The older I get, the more I search for novelty and ingenuity in my games. I’m not content to play the same experience over and over again. This is especially true of my eShop experiences. While I love the eShop in general, I generally find it lacking in quality experiences. They are very hit-or-miss. So, how was Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder? Was it worth my time? Or should Chibi sit unplugged in the corner?
As far as the novelty side of things, Chibi-Robo has us covered. You are a helpful little robot whose job it is to help the curator of the first ever NostalJunk museum. How, you ask? By filling it full of NostalJunk, of course! Most of the barebones plot revolves around The Curator’s emotional highs and lows as you fill up the museum with NostalJunk. Though it is hard to describe, NostalJunk is essentially anything that fits the silhouettes you are provided. But you don’t get these for free. No, you purchase NostalJunk with Happy Points, which are earned by doing chores for a handful of very colorful and downright strange characters. These individuals range the gamut from a Japanese wind-up toy to an amorphous alien bus driver to a breakdancing sponge bear (not joking). The tasks themselves are quite varied. A couple of fun examples are one where you fetch ingredients for Ketschburg and Mostardin, and another where you shoot balloons and discs with your blaster.
Once you have acquired enough Happy Points to unlock some silhouette film, you go to your Chibi PC to purchase it. Then you walk over to your printer, open up your head and let the Happy Points fly. This is an important mechanic, as everything you acquire in the game gets stored in your four-inch-high body. Chibi seems capable of shrinking anything to a manageable size, which is a skill that is never quite explained. Regardless, reality is not a priority in the game, which is one of the most charming traits it has.
Armed with film, you can then take pictures. The goal here is to find something to fit the specific silhouette in question. This is easier said than done, as lighting is crucial, and even a perfect shape match won’t work without tons of it. I often had to use two separate light sources to take acceptable pictures. The goal when taking a shot is to get a certain percentage of accuracy, from 1% to 100%, with 60% being the bare minimum required. This is somewhat complicated by NostalDuds, which I will explain later. For now, it’s enough to understand that your goal is to guess what fills the silhouette and take that picture. For example, if you have a circle silhouette, it could be filled with an orange or a beach ball. If you are successful, you are rewarded with a new piece of NostalJunk, which will then get displayed in the museum. Afterwards you are told what the specific silhouette was supposed to be, which can help you if you decide to take a picture later to try for a higher accuracy. If you’re lucky enough to get 100% accuracy, you are rewarded with a cut-out, which allows you to fill any shape with any item(s).
The ultimate goal is to fill up eight exhibits full of NostalJunk. As you progress, you unlock more Job Requests and a wider cast of characters. The Curator will also reward Chibi with battery pack upgrades as you reach certain milestones, which greatly helps you accomplish your tasks. This is because everything Chibi does is controlled by his Wattage. Run out, and you collapse and lose any Happy Points you were in the process of earning. You start with a 50-watt battery, and upgrade to a 100, 150, 200 and, finally, infinite battery. You recharge by plugging into a socket, which is also how you save your progress.
Besides this, there are other ways to earn Happy Points. You can explore any area that you have unlocked, cleaning up dust and picking up trash. By efficiently recycling garbage, you are rewarded with Happy Points by a pleasant, somehow female, recycle bot. In the midst of this, you can find Stamps, which allow you to mail away for random silhouette film. You might also be lucky enough to find stray NostalDuds. These are pictures that didn’t turn out quite right. Instead of being rendered into NostalJunk, they become a translucent blue puzzle piece. Find enough of them, and you get more film. So, one way or another, you will never be lacking ways to take pictures.
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