If there’s any Nintendo character that could get away with being a corporate shill, it’s Chibi-Robo. The little guy is adorable. When real world items appear in his game, it’s more like you’re getting a glimpse at everyday culture, rather than witnessing product placement in action. So when Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash makes snack collection an actual objective, it ends up being fun rather than a way to educate people about all of these probably super tasty treats you could absolutely buy.
Each Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash level has between one and two snacks hidden within it. One snack is usually lurking in a coin room, where every coin must be collected before time runs out, while the other is hidden along the way. One of the first items you can acquire, as an example, are Utz potato chips. But other items, like Pez, Tootsie Pops, and Pocky, also pop up.
Having them as a momentary collectible is fun enough. Chibi-Robo dances, there’s a sense of accomplishment, and maybe even pride if all snacks are collected so you can get a badge of honor at the end of the level. But the real joy comes from getting to turn the snack in to a toy who’s craving them.
For example, I’m totally curious about the aforementioned Utz potato chips because of Toby the plane. When Chibi-Robo meets him, he needs that treat to refuel. Fine. But he doesn’t just take the snack and give Chibi-Robo coins in return. He also tells the player about the food. For example, the chips use sweet and blue potatoes, so the chips are multicolored. They’re also cooked in sunflower seed oil. I’ve never had sweet potato chips before, and the idea of getting multicolor snacks in a bag seems like a lot of fun.
If you start playing Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash today when the game comes to the Nintendo 3DS, maybe have a snack nearby. Otherwise, this game might start making you hungry.