Mixed or average reviews - based on 49 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 49
  2. Negative: 4 out of 49
Buy On
  1. Electroplankton is an interesting experiment in both music and game design, but its reliance on the novelty of something different limits its lasting value.
  2. But beyond the blurring of the lines and the unceasing debate, one thing is for certain; Electroplankton is unquestionably art.
  3. 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]
  4. This is a game that's been created for the weirdos of the world interested in a game like no other.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Game Informer
    Unfortunately, most of the forms are just too random and arbitrary to be really compelling. [Feb 2006, p.113]
  9. 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.
  10. Nintendo Gamer
    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]
  11. 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.
  12. Computer Games Magazine
    What you see--or more specifically, what you hear--is exactly what you get. [Apr 2006, p.91]
  13. This gentle time-waster is a relaxing antidote to intense shoot ’em ups.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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."
  17. AceGamez
    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.

Awards & Rankings

#10 Most Discussed DS Game of 2006
#42 Most Shared DS Game of 2006
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 37 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 37
  2. Negative: 10 out of 37
  1. ChrisD
    Sep 22, 2009
    A fun and creative time killer, but not much more. Unfortunately small and limited. I loved it dearly for about a week and never touched it again.
  2. Jun 10, 2014
    Difícil decir si es un videojuego o un programa de música interactiva, pero sin duda una de las genialidades más grandes de la DS. Amable yDifícil decir si es un videojuego o un programa de música interactiva, pero sin duda una de las genialidades más grandes de la DS. Amable y simpático es una pieza de arte digital que debería exponerse en museos. Full Review »
  3. Jun 18, 2012
    Sometimes a random noise machine, sometimes a true composition tool, Electroplankton is an always-amusing music toy.

    The Good: Unique,
    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 »