Music Creation Software

User Rating: 4 | Electroplankton DS

Before indie games were popular on the PC, Electroplankton was released on the NDS and became a cult hit. It's not really a game as such but music creator software, and has 10 different plankton types each having their own ways of interaction. There are two modes on the main menu; Performance and Audience. Audience is basically an automated demo but you can interact with it too. Performance is the main game where you have full control but firstly, you need to select your plankton.

With Tracy, there are six plankton and drawing lines makes a path for the plankton to travel through, making a sound as it moves. The colour of the plankton as well as the position and speed you drew the line determines the pitch and tempo respectively.

With Hanenbow, there are plants where you can change the angle of the leaves. There's also a leaf in the water where the plankton initially launch from. As they bounce off the leaves, they make sounds depending on which leaf they hit and the position it connected.

With Luminaria, there is a grid with arrows. You can change the direction the arrows are to create a path for the four plankton, each with their own sound and tempo.

With Sun-Animalcule, tapping the screen plants a seed which then grows and makes sounds at a specific rhythm. The time of day progresses which changes the plankton's aesthetics from a sun to a moon.

With Rec-Rec, there are four fish-like plankton that swim from right to left. When you tap one you can begin recording on the next loop using the DS microphone.

With Nanocarp, the plankton slowly move around but they reorganise themselves on the sound of your voice. Tapping the screen or using the directional button makes waves that cause the plankton to make sounds.

With Lumiloop, there are five plankton which you can spin clockwise or anti-clockwise to produce different sound.

With Marine-Snow, there are plenty of snowflake-shaped plankton. Tapping one makes a sound and it switches place with the previously tapped plankton.

With Beatnes, five plankton sway in a line. They have a head and 9 segments which play different sounds. A Nintendo classic track plays in the background and when you tap a plankton, it remembers the sequence which you play on it, and repeats it back five times then waits your next command.

With Volvoice, you record a sound, then tap a shape on the screen to transform the plankton and therefore the sound too.

You will have varying amounts of fun with each plankton type since they differ in complexity and expressiveness. Personally, I didn't find too much fun with the plankton based on the microphone. I would have found them useful if you can combine plankton, so if you could create some music with one, then use Rec-Rec to put down some vocals for more complex compositions. Sadly, you can't do this. Another problem is that the game-play is purely improvised and there is no option to save songs or samples you make. This may add to Electroplankton's niche appeal, but it hinders it as a piece of music creator software.

You can make some decent sounds with the game, and for those people who love the music in certain indie games such as Swords and Sworcery; you may find it more enjoyable. There are plenty of moments where all you are doing can be classed as making noise too, so sometimes you need to slow things down and put a bit more thought into it.

You do have to look at products like this as software, rather than a game, since there is no set objective or points to be scored. It is simply about interactions, creativity and improvisation. It has limited fun and appeal due to the simplistic nature and the lack of ability to save your creations.