Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash is a 2D platformer. That’s a break for the norm for this character. Both of Chibi’s games from the GameCube and DS era were 3D adventure titles. Even the Photo Finder AR game from a year or so ago featured 3D movement.
Nintendo elected to take the character to 2D with Zip Lash on the Nintendo 3DS, and they did so because of the demographic the game is aimed towards.
According to Nintendo Assistant Producer and Chief Director Risa Tabata, aside from supporting the rope swing mechanic, a 3D game would have been too tough for kids. This comes from an interview with US Gamer
“We chose the 2D scrolling perspective since it was a good match for the swinging and whipping gameplay. A 3D landscape would allow you to do more, but would also make controls and aiming more complex and the game harder overall. Chibi-Robo is a character who’s beloved by a lot of small children as well, so I wanted this game to be accessible to that audience too.”
I’m not so sure about that. I was a kid at the dawn of 3D gaming, an era where developers really had no idea how to best use the perspective. I managed to navigate those games just fine.
I think I would have enjoyed a 3D Chibi-Robo! much more than a 2D one. I suspect others would agree. That’s a problem, because Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash might be Chibi’s last shot at success for Nintendo.