The surprising thing is that there’s more strategy here than you might expect. While you’re always working on your skills with the capture gun, you’re also having to think: what is the optimal path through the level? Is it worth going back to the kitchen, picking up the roast and putting it in the oven in order to get the bonus Eledees and level up my gun, or would my time be better served just finding and shooting all the Eledees? This, combined with mindless destruction and the general cuteness of the game makes for a surprisingly compelling bit of entertainment.
Admittedly, it does start getting repetitive, particularly in the early stages where you seem to be revisiting the same levels over and over again, and slightly annoying boss levels, which take the game down a more traditional shoot-em-up detour, don’t really help. However, about halfway through Eledees throws in a clutch of fantastic levels where gravity itself has been switched off, and suddenly you have a whole new set of challenges to contend with.
Is all this enough to propel Eledees into our elusive third category of Wii games? Well, it certainly gets close. The fundamental concept is surprisingly strong, the gameplay is addictive, and there are more levels to get through than you might expect. It does have possibly the worst cut-scenes of recent years, with some truly unbearable voice work, but generally speaking the visuals are fine and the music and audio effects strong. Some operations are a little tricky with the Wii remote – putting toast in the toaster is a particular bugbear – but there’s nothing that really breaks the game for long. And Eledees even throws in a primitive level-creation tool, so if you want to create environments full of your favourite toss-able objects, you can.
However, there is still a lingering feeling that Konami could have run further with the ideas here, and that the gameplay lacks the subtlety, the variety and – most of all – that all important WOW factor that could have transformed it from an entertaining excuse to get your Wii back in action into a game that might absorb you for weeks on end. Eledees develops from its simple beginnings, but only in fits and starts, and I doubt most players will be bothered to revisit the same levels over and again to improve their score. I suspect that kids may get a lot more mileage from it, but most adult gamers will have exhausted their initial enthusiasm within a week or two. That’s still a huge improvement on the vast majority of Wii games, where the realistic lifespan can be measured in days or even hours, but to make a must-have game? I don’t think so. Still, as far as near misses go this is probably the most delightful one this year.
Eledees has more depth than you might expect, but it’s no Katamari-style cult classic. It is a lot of fun, but it’s not quite built to last.