Electroplankton takes away the standard instrument layout and expects you to learn a new way to play an instrument. All of the music controls in the game are represented by plankton. Some of them you touch to make noise, while others interact with the environment to make noise. But each plankton type has different ways you interact with them. It is almost like learning how to use a miniature instruments. Although some odd choices takes some of the ease out of creating music. For example, one of the plankton makes piano sounds but every time you touch them they start darting around on the screen – basically randomizing the keys on a virtual keyboard with every note played There is little you can do other than have an insanely good memory of where all the keys are and where they have moved to. Or you can play like me and just stab all the plankton in the face with your stylus and pretend you are making music.
The music creation tools of Electroplankton are fairly limited, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make anything (I mean, just search for Mario Paint compositions on Youtube). But probably the biggest issue in Electroplankton is the lack of a save system. If you like something you just made, you can’t save it. The only way to replicate it is by remembering how you got a certain sound before. It encourages you to improvise, but it is a little discouraging knowing you can’t show anyone your creations. Although there are ways you can record it to a computer, but you can figured that out yourself.
If you want to create music on your Nintendo DS, there are plenty of other alternatives that 1. make more sense, 2. give you more freedom, and 3. allows for you to save songs you have created. But Electroplankton holds a special spot in the DS library as one of Nintendo’s first attempts at the casual market on the Nintendo DS, and as a game where you stab plankton and use their musical screams to create music. Electroplankton was only sold through online retailers, so it can be a bit pricey nowadays for a physical copy. Thankfully, if you have a Nintendo DSi, you can conveniently download pieces of the game through DSiWare for a pretty cheap price. So if it sounds interesting and you have a few bucks to spare, trying downloading a couple via DSiware. You might find yourself having some fun.