Reviewed: January 14, 2010
Released: November 3, 2009
Oh what cruel hoax is this? Iíve been a huge fan of the Raving Rabbids ever since they got their jumpstart with the Rayman tie-in back in 2006. I've sent countless requests to Ubisoft over the past three years for review copies of that game and the sequels that would follow but my pleas went unheard, or at least unanswered.
Even though I never got to officially review any of the earlier Rabbids games if I had they all would have scored in the high 8ís or low 9ís. I loved the whole mini-game, multiplayer elements that conveyed that Wario-style competitive gameplay perfectly for the Wii and family gaming. I also loved the light-gun shooting levels and the inspired music instruments and dancing games in the sequels.
Now, without any effort on my part, a copy of Rabbids Go Home shows up for review. Created by the team who authored the infectious original, I thought my luck had finally changed, but it only took about an hour to realize that this is not the Rabbids I had come to love. It was a boring, simple, and increasingly annoying action-platform title that despite the box cover was neither a comedy nor an adventure.
Iím not sure why the developer decided to break away from the mold that had created several popular previous installments. Instead of light casual fun for the family the Rabbids are now fodder for one (or possibly two) player mundane platforming, racing around cartoonish levels gathering all sorts of items - and I mean ALL SORTS, including scaring the clothes off the humans and taking them as well. The goal is to stack the collected trash and build a tower to the moon. Are we really getting our game ideas from the Old Testament now?
The Rabbids have always been a bit annoying but we only had to deal with them in short intervals of gameplay, which made them more funny than anything else. Now that they are the stars of their own lengthy ďadventureĒ their insane cackles and screams will have you scrambling for the volume (or mute) button after 15 minutes.
The dated gameplay is extremely repetitive and not much fun unless this is the first game youíve played since your SNES. There are a few original concepts and I was impressed the first time I was able to suck a Rabbid into a giant 3D rendering of my Wii-mote and shake it around to have him bounce around the interior. But sadly, after multiple levels I couldnít help but feel this was a WiiWare game at best Ė a potentially enjoyable download game but not worthy of its own retail product.
Your ultimate goal is to collect 1000 points of trash per level. Various items are worth more than others so itís pretty easy to score high, and thankfully perfection isnít required to win, but you are allowed to revisit previous levels via a sewer system to find items you missed. Youíll race around levels in a shopping cart, smashing into things and stacking loose items in your cart. You can scream at people to scare them out of their clothes, and you can even participate in some extremely challenging parts of the level that are on a very strict timer. Rabbids Go Home can best be described as "Frantic Exploration".
The graphics are entertaining and colorful, the level design is clever and fun, and the Rabbids are insanely outrageous as always with crazy costumes and hilarious facial expression and unique personalities. The various humans and other "enemies" are extremely stylized and equally as humorous. I had a few issues with the fixed camera style, especially when you have to move down, away from the background and into the unknown, but overall, this is visuall above average for the Wii.
Iím sure the younger kiddies will cackle in delight right along with the Rabbids, but anyone over the age of 12 had better leave the room when this game loads up. The non-stop sound effects are as repetitive as they are annoying, even if they are set to some upbeat jazzy music. For my money, skip this ĎadventureĒ and use the money to go out and buy all three of the original Rabbids games, which are now in budget bins. Those family-friendly, mini-game compilations were a lot more fun and a lot less annoying.
The Rabbids are certainly the most endearing characters we've seen in recent years, but their offbeat charm isn't enough to carry this unoriginal and rather stale action-platform title. If this is the future of the Rabbids then they should most definitely go home and stay there.