|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Skip||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 2, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Playing groundskeeper is a blast, but anyone expecting the same kind of experience found in the original may find themselves feeling slighted at first. It's easy to think of Park Patrol as Chibi-Robo lite. Compared to the original, the emphasis on exploration is greatly diminished, and the overall gameplay environment is much smaller. Aside from the park grounds, which are fortunately quite large, you can send Chibi across the street to a town area consisting of a few storefronts, an alleyway, and a burger joint.
There's not much to do there besides sell flowers for happy points, hunt through garbage for hidden items, and recruit pals to help you work on the park. There aren't as many areas to explore, but the expansive park management element almost completely makes up for it.
When it comes to building up your park, you have complete control over every aspect of its appearance. Attracting people to the park is a major goal, and you'll greatly improve the number of visitors to the area by including interactive elements, games, utility structures, and other fun features, along with enhancing its natural beauty. Numerous enhancements can be unlocked by finding hidden cartridges located throughout the game. The cartridges can be fed into a wall-mounted Famicom unit located in the Chibi-House. Stumbling across new cartridges is exciting and adding new features to your park is actually quite satisfying. Whether it's putting in a trampoline, a park bench, a windmill for power generation, or even simple items like trees and streams, there's a lot of cool things you can do with the space. Finding your way around the park also becomes easier once you unlock a handful of cute vehicles for Chibi-Robo. Watching him pedal around on a little bicycle is curiously heart-warming.
Even though the gameplay has changed somewhat drastically, Park Patrol still manages to capture the delightful essence of the original, only in a smaller package. The environmental conservation theme is also refreshing to see in a game. Hopefully it will turn on some of the younger players the idea of cleaning up the environment while keeping them entertained. Park Patrol is a great stepping stone for Chibi-Robo. Let's just cross our fingers the little guy makes the jump back to a full-blown console game in near future.
CCC Freelance Writer