Actually, I suppose you could just pick an item and see what the minimum number of elements it takes to get it is. Or possibly the minimum number of combinations, though that's harder to keep track of. I required 25 elements to unlock all 14 families. I also think 14 elements is the minimum to create a human.
This game is interesting, but if you finish it and want more, try coming up with challenges, like least elements that get all categories or... I dunno, maybe there's other ideas. But yeah, try that... I got 33, though I was hardly trying at the time.
Actually fop, I'm under the impression that the reason nothing is explained is that it isn't set in stone. You are intended to add your own personal interpretation. Whether or not this is entertaining or not to you is a different story, but that's my impression.
Another game that really plays to the collector mentality that some of us (IE me) have. I agree that there's not much of an appearance of a game, but there is definitely a puzzle going on here. Much like Katamari Damacy's descriptions of items, I could spend a lot of time with it doing nothing much.