The pesky Rabbids have done themselves no favours in their latest outing.
Rabbids Land. I’ve never felt so ill before at the mere mention of two words, and yet, here is a game that , at times, is literally nauseating, and not just because of its poor quality. This title has provided one of the rare opportunities I’ve had to concisely explain my feelings for a game in paragraph one: stay away.
Unfortunately, I’m supposed to be a little more elaborate in reviewing this title, and so recounting each of the horrid elements which will now haunt my dreams is a necessity. I’ll start by describing the premise of the title: Rabbids meets Mario Party. Such a description paints this title as a vibrant, humorous title. In truth, Rabbids Land is nothing but -- it simply combines the annoying nature of those pesky little Rabbids with the monotony and tediousness of Jenga. Actually, no. The latter is suspenseful and leads to an exciting climax, whereas Rabbids Land is just repetitive, with nothing enjoyable to look forward to upon ending the game.
The main mode of play in this party game is titled “Trophy Race”, where players compete with each other or the AI to attain a set number of trophies by running around a circular game board filled with a variety of different spaces. Each space has different effect should you land on it, including: the gifting of a bonus item, the onset of a one-vs-one minigame, the selection of a random event, or the taking away of one trophy. Finally, players can land on a quiz space. Should players correctly answer a question, or win a mini game, they’ll be rewarded with numerous trophies.
The concept is fundamentally sound, but something just doesn’t feel right. Frankly, it’s incredibly boring watching the AI roll perfectly and score a handful of trophies per turn. The random events almost always screw you over in some way (even those that are meant to be helpful). On the other hand, bonus items are extremely overpowered and essentially allow players to score the ideal number of trophies per turn. Then, there’s quiz spaces. At first I thought these to be a neat addition to the game. Then I landed on one for the first time.. ”How many muscles in the human tongue,” I was asked. The next challenged my knowledge of the human eyebrow, asking how many hairs the average brow contained.
These, along with all the other questions asked of me, were downright ridiculous, had nothing to do with the game, and contained material only a minority of the target audience would have any idea about. Even more bemusing is the fact that the time limit on the questions is literally large enough that you can walk to your computer, Google the question, walk back to your TV and input the correct answer (hint: use your Gamepad’s Internet browser to save yourself some energy!).. doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of a quiz?
Finally, there’s mini-game spaces. These bad-boys are the redeeming factor of a game which otherwise tremendously strug-- ah, who am I kidding? The nineteen mini-games you may play upon landing one of these are are as tedious and dull as the rest of the game. First, they only allow two players to play simultaneously, which defeats the purpose of having a four-player title altogether. Secondly, the use of the Gamepad in every single one of these titles feels gimmicky, and not once does using it feel natural or precise. In fact, one mini-game had me spinning about my living room, using the Gamepad a viewfinder while blowing vigorously into the microphone to direct exploding penguins into an enemy boat. This experience was nauseating to say the least.
The second player in each of the mini-games uses a Wiimote and Nunchuck to either assist or hinder the Gamepad-wielding player. Thankfully, execution on this front is actually solid, and is one of the few highlights of this otherwise-tedious party game.
Playing mini-games in Trophy Race unlocks them for use in Treasure Hunt mode for single player, and Free Play for multiplayer. The former has you play through each mini-game using the Gamepad, with the simultaneous goals of winning the mini-game and finding three coins. Continued success in this game mode unlocks bonus Rabbids-themed videos, arguably the best feature in this title. The latter mode allows a group of friends to play through the competitive mini-games without the hassle of playing through a Trophy Race. Sadly, this doesn’t make said mini-games any more appealing..
The issues found in the main foundations of play set the trend for almost all other elements included in the game. The sound is repetitive and annoying -- there’s only so long you’ll be able to tolerate the nasty bwahahas and graghs of the fluffy little menaces. The user interface is unintuitive across the whole game -- if you accidentally click the wrong option, you’re given no chance to confirm. This will be common in Trophy Race, and means players will have to sit through a long loading screen just to be able to quit (which launches another loading screen) in order to change their options. Such problems are the icing on the tedious and fiddly cake that is Rabbids Land.
In case it’s not clear to you yet: nothing much about this game is inspiring. Even in multiplayer, gameplay is repetitive, and players will find their attention-span depleted long before completing even one round of Trophy Race. There are only nineteen mini-games, so it will only be so long before you and your friends tire of Free Mode, too (if you can stand playing them to begin with). The bonuses unlocked through Treasure Hunt are humorous and enjoyable, but it’s hard to justify hours of pain just to view these when you could look up the bonus videos on YouTube instead.
Rabbids Land is not a broken game; rather a game which fails to innovate and inspire. Gameplay is tedious and repetitive and will have players steaming with rage. While the game is crisp on the visual front, its presentation is horrid in other areas, particularly its counterintuitive menus and repetitive sound. It’s hard to recommend this even for avid fans of the Rabbid franchise. Thus, if you’re after a fun new party title for your shiny new Wii U, be wise.. Forego this title and visit Nintendo Land if you haven’t done so already. Otherwise, wait for the nearest release of almost any party game.. chances are, it will be more worth your hard-earned than this.
By Harry Hughes