock over things which can be a real pain on levels that fail you if you break too many things. This means you’ll have to creep up on sleeping Eledees or use one of the power-ups such as the EMP to knock them out. Eledees actually have moods so the happier they are when you capture them the more watts you gain from them. You can lure Eledees out with the cookie power-up or use the vacuum cleaner one to suck them right up. These power-ups and more are scattered about the levels and usually last for about thirty seconds so make the most of them.
The Eledees are a wacky bunch and actually reminded me a bit of Pokemon. You have flying Eledees, water Eledees and even spikey ones that you have to avoid capturing because they will damage your gun. Each level also hides three special pink Eledees, which when captured unlocks a score attack, eternal or challenge mode for the level. The Eledees are mostly harmless although some will retaliate by using the toy tanks on a level to fire at you. Later on, Eledees also gain the ability to merge together to form much larger, mischievous Eledees. There are also a few boss battles against special Eledees but these aren’t too challenging.
The visuals, while charming, are rather bland and doesn’t exactly push the Wii to its limits. The textures in the game are very basic and once you toss around enough stuff, some slowdown tends to occur. As much fun as flinging about objects is, it also makes it clear that the physics are not always very realistic. Still, the levels are nice and varied and there is plenty of cool Konami touches such as a cameo from Robbie (the Silent Hil) rabbit in the amusement park and the way Eledees display a Metal Gear Solid style exclamation mark above their heads when startled. Some levels have gorgeously drawn, storybook style cut-scenes but these only highlight how horrible the voice acting is. The quirky soundtrack is still fine but the voice-acting is really annoying.
Eledees is one of those games that would just not have been as much fun on other platforms. While the main game isn’t very long, you can unlock an “Edit” mode to create your own levels which can then be shared and traded with friends online. You can also play local multiplayer with up to four people at once but this isn’t as much fun as it sounds. I had a lot of fun playing Eledees and despite the game being a bit childish and repetitive at times, I would not hesitate it to people who are looking for something a bit different from the usual first person shooters.
*Review originally published 2007.