As disheartening as 2014’s Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder was, the hot Nintendo Direct reveal of Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash is doubly so. In its original form, Chibi-Robo was a wonderful little game about discovery. Not only discovering the gigantic human world he inhabited, but also Chibi-Robo’s discoveries about human nature, often from the most inhuman characters. While they were flawed, each and every Chibi-Robo game until now has done something unique. Now we have Zip Lash, a side-scrolling platformer with gameplay that’s been done a hundred times before.
Chibi-Robo’s electrical plug “tail” is now a whip/grappling hook. That’s it. It’s the damn laziest conceit you could think up from looking at the character and it makes me wonder if anyone who had anything to do with the previous games is still involved. But who cares because AMIIBO!!! Sadly, the fact that the toy is exclusively bundled with the game means this will be the best selling, most sought after Chibi-Robo title ever. It also makes me wonder if we’re about to see a deluge of cheap games and apps simply to justify an amiibo.
Maybe there’s more to Zip Lash than the little that’s been shown. Maybe it’s not just a vehicle to sell a toy. Maybe we’ll find out more at E3 and I’ll be happy to rescind these comments. Maybe.