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. 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. Nintendo Power
    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. 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]
  12. Edge Magazine
    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]
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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]
  17. 80
    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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 80
    It comes as a nice surprise to encounter a DS game brimming with originality and imagination.
  21. 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]
  22. Electroplankton is also one of those games for people looking for a change in game design or a form of innovation.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. I also think that the omission of a save feature also a big disappointment considering what kind of work can go into making music.
  26. Pelit (Finland)
    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.

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 »