Metascore
71

Mixed or average reviews - based on 49 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 49
  2. Negative: 4 out of 49
  1. If you have a DS, find a way to procure this game. You will find yourself mesmerized in a way that is profound, delightful and extremely satisfying. [JPN Import]
  2. The ultimate DS show-off title. It looks great, it sounds great, it has near-infinite appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike. As such, it's a great reason to buy Nintendo's finest handheld to date and if it ever gets a EU or US release will no doubt be the next craze after Nintendog fever takes hold.
  3. It's innovate, it's fun and it shows real determination from Nintendo to show exactly what makes the DS stand out from the rest, and for that reason alone you should show your support. DS game of the year? No doubt. Electroplankton is simply an essential DS title.
  4. It's a freestyle experience that allows one to unlock his or her creativity without fear of judgement. It can be totally engrossing and incredibly relaxing.
  5. This is probably the game that should come bundled with the DS, but if you have an ounce of creativity, you owe it to yourself to order Electroplankton.
  6. The only flaw is that once you've played a little Electroplankton, you'll want more. Ten kinds of musical creatures, especially such little masterpieces, can stimulate you for only so long. [Feb 2006, p.99]
  7. 85
    Electroplankton is not a game in any sense of the word. It is art, plain and simple.
  8. If you find yourself even slightly interested, do yourself a favor and give Electroplankton a chance. It is not an experience you'll likely ever come across again. [JPN Import]
  9. Like those children's books that make noise or the shiny gum wrapper you can't stop folding and unfolding, Electroplankton is strangely addictive and impossible to keep your hands off once you've started playing.
  10. It doesn't take any time to learn how to play. You can spend a lot of time playing with each species, but it's easy to burn out on the game if you play it constantly right after you buy it.
  11. This stands as software that will give back to the user as much as they are willing to put in. Without goals, with nothing there to ‘win’, Electroplankton is its own reward. [June 2005, p.93]
  12. I’m not talking about overcomplicated leveling systems, highly technical handling, hardware connectivity, or any of that other crap that’s being pushed on us. We already have everything we need: Our ears, creativity and sense of rhythm. Case in point: Electroplankton.
  13. With a beautifully simple interface and very loveable creatures, Electroplankton won't fail to put a smile on your face - and isn't that what really counts? [GamesMaster]
  14. 80
    An incredibly subjective experience, and it certainly won't be to everyone's liking. Yet at its best, the game turns Nintendo's DS into an odd spin on the iPod -- an intimate, portable, personal musical experience that shifts and changes each time you touch the screen.
  15. 80
    This is exactly the kind of thing that the DS was created for. Excellent, unique, fun, you'll never have so much fun with fish (unless you want to play Seaman on the Dreamcast). [JPN Import]
  16. Electroplankton’s value is very difficult to quantify, and on its own terms succeeds in what it set out to achieve- a ‘touchable media art’ piece of software (creator Toshio Iwai’s words) and in that context it is difficult to find fault with it.
  17. As brilliant and unique as Electroplankton is, there just isn't enough here to keep most players – myself included – entertained for more than a few minutes before moving on.
  18. Others, and I include myself in this group, will love it for being new, unique, different, and just a wholly enjoyable experience that offers something original every time you come back to it.
  19. 80
    It's too much of a great piece of software to pass by undetected. So for those interested, import if need be, but do not miss out.
  20. Electroplankton is also one of those games for people looking for a change in game design or a form of innovation.
  21. 80
    It comes as a nice surprise to encounter a DS game brimming with originality and imagination.
  22. We've seen non-games like this before; the Dreamcast's "Seaman" comes to mind. Typically, they're fleeting novelties that burn out quickly. Electroplankton feels different, simply because it offers too much choice and unexpected surprises.
  23. 80
    Toshio Iwai has captured this very special desire, our need to express ourselves... Silky smooth to the touch, Electroplankton tantalizes the senses. [JPN Import]
  24. I also think that the omission of a save feature also a big disappointment considering what kind of work can go into making music.
  25. As much as I love and appreciate all that is unique and wonderful about Electroplankton, there simply isn’t enough lasting appeal provided here in order for me to muster up the must-buy recommendation I really do want to give this title.
  26. Mesmerise, hypnotise, electroplanktonise. It is beautiful and captures your heart, but only for a half an hour. [Mar 2006]
  27. Electroplankton isn’t an acquired tasted. Come to think of it I’m not sure there’s a gamer out there that this was designed for.
  28. Videogames this ain't. Art it might be. But what is it? Electroplankton is. And that's all it sets out to be.
  29. Electroplankton is an interesting experiment in both music and game design, but its reliance on the novelty of something different limits its lasting value.
  30. But beyond the blurring of the lines and the unceasing debate, one thing is for certain; Electroplankton is unquestionably art.
  31. 70
    But without the helping hand of the developer to offer some set goal or accomplishment, it ends up a smidge too shallow and empty to really be something as fulfilling as a final Nintendo DS product.
  32. Unfortunately, most of the forms are just too random and arbitrary to be really compelling. [Feb 2006, p.113]
  33. Electroplankton doesn't provide thrills as much as it stimulates creativity. One major disappointment is that while Electroplankton does promote art, it doesn't allow you to save anything. [JPN Import]
  34. This is a one-of-a-kind title that could only be done on the Nintendo DS, but this melange of musical marine life won't be everyone's cup of sea water.
  35. It's too superficial to be more than a curiosity and not versatile enough to have real mileage, but it has a magical quality that'll put a smile on the faces of all who touch it. [Aug 2006, p.64]
  36. And while it's more of a tech demo than a test of reflexes, after a long day of crime and combat, it's just what your overworked thumbs need.
  37. 70
    Unfortunately, unless you're extremely into music making, your fun will run out before too long. The inability to save anything really hurts as well.
  38. This is a game that's been created for the weirdos of the world interested in a game like no other.
  39. This is not a game, but it's also not the audiovisual tool Nintendo would like you to think it is. It's a toy, and it won't hold your attention for too long.
  40. What you see--or more specifically, what you hear--is exactly what you get. [Apr 2006, p.91]
  41. This gentle time-waster is a relaxing antidote to intense shoot ’em ups.
  42. The concept of the game if really neat, but when it is put into play, it disappoints. It ends up feeling like it is a side game to a larger game, like a little bonus unlockable.
  43. Electro-plankton might have been more engaging if it gave you goals, such as coming up with a certain number of notes in a given amount of time or having to replicate songs and riff on them. It should, at the very least, have allowed you to save your work; instead, your musical creations are fleeting and forgettable.
  44. This one is unfortunately destined to drown in the pool of DS tech-demos and toys, as a great idea that never reached its potential.
  45. Me, I like Electroplankton, if simply because it took some guts to make it. I just wish there was more to do than peer at the screen and say, "Like wow, man. Heavy."
  46. Despite its innovation, charm and style, the glaring functionality omissions render it impotent. You turn it on, draw out some cool sounds for a couple minutes, and then shut it off wondering why you can't save anything.
  47. 33
    To conclude, there's no game here, limited staying power, and no real incentive for you to buy this game. In fact, it looks, feels, sounds, and plays like something a programming major might make in Flash. My recommendation: Trick your buddy into buying the game and borrow it once.
  48. I’m all for original games that tap the creative juices of its players. I even like music games. Unfortunately, Electroplankton serves up 30 minutes of decent fun, but then the party’s over. There simply isn’t enough to do, not enough options to explore, and the experience is cut short way too fast.
  49. 10
    Pretentious bullsh.t. Playing with tiny, microscopic things. Paying $35 for a game that's suckier than the free games that came with your cellphone.
User Score
7.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 23
  2. Negative: 6 out of 23
  1. Jun 18, 2012
    7
    Sometimes a random noise machine, sometimes a true composition tool, Electroplankton is an always-amusing music toy.

    The Good: Unique,
    intuitive "levels".

    The Bad: Not a proper "game" if you're expecting that; no save/export feature.

    The definition of "videogame" has been changing a lot over the years in order to accommodate new forms of interaction. But even if that's the case it's still hard to file Electroplankton under that category due to a lack of some key (for most gamers) attributes as "challenge" or proper "goals" within its design.
    With that out of the way--I mean, exchanging "videogame" for "virtual toy" in its label--it becomes easier to enjoy (and recommend in my case) Electroplankton to anyone curious about being creative with music.

    Designed by the Japanese multimedia artist Toshio Iwai Electroplankton is a collection of ten sound editing/generating/mixing "levels" available in two modes: "Audience" (for just watching some previously recorded stuff) and "Performance" (where you interact with the levels' elements to generate music). Obviously the most interesting mode is "Performance", and here the diversity in how one can toy with sounds may be a lasting joy in itself--even if just for the sake of curiosity. Aside that the weird and intriguing presentation adds another personality touch that's much more than a superficial coat of paint--in fact it's an integral part of the game's design and it delights the player just as much as the sound does.

    Some of the modes are just playgrounds for blips and clicks that allow you to create a little funny mess, like "Hanenbow" (where you throw tadpoles at some inclinable leaves as they resound) or "Sun-Animalcule" (drop little "sun-seeds" that grow in size and intensity--visually and musically--until they disappear).
    But for those wanting to dig deeper there are a few levels that can be taken more seriously as composition tools since their elements are more "controllable". Take "Rec-Rec", a four-track recorder ("recorder" here means a fish that eats the sound you yell at it) that takes advantage of the DS built-in mic with a nice amount of base beat options and adjustable speed as an example; or "Luminaria", where four light beings (each moving in a different speed but still evenly related regarding tempo) run in a labyrinth of movable arrows ("arrows" going for "notes").

    Anyway there is a downside that affects everyone. Be the player a casual user or a music aficionado he/she will eventually face the disappointment of not being able to record their work. At times one can bring some neat stuff up and just have to throw it all away due to the lack of such a clearly desirable feature. Of course, implementing that would demand a huge amount of memory to make it work and all, but the way it is it's just plain frustrating.

    In the end Electroplankton has the potential to amuse/entertain any "gamer" (or non-gamer for that matter) slightly interested in music--pretty much anyone, actually--if they can overcome the "videogame" expectation and "play" with it in every sense of the word.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 23, 2011
    10
    There are far too few positive examples of games that are art. This is one of them. As it is, its a difficult to find and somewhat expensive game, but now that the individual plankton games are for sale on the DSi, people shouldn't miss them! The game is a simple music maker, thats it, but the way it does so is so inviting and creative you'll love it. Also, its design makes it so that you'll never have the same experience twice, always discovering something new and original about each time you play each game. My advice: plug in your head phones and take your time. Totally worth it. Full Review »