This time, the Rabbids are not only given their turn in the spotlight, but they're also busting out of the mini-game collection genre that has contained them for far too long. Rabbids Go Home isn't your typical platformer, but we would expect nothing less based on its protagonists.
- Crazy sense of humor
- Simple, enjoyable gameplay
- Gimmicky stages are fun
- It can get repetitive
- Half-hearted multiplayer
- Lengthy load times
For years now, the hyperkinetic Rabbids have been featured in games that have been labeled as Rayman titles, even though the crazed bunny critters have clearly been the stars of the show. Now, the Rabbids are not only given their turn in the spotlight, but they're also busting out of the mini-game collection genre that has contained them for far too long. Rabbids Go Home isn't your typical platformer, but we would expect nothing less based on its protagonists.
Reach For the Sky
In this adventure, the Rabbids have decided that they wish to return to their home, which they have determined must be the moon. Of course, the most efficient way to get there is to collect as much stuff as they can in order to create a pile of garbage that reaches into the depths of space. What follows is a game that is certainly inspired by Namco's Katamari series, but original enough that it doesn't feel derivative.
Like the previous Rabbid games, there's a strong emphasis on Looney Tunes-style humor, and the jokes start to fly right away. Before the game even begins, I got a solid chuckle out of the extremely clever controller calibration test (I wouldn't dream of spoiling the gag). From there, much of the humor comes from the contrast of the manic Rabbids with the bland humans, whose lives get disrupted by the former's mad dash to collect anything and everything within a level, including the shirts off of people's backs.
For most of the game, you steer a shopping cart through a variety of locations (hospitals, office buildings, etc.) where boring old people live their boring old lives. The cart controls quite well, and its animation as it skids around corners might inspire you to attempt a few high speed stunts during your next trip to the grocery store. To combat the various hazards around the world, you aim with your Wii Remote to launch a Rabbid into the screen, initiate a turbo dash, or -- this one will be your most frequently used attack -- unleash a screeching "Bwaaah!" yell by shaking the Remote. There isn't a large variety of moves, but the ones you have are effective.
Actually, a lack of variety is perhaps this game's greatest fault. Although the gameplay is enjoyable, after plowing through a few levels you begin to realize that you're doing the same things over and over. When the action does get mixed up a bit, it's always quite fun. Who wouldn't love rocketing through an airport while clutching an airplane's jet engine? Even simple changes, such as a darkened stage inside a nuclear reactor that only lights up if you wade through pools of toxic goo are welcomed. More novelty levels like these would have helped keep the action fresh.
There are a few extra goodies to help liven things up, though. A fairly involved Rabbid customizer lets you alter your main characters' appearance. Paintbrushes and stamped tattoos are expected tools to use for this, but the real sadistic fun comes from using clamps and air pumps to crush and inflate your Rabbids into shape. A Rabbid Channel that can be installed on the Wii allows you to upload and share your designs. It's a creative bonus, and the personalized touch makes the game that much more enjoyable. There's also a multiplayer aspect to the game, but it's only mildly interesting. The second player is limited to collecting items by pointing at them with the Wii Remote and shooting Rabbids at the screen while the first player controls the cart.
Even though Rabbids Go Home can be a bit repetitive, the core gameplay is enjoyable enough that it doesn't distract from the overall experience. In fact, you'll be having such a good time that you're bound to forgive some of the game’s technical hiccups such as occasional screen tearing and relatively lengthy load times (which are masked by a movie that stops being amusing after you've seen it a few dozen times). And yes, the game's humor goes a long way in adding to its charm. Hopefully Ubisoft gives these goofy beasties more chances to shine in the future.