Posted on November 20, 2012 AT 12:30pm
Running in circles, going nowhere
Let me be perfectly clear: I like the Rabbids, Ubisoft’s psycho bunnies from space. While the games have been inconsistent, they adorable creatures themselves been making me laugh pretty regularly since Rayman’s Raving Rabbids landed six years ago with the Wii launch.
That said, I would rather strap raw meat to my body and throw myself in a shark tank than play Rabbids Land for another five minutes. In the future, when envious children tell me how much they too would like to review videogames for a living, I’ll tell them that it is a wonderful profession, but sometimes you have to play Rabbids Land for five hours. That’s when this job is work.
There’s nothing wrong with the game’s premise. This collection of mini-games is set up like a board game a la Mario Party, with players taking turns rolling a die and moving about the board. Up to four players compete to snag trophies, and the first to win the designated number (10 or 20, your choice) and to get to the center of the board, wins.
Certain squares on the board launch you (literally) into a mini-game, while others give you a trivia question to answer, take a trophy away, or even randomly decide what you’re going to do.
The game itself is fashioned after a theme park, but this applies only as a façade. A few of the mini-games, such as the one that has you clicking on seat restraints to make sure other Rabbids don’t fly off of a spinning ride, make use of the setting, but most don’t.
You’ll find yourself blowing penguins into a boat, rolling balls across a maze like an old-fashioned tray puzzle, collecting items in a room while avoiding security lasers, and other such distractions—none of them particularly fun, some of them quite frustrating.
But as mediocre as the mini-games are, that’s not the big problem here. That honor goes to the poorly executed, nonsensical board game setup. In a four-player game, each player moves while the others sit and wait. If the player does not land on a mini-game, the others sit and wait. If the player does land on a mini-game, then one other player (chosen randomly) gets to play while only two sit and wait. You’ll spend more time sitting and waiting than you will playing.
Why this four-player game only ever allows two players to actually play at once is baffling. Did the designer decide that two-players were too few for a board game, but didn’t have any good four-player mini-game ideas? I don’t get it at all.
And while you might squeak the tiniest amount of fun from multiplayer, playing alone is mind-numbing. While the game doesn’t make you actually watch the console playing mini-games against itself, it falls just short. You’ll see every die roll, every move around the board, every little rant from every computer controlled Rabbid. Oh, and know that your chances of beating the computer is mostly dependent on being luckier rolling the die than your three AI competitors, since they will spend your downtime racking up trophies with you sitting on your hands. In one race to collect 10 trophies, randomly generated Rabbid #2 managed to collect 11 trophies and win before I had the opportunity to even compete for more than 3.
There are extra modes that let you replay unlocked mini-games, should you desire, and from there you can unlock bonus movies. As the bonus movies are the best part of the game, I understand wanting to get there, but the trip just isn’t worth it.
The Rabbids property deserves better than Rabbids Land. Even as far as mini-game collections go, this one is on the bottom of the heap.
SUMMARY: This insipid excuse for a party game draws inspiration from board games like Mario Party and adds a Nintendo Land theme park veneer. It’s a four-player game that never lets more than two-players participate at any one time. You’ll spend more time waiting for other players to do something than you will actually playing, and once you do get the chance to participate the result is underwhelming. A few of the mini-games are fun, but none are fantastic. In a game with little style or substance, the only way to win is not to play.
- THE GOOD: The Rabbids look good in HD, and the mini-movies are actually funny.
- THE BAD: Wait for it…”it” being everything.
- THE UGLY: Is that slobber that flies off the Rabbids when they’re being thrown about? Ewwwww!
Rabbids Land is a Wii U exclusive.
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