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Electroplankton

Fishing for something different on your DS? Nintendo's experimental sound creation toy may just float your boat

Right, let's not muck about - Electroplankton isn't a game. If you're looking for something with a red and blue plumber shouting "Woo-hoo", you're better off waiting for New Super Mario Bros. due for release later this summer. However, if perchance you enjoy creating bizarre stereo soundscapes reminiscent of electronic and sequenced music pioneers Brian Eno, Philip Glass and Boards of Canada (and hey, who doesn't?!) then Nintendo's seriously-quirky Electroplankton is definitely worth checking out.

Created by a Japanese music and media artist Toshio Iwai (who worked on the never-released mouse-based game Sound Fantasy for the SNES), Electroplankton allows you to use the stylus, touch-screen and microphone on the DS to make original, weird, silly music loops and sonic atmospheres. There are ten different tiny sea creatures you can interact with, each producing a different style of music.

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Hanenbow, for example, are tiny round creatures that when fired from the left of the screen, bounce on the leaves of a plant on the right, triggering a strange, ethereal sequence of notes depending on the angle of the leaves and speed of delivery. Nanocarp, meanwhile, are cute swimming organisms that arrange themselves in different patterns triggered by sounds you make into the DS microphone, then play gorgeous high-pitched plinks and plonks when sound waves are activated by the D-pad.

It's all pretty bonkers stuff, but the fun is in throwing down the manual and just experimenting with this truly unique sonic toy - although a major drawback is that you can't save any of your favourite accidental compositions. You'll either love or hate Electroplankton - but either way, you'll be satisfied that the bizarre noises, odd tunes and beautiful sequences you'll produce will be a trillion times better than anything associated with Simon Cowell...

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