A quirky, offbeatAdventure Game with the guts of a platformer, Chibi-Robo tells the story of the Sandersons, a seemingly average suburban family. For her birthday, 8-year-old Jenny Sanderson receives a "Chibi-Robo", a tiny, 4-inch tall Robot Maid with a hyperspace head, a neurotic flying sidekick, and the ability to turn just about anything into a useful tool. By design, Chibi-Robo is supposed to perform simple household tasks: Cleaning up, entertaining children, cooking—the basics. But this particular Chibi-Robo doesn't have it so easy, as he becomes a kind of Armchair Psychiatrist to the Sandersons and all of their severely messed up toys.What? Did we forget to mention that all of the toys in their house are alive? Silly us.Released in 2005 for the GameCube, Chibi-Robo is considered something of a cult hit. It was critically praised, but sold poorly—partially due to its odd nature and partially due to the overall bad sales of the system it was on. Despite this, it managed to spawn a very cute sequel on the Nintendo DS, this time with a Green Aesop thrown in, but as it was a Walmart exclusive for a while after release, it didn't sell very well. If you have a Wii (or still have a GameCube kicking around), check this out—it's incredibly cheap, quite fun, cute as a button, and unexpectedly moving.Nintendo included it as one of their "New Play Control!" Updated Rereleases for Wii. A third entry, Welcome Home, Chibi-Robo! Happy Rich Big Sweep was released in Japan for the Nintendo DS in Fall 2009, but passed most of the country by due to lack of advertising. A 3DS game subtitled "Photo Finder" appeared on the 3DS, including augmented reality features.
This game provides examples of:
Absurdly Spacious Sewer - Justified, as Chibi is only a few inches tall. What's huge to him is tiny to everyone else.
All Love Is Unrequited - Every lovestruck character in the game manages to avert this... except for Dinah, who never admits her liking for Phil to his face without trying to take it back as a joke even by the end of their subplot, which... must have been a pretty tough time for her, to say the least. Poor Sophie never really gets anywhere even once she mostly averts this, either.
Ambiguously Gay - Ketschburg and Moustardin from Photo Finder. The only real ambiguity about it is the fact that they're never actually called a couple. They have lines where they talk about the fact that they were (literally) made for each other, and during one sidequest, when it looks like Miss Clayra might have designs on Ketschburg, Moustardin exclaims that she'll never let her take Ketschburg away from him.
Beast and Beauty - The mummy action figure Mort loves the beautiful princess doll Princess Pitts.
Benevolent Architecture - No matter how out-of-the-way it seems, some part of the landscape will let you get up there.
And, thanks to Park Patrol, you can even make the landscape that way!
Big "NO!" - Mr. Sanderson utters one when he realizes that his wife wants to divorce him.
Bland-Name Product - The company that made Chibi-Robo, Citrusoft, is a reference to Apple. In a similar vain, the company that made the evil Spydorz, Macroware, is a thinly veiled poke at Microsoft. Taking sides much? Or, it could be the other way around: Citru-SOFT=Micro-SOFT and MAC-roware. Or they could be combinations of the two companies. Take your pick.
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata is a fan of Apple after all.
The Cameo - A character named Kid Eggplant looks VERY similar to Eggplant Man from Wrecking Crew. There's also Primopuel, who is a real toy produced by Bandai (though only in Japan).
Cartoon Creature - Squid Vicious in Photo Finder is the Animate Inanimate Object version of this. For most of the other characters in the game, it's obvious what sort of objects they represent (plasticine clay, a tin robot, garden statuary), but Squid is just sort of a plasticky-looking strange... thing.
Cast from Hit Points - Chibi has one stat for everything, from using special abilities to taking damage to time—it's his battery. Plugging into a handy outlet gives you a full heal.
Concepts Are Cheap - Lampshaded with Drake Redcrest. According to his "official" bio, he fights for justice, but he actually has no idea what justice really means and is in a state of mild existential crisis because of it.
Cool and Unusual Punishment - When Chibi plugs in to recharge, if the player mashes buttons in an effort to rush through Telly's save dialog (and on a heavy "15 minute" day this can be as many as 3-5 recharges), then when Chibi goes to unplug he gets harmlessly whacked with a pan or can top dropped from above. Telly denies it, of course, stating he has no idea where it came from, but counts the number of times it has happened.
Dinah and Sophie, though the "Disney" part can come in too quickly afterwards for it to be made particularly dramatic. Dinah jumps out of her loft after you collect all of the lego blocks and smashes on the floor, but Mr. Sanderson puts her back together, which was part of her plan; Sophie passes out after giving Drake her letter and her butterfly-formed ghost is shown floating out of her body, but trying to talk to her revives her, and it also happens every time you use the ghost costume's pose on her.
You yourself are able to pull one off. Telly Vision even cries over your 'grave' when you fall over.
Gender Equals Breed - More like, "Gender Equals Toy Line." The children of Mort and Princess Pitts are a male mummy action figure and a female princess doll.
Getting Crap Past the Radar - Sunshine and his "nectar" go without saying. Also, the first time Phil drops a seed, Dinah, while ranting, will say something to the tune of "Why am I blushing?! It's only a seed!" ...Uhh.
It gets ridiculous enough to fall into Refuge in Audacity, as well. Like when you carry a pirate ship that is easily over 10 times Chibi's size.
I'm Okay - Sophie loudly proclaims "FEELS GOOOOD!" after falling down the stairs.
In-Universe Game Clock - You can customize the length. Shorter days mean less waiting for time-based events, but obviously, less time to do chores. Longer days mean more time to do stuff, but when it comes to time-based events, be prepared to wait unless you've got a pair of Pajamas.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Sergeant of the Free Rangers. While he is harsh on them and insults them despite hard work, he is genuinely worried about the youngest ranger, Memphis, who was kidnapped by Tao.
Also, Captain Plankbeard, who is quite harsh-mouthed, but he is really attached to Giga-Robo.
Kleptomaniac Hero - You'd think you'd lose points for having so much household stuff go missing. Oh well.
Mood Whiplash - Of a kind that can cause decapitation from it's severity. It's a lot more potent to anybody playing who knows what it's like to be in a family where you get A) Ignored by a parent not due to ill will but because of circumstances (Jenny and her mother), B) have a family threatening to taken apart because of miscommunication (the father), or C)to care about somebody who tends to irresponsible and makes it difficult to keep making excuses for them, and then finding out they had a reason for it in the first place and didn't want to hurt you with it (the mother). and remember, that all happens after a playful romp with living toys and trying to make the family happy. And that's not all of the problems you face in the game.
Money for Nothing - After buying all the upgrades, there's really nothing more you need. You also don't need Happy Points after completing the game.
Motor Mouth - Dinah, not so much in the speed of her words as the quantity.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero - General Greenthumb's original owner, thinking he's stupid since he can't win playing as him in a game, discards his Greenthumb figure at the park, thus providing the perfectminion for Miasmo.
No Export for You - Park Patrol in Europe. The rest of the world likely won't see the third game with it being 2 years old, the DS being succeeding and NoA refusing to localize anything.
No Name Given - Mr. and Mrs. Sanderson are known as just that, with no mentioned first names.
No One Gets Left Behind - This is the main conflict with the Free Rangers: A while ago, they let their youngest member, Memphis, get left behind, and they haven't recovered.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything - Both Captain Plankbeard (a literal pirate, who lampshades this to a degree "As ye know, pirates who aren't evil end up at theme parks...It be terrifyin'") and the Free Rangers (a military-esque group) don't seem to do much in the way of their official jobs—though the Free Rangers do train a lot.
Playable Epilogue - The game continues after resurrecting Giga-Robo, and a few sidequests are only completable after this.
Park Patrol continues after beating Miasmo and gaining Greenthumb's power source, and the sidequest bit applies here as well.
Stalker with a Crush - Sophie really "watches" Drake more than she follows him. Then again, she's slightly less mobile. Once she "dies", though, she constantly flies behind him as a ghost butterfly.
Stealth Pun - The princess doll's name is Princess Pitts. If that seems like an odd name for a princess, think about some other Nintendo franchises for a bit. What do you find inside of a Peach?
Stuck In Their Shadow - In-Universe example with Fizz of the penguin mascot duo for PopFizz Soda in Park Patrol. He gets fed up and leaves Pop after a while, but they patch things up later.
Talking with Signs: Chibi-Robo is generally voiceless, so he speaks with "yes" and "no" signs.
Theme Naming - The Free Rangers are all named after major US locations (at least in the American version). Most are cities or nicknames for cities (Frisco), with some oddballs like Maui, an island, and Bama, presumably Alabama.
Time Skip - The third game in the series, Welcome Home Chibi-Robo!, features a grown-up Jenny as the owner of the household this time around. She even has her own son.
Tuckerization - Family dog Tao was a real dog, owned by the game's creator. He looked pretty much exactly like the in-game one. He actually has appearances in many other Skip, Ltd. games (like Captain Rainbow), but the real dog sadly passed away in 2009.
Wizard Needs Food Badly - A version of it. Being a robot, Chibi runs off a battery, and he needs to "charge" it periodically. Until the aliens show up and give every robot in the world, including you, perpetual energy.
The Park Patrol Chibi still needs to plug in frequently at the beginning of its game, but it also has the ability to convert happy points into energy, so the energy crisis was averted anyway. Maybe that was technology derived from the aliens. The toys in Park Patrol occasionally need this too, from Chibi-Robo itself. Except for Smogglor/Greenthumb.
The Photo Finder Chibi also still needs to plug in frequently.