Rabbids Go Home review
A Game that provokes deep thought, for all the wrong reasons
Originally conceived as a horde of undead bunnies to play the role of the main enemies in Rayman 4, the Rabbids are a strange bunch of characters whom have dominated the market for mini-game series and also hold the honour of been the only game on the Wii that’s been ported to an HD platform, the second of to be No More Heroes later this year. The Rabbids are the embodiment of all that is wrong, retarded and yet stupidly hilarious in today’s culture, and their absurdly noisy and downright annoying scenes are so bad they wind up been hysterical, offering them a rather unique charm among video game mascots. They’ve got several games to the name and a huge variety of their own merchandise courtesy of Ubiart, but up until now they’ve never had a game that wasn’t centered on mini-games. Rabbids Go Home is the first title in the Raving Rabid franchise to completely abolish any connections to Rayman (Which hopefully means we’ll see a proper Rayman 4 soon) and the ‘raving’ subtitle for some reason, and it’s also the first in the series to depart from mini-games and is instead within the Adventure genre. The question is can the Rabbids actually hold their own outside of the realm of mini-games?
There is no real story to the Rabbids Go Home; all you have is a basic premise to get things going and the setting itself. The Rabbids one day decided they were bored of earth and its inhabitants and figured that they’d find something more interesting on the moon, so they go about the varying areas of modern society wreaking havoc and taking things to build a tower of junk to climb up to the pretty ball of rock. It’s about as non-sensical as everything else the Rabbids are involved in but it fits the game surprisingly well. The cast is of course a bunch o Rabbids, many of whom have no individual personality as opposed to a collective mish-mash of just about every random and retarded quirk you could come up with, mixed of course with a never ending appetite for carnage. At times I almost think that Rabbids Go Home does in fact have some deeper meaning, from pushing a man off of the edge of ledge two storeys up in a supermarket probably resulting in the poor sod’s death, to stripping innocent people in public down to their underwear to which the female humans respond “Oh you naughty” in a rather seductive manner, it really makes you wonder whether there is in fact some greater picture here. Perhaps Rabbids Go Home really does embody all that is wrong with today’s society, or perhaps the whole thing is an inside joke for all the developers up at Ubisoft Montpellier, or maybe an actual representation of their work place? Regardless of what you make of the darker qualities of Rabbids Go Home, there’s no denying that entertaining the thought of this game having a deeper message is amusing if nothing else. Aside from going into the possible metaphor Rabbids Go Home may actually be, there no substance to what little story there is, but it works in the context of the game and if you’re really expecting a decent story based around the Rabbids then you’ve got a screw lose.
Those dogs are Rabbid. Geddit? Rabbid , Rabid? Aha, I'm such a comedian.
Moving on to the graphics, Rabbids Go Home actually looks really good. Cel-shading is in full effect here and it looks fantastic, the art direction is very modern and the locations you traverse are all designed great and look surprisingly awesome. Rabbids Go Home brings a variety of shading and particle effects to the board among many other graphic techniques the majority of the Wii library lacks, and there’s no denying that aside from the occasional blocky texture you’ll be hard pressed to find a fault in Rabbids Go Home visually, the in-game graphics are great, the cut-scenes look fantastic and the little animation sequences between levels are incredibly charming.
On the musical side of things Rabbids Go Home is really hard to describe. The music is very “Eighties” if you know what I mean, and there’s a great deal of jazz throughout the experience. Whether or not you like the music will come down to personal taste, but I have to say the variety in the soundtrack is certainly impressive and further ties into the ‘European Theme’ the game has going. Although I can’t help but fault the game on the catchiness of the tunes, since playing one particular stage of the game I’ve had the particular jazz track playing in my head on loop, and it’s driving me nuts. The songs in Rabbids Go Home are catchy, and not in a good way but a “GET THIS OUT OF MY HEAD!” way, a good 20+ minutes listening to any of the songs in Rabbids Go Home and it will stay with you for the rest of your life. Be warned. Aside from the music the voice acting is solid, the Rabbids sound like some deformed animals been beaten to death which is quite an accurate description to be frank, and the varying people whom wander about the areas you explore have an assortment of accents and dialogue, which at times once again brings me back to game having a deeper message. There is no one alive that can tell me that the stereotypical Jamaican guys you find throughout the stage and their dialogue is not intentional, nor that the various lines half the women come out with aren’t meant to be funny to older gamers, or at least the developers themselves.
Th Rabbids will be the next Beatles.
Putting aside the presentation and moving onto the gameplay, Rabbids Go Home is an Adventure title quite unlike any other. You control two Rabbids, or more accurately you control a shopping trolley been pushed by the Rabbids. You can accelerate, drift, jump and fire a third Rabbid at your foes like a cannon, making me question why the trolley seems to be more capable than most of today’s vehicles but that’s another story. You drive this trolley throughout various stage collect pretty much everything, from trash to varying objects in super markets, parts of aeroplanes and even live people at points in the game. The control scheme mixes buttons and motion controls quite well, so you’re unlikely to experience any issues with the control scheme although the trolley itself can be a bit difficult to steer at times. That pretty much sums up the core of Rabbids Go Home, you’ll have to traverse varying obstacles but for the most part you just drive about and shake the remote to have you Rabbids launch out a sonic ‘bwaaah’ that will strip innocent bystanders and beat poor dogs to the ground so you can collect them. The game does shake things up though, every stage has a particular gimmick unique to it, one stage has you racing a truck whilst dodging inconveniently placed inflatable barricades and cacti, whilst another has you steal a dieing man on life support and use him as a balloon to ascend about skyscrapers creating a surprisingly well executed Platforming mechanic. You’ll also have to handle the Verminators; a group of fools whom dress themselves in what I assume to be latex hazmat suits and try to capture you and kill you or something. They’re all easily handled though, it’s the dogs and the robots they let lose you’ll have trouble handling. Giant cleaning robots will hunt you through supermarkets when you trail filth over the clean floors, and dogs will try to devour you until you harm them and add them to the ever growing pile of junk on your trolley.
The stages in Rabbids Go Home are navigated through a level select screen, and new stages are unlocked as you gain more junk. You can gain up to 1000 items in most levels, so there’s a collection aspect in Rabbids Go Home for the OCD and perfectionists among you, although the lack of challenge in collecting 100% of the items is unfortunate. Aside from that there is also a small town that lets you explore, collect additional stuff and access the various levels directly, acting as a ‘hub’ of sorts. Between levels you’re also given the option of customizing the three Rabbis you have, although the third is the one you can throw at enemies and thus you won’t get many good views of the projectile’s body. In order to do this, the Rabbid is sucked inside of the Wii remote and you’re brought to a screen with the Rabbid inside a model of the inside of the Wii remote, and it’s quite ingenious. If you press a button the corresponding button on the virtual remote presses in, the remote responds to the way you turn it and the Rabbid responds to the change in gravity (As in, falling around) and if you swing the remote you can slam the Rabbid into the front of the device, which thankfully doesn’t seem to damage the IR pointer. Guess the Rabbid is made of sponge or something, although this whole comedic little scene makes you wonder whether there’s a message about animal abuse in here. Once the Rabbid is inside the remote you can use a variety of different tools to paint shapes, patterns, tattoos and all sorts onto the bodies of your Rabbids, and use various machines to adjust their proportions, as well as add specific expressions and the like. The detail the customisation goes into is amazing, and the fact that the Rabbids are fully customise in-game is fantastic, it really adds a whole new level of depth been able to play with Rabbids that look however you want them to. This is further expanded upon by a system that lets you turn the Rabbids into sculptures and then send them to friends from your Wii Address Book (The one the channel screen, there are no specific codes for Rabbids Go Home) and then they can use them in game. You’re also given the option of installing the ‘Rabbid Channel’ onto your Wii when you play the game, which effectively acts like the Mii Contest Channel but for Rabbids. You can upload your Rabbids onto the net for others to use, download Rabbid models to use in-game and you can even compete in contests where you design Rabbids corresponding to a certain theme, such as Halloween or looking like a specific race. There’s little more to say about the interface of Rabbids Go Home, it’s fantastic.
I think this screen speaks for itself.
Now regardless of all the positive things Rabbids Go Home has going for it, there are some pretty glaring problems. The first of which is repetition. The gimmicks and unique stages do freshen the experience up a fair deal, but as a whole Rabbids Go Home is the same thing over and over again, drive around in trolley, strip people, pick up junk, strip more people, avoid obstacles, ect. Admittedly this is really fun for a surprisingly long time, but it does get very repetitive nearer the end of the game, and pretty much kills off any replay value the game has. Which brings me to the collecting, the junk you collect is often right in your path and on my first run of the game I got about 90% of the junk per level without trying. There is some challenge to trying to 100% Rabbids Go Home, but it’s not difficult as much as it is tedious. The difficult is also a big problem here; Rabbids Go Home never steps above almost insultingly easy. Enemies are uncommon and can be dispatched with ease, the only challenge is in specific sections like racing to get through an area in a time limit, or the Platforming I mentioned earlier and this adds to the repetition. You never feel rewarded at the end of the level; they’re fun but its mindless fun that can only last for so long. And speaking of the end of levels, the repeated loading screen in Rabbids Go Home is nothing short aggravating. The exact same cut-scene every time the game wants to load, with the exception of small animations between levels and even then odds are the scene will play, with very minor changes. The faults really detract from the title, and it’s a shame because Rabbids Go Home is actually an incredibly amusing Adventure title with charm and quirkiness that you don’t often see in games these days.
When it isn’t promoting murder, animal abuse, sexual harassment, vandalism and thievery, Rabbids Go Home is actually a surprisingly enjoyable Adventure title sporting some impressive visuals and music along with rather addicting and fun gameplay. The Rabbids provide a stupid humour that you can’t help but smile at, and the potentially scary parody of our society one could view Rabbids Go Home as has a great impact on one’s soul, sort of. Unfortunately repetition, lack of difficulty, lack of replay value and recycled loading screens all knock Rabbids Go Home down several notches, it’s still a fun title and definitely worth a look at if you’re into games with this sort of charm, but there’s no denying that it has some pretty big faults. Even so, if you can overlook the issues you’ll find a rather amusing little gem in this strange little Wii game.
"The end justifies the means. As long as we make it to that big ball of rock, the hell we unleash upon humanity is justified."
~Sir Rabbid Retard the Third
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