- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 1, 2009

Here’s an abbreviated look at some multimedia titles for the entire family.

Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero (for DS, Konami, $29.99) — Those cute, electrifying gnomes return for another round of mischief in a charming adventure, perfect for the younger player.

Picking up where the first game left off, the young human hero Kai and his new favorite Omega Elebit find themselves on faraway worlds thanks to the miscues of a talking, time-warping bus.

While the first Elebits game was a tech-intensive first-person shooter for the Nintendo’s hand-held universe and take part in a third-person romp with a hint of role-playing elements.

Kai’s primary mission is still to collect Elebits. Using his Capture Gun to shake objects, the creatures pop out, scatter and it’s up to his Omega pal to absorb and transform them into watts. (Watts are the currency and power source of the game and can be used to mature other Elebits, unlock their abilities, open areas for exploration and fuel the bus to get back home.)

The stylus creates all of the magic on the bottom touch screen while the top screen offers a map view of an area and extends action when it’s time for a boss battle.

A second level of interacting with new characters, utilizing special Omegas while managing a collection of them makes the game even deeper. Wireless, multicard play includes a frenetic Elebit collection challenge for up to four players to enjoy.

I would have loved a Wii sequel to Elebits, but it’s hard not to smile when watching a youngster devour this title.

Animal Boxing (for DS, Destineer, $19.99) — No, this isn’t a simulation where innocent creatures are thrown into a back alley and forced to duke it out. Rather, it’s a mediocre offering where a player can beat the snot out of anthropomorphic examples from nature’s food chain.

The paper-thin story set in an isolated village tells the tragic story of a lonely, disgruntled human who can only bond with his animal brethren by boxing against them at a local gym.

Presented in the first-person point of view, the game challenges a player to take on 50 top Animal Kingdom contenders, such as a rooster, moose and elephant, after creating a customizable human character.

With the DS turned upside down, click the touch screen or draw lines on it to deliver jabs, hooks, uppercuts and power shots. Hit buttons to block punches and use an occasional power up to regain health or get fired up.

The action is cartoony and is as nonviolent as one would think punching a horse in the nose would be. Also, no blood is shed, but have you ever see an owl with a black eye?

An added extra allows a pair of players to wirelessly box if each has a copy of the game.

It’s an odd premise for sure, but reasonably priced and rated E for everyone. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine who should be playing this game. I can’t see parents wanting to instill in their 8-year-old a tendency to hurt an animal, no matter how Looney Tunes it looks.