After riding on the coattails of Ubisoft’s limbless hero, Rayman, the Raving Rabbids finally branch out on their own. Rabbids Go Home isn’t merely another mini-game compilation, nor is it a slapped-together cash-in on a now well established franchise. The game’s focus might be on constructing a mountain of junk, but it’s anything but trash.
While gazing longingly at the sky one evening, one of the Rabbids has an epiphany. The Moon is home, and the Rabbids must build a pile of “Stuff” in order to make their way back there. It’s a whacky plan, one only a Raving Rabbid could truly appreciate.
Though the Rabbids’ home base is a junkyard, they must make their way to the big city where all the Stuff can be found. Center City is the hub of the adventure, and the game moves forward in a mostly linear fashion. Areas of the city, known as Stuff Places, open up in a specific order, though there’s a bit of freedom with regards to how you tackle individual levels.
The game’s formula works, and it works really well. Like many great adventure games, you’ll acquire new skills that will enable you to access areas previously off limits, and the Rabbids’ abilities are worked into the level design in some really clever and creative ways.
You’ll take control of a Rabbid team that consists of one Rabbid steering a shopping cart while another rides shotgun. A third Rabbid – the Cannon Rabbid – can be lobbed at targets by pointing with the Wii Remote and pressing the Z button. You move the cart with the analog stick, and control feels responsive and satisfying. There’s a sort of wobbliness that defines the experience as whole, with both inertia and balance playing a major part of the gameplay in Rabbids Go Home.
The object of the game never changes. Your goal is simply to collect as much crap as you can while dashing, water skiing, or flying through levels. Your cart isn’t locked stiffly to the ground, so as you turn, the cart will tip slightly. Later on in the game, you’ll need to use the cart’s ability to twist and turn as a mechanic to perform boosts that will enable you to jump longer distances, bust through large piles of boxes, as well as knock the helmets off of rabid mutts looking to take a chunk out of your hide.
Rabbids Go Home borrows ideas from many great games of the past, but it’s also chock-full of its own unique personality and charm. The platforming in the game is truly impressive, not to mention challenging and often unexpected. There’s definitely some repetition, as well as a bit of recycling here and there, but the mix of gleeful humor and solid gameplay make Rabbids Go Home undeniably addictive.
The humor really is at the center of what makes the game so entertaining, though. Collecting stuff is a guilty pleasure, and the gameplay never falters. But it’s those crazy Rabbids that make the journey really worthwhile. The game’s sense of humor isn’t subtle, but there’s an abstract nature to the whole thing that constantly forces you to laugh without ever hearing a single joke.
In terms of difficulty, Rabbids Go Home offers a nice balance of elements. Some portions of a level might require multiple stabs, but there’s nothing here that will stop players in their tracks for long. Platforms are often tipped by the weight of your cart, forcing you to think fast and keep your momentum going, and there are some really cool surprises as you make your way further into the game. New abilities are doled out at a steady pace, and the constant focus on collecting more Stuff makes the learning process easy and playful. There’s also a lot of variety in terms of level design. You’ll be flying through an airport terminal on a jet engine one minute, and rafting down narrow mountain cliffs the next.
At the end of levels, your Stuff is tallied and then flushed down the toilet (yeah). You’ll earn gifts based upon how many items you’ve collected for a level, and you can revisit levels as often as you like. Most of the goodies you’ll acquire throughout the game are used to either change the way your existing Rabbids look, or to design completely new Rabbid figurines. The extras in this game are a ton of fun to tinker with, and they add a lot of value to the overall package.
All of the Rabbid editing takes place, well, inside your Wii Remote. By pointing at the screen and pressing the A button, you can suck up one of the Rabbids into a virtual representation of your controller. Once inside, you can play with the Rabbid (by turning or shaking the remote), torture it (using a loose wire), or doll it up with various editing tools and trinkets. There’s also a separate Rabbid channel you can install onto your Wii menu, which will allow you to compete in weekly expos and check on various Rabbid-related news updates. Additionally, you can download other people’s Rabbid creations, as well as share your own with friends.
Folks are really getting a lot of Rabbid goodness with Rabbids Go Home, and that extends to the game’s presentation as well. Though there are a handful of visual “wow” moments during level play, it’s the consistent polish that makes the game a real looker on Wii. The style, color palette, and animations all work to the strengths of the system, and nothing about the game’s production feels rushed. There is a bit of shimmer here and there, as well as the occasional hiccup, but on the whole, Rabbids Go Home is a really clean and fun game to look at.
The sound and music are equally noteworthy, adding tons of zing and wackiness to this Rabbids fiesta. One moment you’re hearing John Denver singing Country Roads, and the next you’re listening to elevator music while viewing the game through the lens of a video surveillance camera. The tunes are sprinkled in at just the right moments throughout the game, lending that extra touch of silliness as you romp around town. The speaker in the Wii Remote is put to especially good use, with all sorts of crazy Rabbid utterances emanating from the controller.
As a one-off adventure, Rabbids Go Home is a ton of fun. It’s great as a pick-up-and-play game, but equally enjoyable in long sittings. The humor is innocent on the surface, yet poignant underneath. Rabbid laughter is contagious, and with such solid gameplay to lean on, it never gets old. In spite of some recycling, Rabbids Go Home is one of the strongest third-party Wii games we’ve seen to date. Ubisoft put some real love into this title, and anyone who finds it under the tree this holiday season should be well pleased.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.2 Graphics
The visuals won’t knock you off your feet, but the level of polish is impressive. The game just has a great look and feel. 4.0 Control
Controls are responsive and fun. Wii waggle would be more enjoyable with a bit of rumble feedback, but the mechanic is still used to great effect. 4.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The soundtrack and sound effects are excellent, playing a major role in this comedy adventure. 4.3
Rabbids Go Home is a pretty fat package, with loads of cool extras. The Rabbids channel is an inspired addition, and the level play of the main game is rock solid throughout.
4.2 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.