Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Electroplankton isn't a game. It's a musical instrument. You get ten different "scenarios" - each with different critters that let you explore your musical talents.
For example, in one scenario you have little snowflake shaped creatures filling the DS screen. As you tap on each one, it plays its own unique little note. Tapping and dragging creates a symphony of gently tinkling sounds.
In another situation, little firefly type creatures respond to your noises. You can clap and sing and they'll create formations - circles, lines, hearts, even special shapes.
I'm sure every player has their own favorite game. One of the games lets you record a short sound segment and then play it back in many different ways - including backwards. Another lets you draw lines and have the creatures follow the lines, playing songs as they go.
I have two personal favorites. One is Rec-Rec. You have four fish swiming around in a loop. They swim for four "beats" and you can in fact have a background beat rhythm playing for you. It's in essence a four track recorder. You record each fish's song / sound / speech separately. So you could have one fish singing "Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques" and then the next fish sing "Dormez Vous? Dormez Vous?" and create your own personal round. You can lay down drums on one fish, then make bass noises for the next and have a cool song going. I can literally play this for hours and hours, swapping songs around.
My other favorite game is Beatnes which is in essence the same thing but with notes to play. You get four chains of notes to choose from. You tap out a song on one, which then cycles around repeatedly. You can add notes from the other chains to add harmonies or counter-tunes. The problem here is that a given tune only cycles for a few times and then goes away, so you have to keep filling the pieces back in again.
Actually the HUGE issue here is that I run into all sorts of sound combinations I really really adore - but there's no way to easily save them! I would LOVE to be able to hit a 'save' button and save a given combination to the card, to play again later for myself or for friends / family. This would have been super easy for them to implement. I am baffled why they didn't.
Also, each game is *really* basic. Beatnes times out after X rounds. Why not give us the option to not time out? To time out after 50 rounds? Also, while in general I really enjoy the sounds that are included in each situation, the beatnes sounds are all very "computer gamey". I would have *loved* to have say bell sounds or piano sounds available here. Again, it would have been very easy to do and would have really expanded what the game could be.
I think this is a brilliant starting point. I love music, I come from a musical household and even with the limited options here I do play this a fair amount. Even so, there is just SO much more they could have done - in terms of game types, sound options, looping options and so on. It would have taken only a tiny bit more effort to add those in, since the basic work was already done. I don't understand why they stopped where they did.
Maybe there'll be a sequel that is much more complete. When it comes out - especially if it has a SAVE option - I'll gladly buy that! In the meantime, there's enough here to keep me entertained.
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