Electroplankton tuned up

DS rings in New Year with ringing sounds; modules let mobile maestros make music on the move.

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Nintendo today announced that Elektroplankton has launched for the company's latest portable, the Nintendo DS. The "game," which was previously released in Japan, is more of an experimental music-making tool than an actual game. Electroplankton is rated E for Everyone and retails for $34.99 through Nintendo.com, the Nintendo World Store in New York, and "major online retailers." As of press time, online retailers EBGames.com and GameStop.com were not carrying the game, and inquiries into local brick-and-mortar stores revealed the game was not on shelves.

Instead of adhering to the norms of a beginning and an end, a storyline, and high scores, Electroplankton features 10 minigames that allow users to fiddle with some unusual synthesizers. Replacing piano keys, sequencers, and drum machines are a variety of organisms that seem to spring from some primordial soup.

The game was designed by Japanese electronic musician Toshio Iwai and uses several of the DS's unique features. Using the stylus, microphone, and D pad, conductors manipulate a variety of creatures and create music. Four different sounds can be sampled with the mic and plugged into loops. At last year's E3, Nintendo trotted out house DJ David Holland using the game to show off what it calls "a new form of expression."

To see if Electroplankton strikes the right chord, read GameSpot's review.

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