Today’s games industry has become infamous for its endless copycat efforts and yearly sequels, which tend to stick to a very specific template and only offer a modicum of improvement. Nevertheless, while it’s easy for us to call out these games for their lack of innovation (only for us to all then go and buy them anyway), it doesn't mean that we can’t still find enjoyment in them.
Kung Fu Rabbit from Neko Entertainment falls into this category. Pushing the rabbits and ninja aesthetics to one side for a moment, it’s very clear that this game is heavily influenced by indie classic Super Meat Boy. There's no denying that the gameplay style is remarkably similar, and it even incorporates the same wall jumping mechanics. Yes, it may not sound like the most inspiring game ever released, but Neko Entertainment hasn't just created a shameless rip-off. Rather, Kung Fu Rabbit draws on what made its likely source of inspiration so great and tries to provide a slightly different experience which is both well made and worth considering, if you like this style of game.
In this 2D sidescroller, you must ninja your way through a wealth of short stages, jumping between platforms, avoiding hazards and collecting carrots along the way. While not overly sadistic, Kung Fu Rabbit does nevertheless get quite tricky as you progress and demands exceptional precision and timing if you want to beat it.
As we've already highlighted, Kung Fu Rabbit doesn't offer anything new when it comes to its core mechanics, but that doesn't mean it isn't still fun to play. Overall, the level design is solid and to the point where it never gets in the way; if you mess up, it’s always your own fault. Moreover, it controls well, enabling you to achieve the level of precision that is required for some of the game’s trickier parts. The fact that Kung Fu Rabbit uses such a simplistic control setup is what makes it so successful, with you only ever having to use a single button through its entirety.
Kung Fu Rabbit will likely appeal to those who enjoy a good challenge, but thankfully it does include a few gameplay features to help out lesser skilled players. An in-game shop, which allows you to spend the carrots you find in each of the game’s stages, provides a number of useful items to aid you in your quest such as the ability to designate a respawn point should you die or even remove all enemies from the stage. The system achieves a nice balance in terms of difficulty and rewards effort instead of spoon-feeding you instant success.
This is all presented in a very charming and light-hearted manner; from the silly little animations to the rather humorous loading screen messages, Kung Fu Rabbit looks and feels as fun as it is to play. The feudal Japanese settings are vibrant and colourful, and the visuals are sufficiently sharp for the relatively small 3DS screen. You may recall that Kung Fu Rabbit has already been released on Wii U. Is there a definitive version? Well, not really — it’s more a case of what your preference is when it comes to screen resolution or portability.
Kung Fu Rabbit won’t blow you away with new gameplay innovations and cutting edge design, but it is nevertheless a fun game to play. More importantly, it’s well made, sporting finely tuned controls, stylish visuals and a good amount of challenge. It's well suited to the 3DS and while it may lack the high definition offered by its Wii U counterpart, it's not a huge loss as the beauty is really found in its art style. With lots of short stages, it’s a great pick-up-and-play title, making it a positive purchase for 3DS owners who take their system with them on the go.