Now, before you tell me that there was a second game made similar the original Chibi-Robo (in the form of Okaeri! Chibi-Robo! Happy Richie Ōsōji! for the Nintendo DS), that game was never made available in the West. What I want is not just another Chibi-Robo game that is similar to the first Chibi-Robo game, but I would want it on the Nintendo Switch (by the way, this op-ed is filled with spoilers so I wouldn’t recommend you read it if you are still interested in playing the game).
Now, here my reasoning as to why there should be another Chibi-Robo game to that extent. The last Chibi-Robo game released was Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash for the Nintendo 3DS in 2015. The overall difference between that game and the original Chibi-Robo was that the developers decided to make the game a platformer. Unfortunately, not many people seem to have enjoyed it, as it got mixed to negative reviews on Metacritic (receiving a score of 59).
“Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash is not the best Chibi-Robo – it is not even that great of a 2D side-scroller or platformer, either,” said Cubed3 in their review of the game. I have to agree.
I myself decided to take the plunge and buy Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash when it came out around two years ago. Along with the purchase of the game, I received a Chibi-Robo amiibo (that was kind of the whole reason I bought the game in the first place…). As soon as I started playing the game, I became bored pretty instantly. Where was all the excitement and heavy-storytelling from Chibi-Robo? I realized that what I wanted was not another Chibi-Robo game, but I craved for a game that was similar to Chibi-Robo (which came out in 2005).
Chibi-Robo immersed the player in a broken home. A father who couldn’t stop buying toys and leaves very little money to pay the bills (Chibi-Robo was one of these purchases), a child who only says “ribbit,” and a mother who fails to understand why her family is the way they are at the center of the game’s plot. When Chibi-Robo comes in, the family is on the brink of unhappiness — to the point where eventually, Mrs. Sanderson (the mother) locks herself in her and her husband’s bedroom and forces the rest of the family to fend for themselves.
As said before, that is only the main plot of the story — there are plenty of side quests that involve the various toys that Mr. Sanderson can’t seem to get rid of. The toys only come alive at night, while the rest of the family is sleeping — giving Chibi-Robo ample time to deal with these conflicts all at once. Whether it be dealing with a mummy that thinks he looks too scary to tell a princess doll that he is in love with her, a giant version of Chibi-Robo that was left to rust in the basement due to the Sandersons being unable to afford him any longer (he is a giant robot, so he needs a giant battery), a squadron of eggs dressed in military uniforms too scared to save their friend from the Sandersons’ dog, Tao, or a family of robotic flowers that are mourning the loss of their father, there are endless stories that pull at the heartstrings of the player.
Chibi-Robo doesn’t become the only way changes happen throughout the game, but he is a catalyst in them. At the end of the game, Mr. Sanderson manages to find another job after quitting his last one because his former company used his creations for evil (Mr. Sanderson created the Spydorz, Chibi-Robo’s enemies) because Chibi-Robo managed to destroy the Queen Spydor.
Chibi-Robo also helps out the Free Rangers (those eggs I was talking about earlier) by reminding them what they were fighting for after giving Sarge a photo of the squadron with their kidnapped soldier, Memphis; Chibi-Robo helps out Mort (the mummy) and Princess Pitt by having Mort save the Princess’s life and by making the Princess unafraid of Mort; and Chibi-Robo helps Dinah (a Lego dinosaur who was in love with Funky Phil) and the family of robotic flowers (the Phillies) mourn for their father, Funky Phil (who comes back to life after Telly Vision, your partner in crime, realizes his switch on his back was set to ‘off’) along with plenty other changes.
The biggest change Chibi-Robo helped to catalyze was charging Giga-Robo’s (the giant robot) battery and giving him back his leg after it is stolen by the Queen Spydor. The family and toys are finally able to be happy again, since their old friend was brought back to life.
What I’m trying to say is that by witnessing this plot line fold out, regardless of whether you are a child or an adult, you feel strongly about these characters and their stories. Chibi-Robo helps inspire the characters of this game to be brave or to deal with what is at hand, even though he is unable to talk (that is what Telly Vision is for). In Okaeri! Chibi-Robo! Happy Richie Ōsōji!, Chibi-Robo helps an adult Jenny realize that she has to let go of the past and move on with her life in order to be happy. These games helped me realize that even the smallest of heroes can make the biggest of changes in other people’s lives.
That is why I think Chibi-Robo deserves another chance. Okaeri! Chibi-Robo! Happy Richie Ōsōji! was the last Chibi-Robo game to be made similar to the original and was released seven years ago. I believe that with the opportunity of the Nintendo Switch coming out earlier this year, the Chibi-Robo developers should consider making another Chibi-Robo game that inspires others the way it inspired me.