Rabbids Land Review
The rabbids have been around for a long time. Of course, their existence was introduced as a part of the Rayman universe, but over the years they have taken on a life of their own. The crazy-looking, bunny-like monsters (monsters in that cute and cuddly sort of way) grew in popularity, and at some point developers decided that these guys deserved their own platform where they could shine. So, for about the last six years, they’ve been doing all sorts of crazy things on our TV screens. The series has been based on mini-game compilations, and have provided some good fun over the years. We’ve seen them cook, fight, drive, and do so many other activities – some more goofy than others. The best part about these games has been the local multiplayer fun that can be had.
When Ubisoft announced Rabbids Land for the Wii U, I was excited to see what they would do with the new system, and the new Gamepad control scheme. With Nintendo Land looming large as a primary option in the mini-game realm, would Rabbids Land be able to carve out a following on the new system? In this reviewer’s opinion, the answer here is what it’s always been: if you like the rabbids, you’ll enjoy this game as much as the past entries in the series.
The premise of this experience is based on the Gamepad as the primary controller. Up to four players will be playing a board game. Each player will begin in the starting area, and there are two circular sectors that contain game spaces on which the players will land. The players will rotate use of the Gamepad, which is what everyone will use to roll the dice, similar to any other board game. There are various types of spaces on which you can land.
The first is a game space, which will pit you against a random opponent in a battle to win up to three trophies. The second is a prize space, which awards you a random award, such as a trophy steal or a free pass to a chosen space. Third is a quiz space, which gives you the opportunity to answer a trivia question for a trophy or two. Fourth is a trap space, which takes away a trophy. And last is an event space, which essentially adds a bunch of different features to the board such as scoring opportunities, space breakdown changes and such. As you’ve surely figured out by now, the goal of the game is to collect the most trophies and make your way around the board and back home while doing so.
The mini-games themselves are relatively standard fare. There are over two-dozen games in total in the package, though a number of them will demand much less attention than others. You’ll be doing things from tracing lines on the screen, to tilting the Gamepad to drive, to throwing things, to urinating on things (yes, you read that correctly). In other words, you’ll be right at home – the formula hasn’t really changed.
As I was playing this game, and using the Gamepad to control the mini-games, I couldn’t help but observe that the Wii U simply does not seem as well suited to this type of mini-game experience as the Wii was. With the Wii, you had four people huddled around the TV, shaking and throwing and hitting each other (virtually, of course). It was tremendously engaging. On the Wii U, you’ve got one person staring at a separate screen in his or her lap, while the other tries to oppose on the TV with a Wii remote, for example. It’s still fun, but the game never takes you into the type of depth that a mini-game like Metroid Blast in Nintendo Land did, utilizing the Gamepad and remote/nunchuck setup in a cooperative or competitive setting that was rewarding.
This isn’t to say that it’s not a fun experience, because it is. It’s just that this isn’t a game that you’ll want to jump into by yourself to go back and play these mini experiences. You will be able to do just that, however, as the mini-games will be unlocked as you successfully play them in the board game format. There are a couple of them that will warrant some additional playtime, but you’ll find that the competitive nature of the board game setup is the driving force here.
One additional game mode is here to keep you busy – Treasure Hunt. In this mode, you’ll play the game with coins added in to collect. As you collect coins, you’ll unlock various features from the extras menu, which include comic videos of the rabbids doing their thing. Coincidentally, these are some of the most entertaining parts of the package.
Rabbids Land is a fun game to experience with a few friends if you are a fan of the series in general. There is just something about these little creatures that keeps you coming back for more (probably their crude humor and bad attitudes!). However, it doesn’t necessarily do anything new or innovative, or take advantage of the Gamepad in any meaningful way. This was, after all, the first entry for the series on a new platform, so you can count on Ubisoft figuring out some new ideas in the future.
If you’re a fan of the series, and have some friends or family to experience the game with on a regular basis, then there is certainly fun to be had with Rabbids Land, even despite its simplicity. The board game format is fun and adds a nice twist of competition, and the Gamepad does, at times, show potential for the future.
Reviewed By: Dan Nielson
This review is based on a copy of Rabbids Land for the Wii U provided by Ubisoft.