(Wii)

Game Review

Rabbids Go Home Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Well and truly off its trolley

As the fourth Rabbids game in the Wii’s three-year lifespan, you’d be forgiven for thinking Ubisoft has run out of ideas for its bizarre creations, but Rabbids Go Home is potentially the oddest game in the series yet. Making a clean break from its minigame origins, Rabbids Go Home is an all-new adventure game from the talented Ubisoft Montpellier team, but how does it measure up to a field dominated by classic Nintendo titles?

It probably doesn’t need to be said, but we’ll state it anyway – there’s nothing on the market quite like the Rabbids. The entire game is full of a manic energy that sets it apart from anything else you’ll have played. Bizarre cutscenes involving Capri-Sun, swordfish heads and sewer-surfing mattresses come thick and fast, and quickly prove to be the game’s highlights. Aside from its slapstick moments, the game is defined by its anarchic elements too, with capitalism, materialism and political correctness all gently ribbed by an anonymous Big Brother (who’s actually more of a Big Sister, but still.) It’s hardly the political critique of Beyond Good and Evil, but it certainly accentuates the anarchic Rabbids by putting them in such a staid environment.

Within each level you’ll find “XS Stuff”, which can be anything from a road cone to a pair of pants, all marked with a white pencil outline. There’s also a piece of “XL Stuff”– a clock, a statue or something else large – that you need to transport to the level’s end, where all your Stuff is chucked down the toilet and ends up on the Rabbids’ Stuff Pile, which they’re building to get back home to the Moon, of course. Once your pile passes certain heights, your lookout Rabbid can see further and point out new areas for you to explore and gather Stuff in.

With a slick set of controls, the Rabbids’ trolley handles like a dream (oh yes, you drive around the game in a trolley). You move around with the (STICK), accelerate with (A) and attack with a shake of the Remote, with the pointer and (Z) firing your Rabbid, (B) unleashing a Super Boost (once unlocked) and (C) activating the game’s photo mode. The trolley has a nice sense of weight to it, gripping corners well and feeling like a character in itself, making a nice change from the usual 3D platformer feeling of control. Putting things in your trolley is a simple matter of running them over, with no limit to how much you can hold at one time (other than the level's 1,000ft Stuff cap.) Every now and again you'll encounter a trombone-playing Rabbid who allows you to "bank" your Stuff, a useful thing to do in later levels as losing all your health lightbulbs also empties your trolley of collected Stuff, ruining your chances of unlocking the level's four presents.

Once you're in the levels you're more or less left to your own devices - there's no overall time limit, although some sections are against the clock - and the number of enemies you encounter grows steadily over each level, starting out as mostly harmless pooches before you face the dreaded Verminators. Every now and again you'll be boxed into a certain area with a specified number of enemies to defeat before you're allowed passage to the next portion, with bombs, booby traps and all sorts of other hazards thrown into the mix as you move on. Most of the time you just need to shake your Remote to defeat the enemies, although later bad guys require more lateral thinking, but they're not really worthy foes for the Rabbid army.

Musically, the game ignores the blueprint of how a game should sound, using Eastern European brass band Vagabontu to oompah alongside the Rabbids’ oddball exclamations. The tune that accompanies the mattress sewer-ride will have you bobbing your head in appreciation, and there’s plenty of deft musical cues along the way that elevate the game’s audio presentation above the average. There's even a few musical jokes running throughout - every elevator plays Boney M's "Rivers of Babylon", you'll hear John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Road" more times than is humane and Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs Jones" insinuates there's more than a working relationship between secretary Sandra and her boss. Granted most of the songs are older than half the game's target audience, but for those who are a little more musically learned, they're good gags and very unexpected.

For all its originality, Rabbids Go Home’s genius lies in what it borrows. The “collect everything” premise is classic platforming fare of course – these are just radioactive octopuses rather than coins or rings – but something about the ability to create things to pick up, by smashing through boxes and bashing drinks dispensers, brings Katamari to mind; the idea of an off-the-wall force picking up everything in sight is pure Katamari. Another spherical influence is Super Monkey Ball, with some level sections precarious balancing acts where the need for speed is tempered with a desire to collect everything you see. Super Mario Galaxy is a clear inspiration too, from small segments dotted through the game – throwing back a bomb with a well-timed Remote shake, using a patient’s sickbed to float, rather like Gusty Garden Galaxy – to its biggest impact on the game’s two-player mode.

Rather than a truly cooperative adventure, Rabbids Go Home allows a second player to assist by collecting XS Stuff with the pointer, fire at opponents with (B) and hold them back by clinging to them with Rabbid power. It’s almost exactly like Super Mario Galaxy, with the exception that it’s not half as much fun: firing a Rabbid covers up half the screen momentarily, the majority of enemies are easily dispatched anyway and the level design doesn’t really feature any XS Stuff that only a second player could reach. Whereas Super Mario Galaxy excelled by allowing a more experienced player to take a supporting role, here the second player is usually relegated to firing every now and again and causing more annoyance than assistance.

The real unexpected ace up Rabbids Go Home’s sleeve is the inclusion of a Rabbid in your Wii Remote, in the cleverly-named In Ze Remote feature. Not only does this mean you can fire him from your Remote with a tap of (Z), after each level is complete you also unlock extra tattoos and accessories that you can use to customise your three Rabbids. Within each level there’s 1,000ft worth of Stuff, with four accessories, tools or tattoos available to unlock depending on how much Stuff you collect, boosting the replay value if you’re into customising your little Rabbid. The level of freedom is unmatched by any avatar creator on the system: you can move eyes and ears, enlarge them, shrink them or even move them all together, but the best part is the ability to paint your Rabbid free-hand, add a range of stamps and accessories and generally create any Rabbid you can imagine. Even better is the ability to transform your Rabbids into “figurines”, using a variety of poses and expressions before sending them over to your friends to use in their games. You only have three Rabbids to edit at any time, but if you want to revisit a creation down the road you can apply your figurine instantly, giving you dozens of potential Rabbid outfits.

Those dozens of outfits become hundreds when you discover the Rabbids Go Home Channel. Essentially a Rabbids version of the Mii Contest Channel, there’s a set theme every week – currently “Vampires” – with users voting for their favourite Rabbid, who’s then featured. Every Rabbid you see is available for download instantly, creating a limitless supply of entertaining and engaging Rabbids. Of course, part of the appeal with the Mii Contest Channel is in seeing all the freaky Miis pop up in other games, but the flexible Rabbid editor and the ability to share them directly with friends – or the world – is highly commendable and extremely enjoyable. You can also share photographs directly with your Wii friends – tapping (C) brings up the viewfinder and lets you snap a shot, though unlike Super Smash Bros. Brawl you can’t rotate the camera or save them to an SD card directly, but it’s another nice extra feature for capturing some of the game’s many, many bizarre moments.

Considering the level of detail evident in the majority of the game, what’s surprising about Rabbids is the amount of level repetition involved. You’ll play the same office and hospital environments a good two or three times over the course of the game, and even though the level layout is different each time it’s confusing to unlock a new stage only to find it’s very similar to one you completed thirty minutes ago. The hub level is also an odd design – each time you find a new Stuff Place you’ll follow the yellow arrows to the next level entry point, which then brings up a menu from which you can select any level available. It seems unnecessary and even counter-intuitive – one or the other would have worked better. These are minor gripes, but they do detract from a very enjoyable game.

Conclusion

Rabbids Go Home is an extremely entertaining and funny game – the Rabbids’ attitude and anarchic humour paper over a lot of the repetition and minor faults that pepper the game. The two player mode is passable but Rabbids Go Home excels as an all-out single player game, full of unexpected wit and a relentlessly fun atmosphere, and one you’ll love if you’re after a pick-up-and-play game to cheer up these dark Winter nights.

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Game Trailer

UBISOFT treat you to another dose of Rabbid madness in true Winter Olympic spirit. More information and a full review at Nintendo Life

User Comments (33)

motang

#3

motang said:

This game looks fun, I though it was going to be like the other Rabbids game, but it's not. :)

Kid_A

#4

Kid_A said:

Really want to get this. Hopefully I can pick it up after I wear out New Super Mario Bros.

James

#6

James said:

Neither Corbie nor I can confirm the appearance of a Nintendo Life t-shirt, despite our many hours of combined gameplay. If it was in there, it would have been an automatic 10, with every other game we've reviewed losing 5 points.

Nero

#7

Nero said:

Sounds good. I just ordered it earlier today, so I'm looking forward to it. Can't wait to try the customization thing.

WolfRamHeart

#8

WolfRamHeart said:

Fantastic review Prosody. You must have really enjoyed playing this game. It sounds like so much fun. I definitely need to go out and buy this ASAP!:)

Hoffkage

#9

Hoffkage said:

This game looks fantastic and from what I remember of the very first Rabbids game those bbunnies are pretty crazy stuff.

shingi_70

#10

shingi_70 said:

great review is rayman in thier in some form? also did you unlock the gonintendo rabbids?

James

#12

James said:

I had a whale of a time with it - really fun game!

shingi_70 - Rayman isn't in it at all. By the way, what are the gonintendo Rabbids?

brandonbwii

#13

brandonbwii said:

The gonintendo rabbids were made using the in game rabbid editor. It is not a true unlockable. Anyone can make them.
What I played was enjoyable but could've have been better. There signs of greatness throughout but a lot of potential seems a bit untapped for my tastes.

There are two disperate elements, the single-player and the "Rabbids Lab". It touts the ability to customize your bunnies but even with that in place the game itself is too shallow and low on replayabilty to care much about using it's rabbid editor.

Multiplayer, particularly local would've been both welcome and make perfect sense. Things like CTF, time trials, or a collect them all mode for four players would've put this game over the top.

As is it's an enjoyable, straight forward romp. I'd give it 7/10.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#14

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

86%, 8/10 for me also. The kids and I love this game. Fun for all ages. In terms of raw fun, one of the very, very best on the wii. Good environmnets and great polish as well. Not to mention a good customisation mode. Controls response is weighted perfectly as well. Essential imho.

JakobG

#16

JakobG said:

Rabbids, step out of the way for a new Rayman adventure!
I didn't like the Rabbids, but this looks fun.
I think it won't be big in Austria, so I'll buy it after the price drops.
After all, I've got Okami for 20€.

BulbasaurusRex

#17

BulbasaurusRex said:

The Rabbids are so dumb. I'm not getting a Rabbid game (other than TMNT: Smash-up) until they make one where Rayman commits genocide on the whole Rabbid species.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#18

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Rayman and Rabbids will each surely now have their own identities and destinies from now on?!

This game deserves a lot of credit as its getting here.

Feld0

#20

Feld0 said:

Looking good. Definitely on my list now, but somewhere near the bottom. NSMB Wii, Scribblenauts, and Zelda: Spirit Tracks are up first.

SwerdMurd

#21

SwerdMurd said:

Got the second game as a gift--played it exactly one time. No one in the room got even a semblance of joy during any of our play time--quickly became "The Worst Wii Game" that I owned according to others. That's all people called it. Good to see it's not what the second game was...I heard the first was good but man--Rabbids 2 was a real stinker.

StarDust4Ever

#22

StarDust4Ever said:

I got the original Rabbids title at launch; it was okay bu the whole minigame aspect was kind of a turn off. My buddy from school unlocked most of the games features, and the only reason I ever pick it up is to play the hilarious FSP "Plunger" mode, where the only objective is to blast all the bunnies with toilet plungers! Seeing this is more of a proper platformer and less of a party/minigames collection, I may get it at some point ;)

LEGEND_MARIOID

#23

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

I like RRR1 and still have it today. Its one of the very best mini or micro game collections on the Wii. RRR2 was dissappointing bar a few of the mini games. TV Party was good, but like many of you I expect, the RRR mini-game concept havd run its course and the fun eventually gets leached out once you play it for long enough (that's even with friends and family). So after playing them all to death bells I sold RRR2 and RRTV Party and kept RRR1 as that was the most "charming".

I'm glad they didn't go for another cash in mini game collection. The game makers deserve a lot of credit for this game as a lot of effort has gone into its polish imho.

I too would love a new Rayman game, but this is brilliant.

MattL

#24

MattL said:

This one's on the wishlist. Hopefully a copy will find its way down my chimney this Christmas. Looks like great fun. :)

Belgicario

#25

Belgicario said:

I really love the Rabbids, but I was getting pretty tired of all the repetitive minigames. I'm glad they made a great game without minigames :)

By the way... BWAAAH! :O

Tate24

#26

Tate24 said:

it was out of this and need speed nitro! but i decide to get nitro because it had better muilt-player option and was bit more challenging than this. Ill probably get this when it goes down in price. ps. nice review.

Percentful

#27

Percentful said:

This looks like a very original game. I have never played a Rabbid game, but they look fun.

davegorack

#28

davegorack said:

Dont buy it.
This game is funny and its mad as heck but thats all its got.
the Platformeing gets old fast,the Bad guys are jokes( You hit theam once and they runn around like wimps) and the Rabbis get relly anoying.
I did like the Grapics and the music and i admit it was fun for a few hours but it got boring fast. Still good revew.

Travenous

#29

Travenous said:

Nice! I'll get this one next year, I love platformers! I'd like to see a new Rayman game though... preferably a 2D one like the original :)

Raisinghelen

#30

Raisinghelen said:

I bought Rabbids Go Home on boxing day as EbGames had it on sale for $25. It is a fun game but it felt a little lacking at the end, like there should have been something more after the credits rolled or some kind of bigger end challenge.

The kids love it though. My 4 year old plays it non-stop despite finding some levels a bit difficult and my 1 year old copies the Rabbid in the remote when its leaning and just laughs at it the rest of the time.

NiC

#32

NiC said:

Oh yes, please go home Rabbids.
I loved all the Rayman games from 1 to Hoodlum Havoc. I really played them to death. The nice characters like Globox, Ly, Andrè and the others, the cool humor, the great atmospheric music and worlds... Just everything in these titles was perfect and they're still some of my favourite games. Then there were rumors about a "Rayman 4" going around and I was really looking forward to that.
But then all that came out was RRR, a (imao) bad minigame-collection with wannabe-humor. And lets not talk about RRR2 and TV-Party, these were even worse.
I mean, at fist I thought the Rabbids were...ok. I just didn't like them, but I thought as long as Ubisoft continiues making great Rayman platformers it won't bother me. But they didn't. They made three bad "partygames" and a (imao again) bad platformer with no Rayman at all. Ok, maybe this one is a bit better than RRR. But still... They've just overdone it. I mean, all these ugly bunnies do is making unfunny slapstick-humor and try to outplay that with looking like they're on drugs and yelling "BWAAAH!". Oh. And of course doing random stuff that not even my little brother laughs about. Only overdrawn craziness with no depth in humor at all.
Well, of course that's only my opinion and I don't have a problem with people thinking this humor and/or these games being good. But really, who thinks Rabbids Go Home is better than the games of the main series?

All I want is a new, original Rayman platformer with Lums and Teensies and all the awesomeness included like in the older games. I've been waiting for something like that for 6 years now. Is it this hard to make a real original game with these already great characters again, Ubisoft?

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