The sequel to the highly original “Feel The Magic XY XX” is as strange, innovative and irreverant, but not quite as original. by Cole Smith
February 10, 2006 – The sequel to Feel the Magic, The Rub Rabbits, incorporates the touch controls, dual screen and microphone like few DS games ever have – with the exception of the original. It’s a quirky, fun game that is sure to appeal to awkward, pubescent teen males as you are given the opportunity to interact with a virtual girlfriend. You can play games with your love interest such a tennis and golf, entertain her, fight with her, have her try on different clothes and even have a baby with her. There’s nothing graphic in the game so parents need not worry. It’s all presented with a sense of humor in hopes that the nerds won’t get too stimulated.
Consisting of various mini-games, the object in The Rub Rabbits is not merely to get the girl but to explore what to do beyond that. The original, Feel the Magic, was focused solely on getting the girl. This game gives us more options and overall deeper gameplay – just don’t expect Diablo as most of the mini games aren’t really that challenging. There are some multi-player modes in which players might actually be able to corral some young nubiles into playing it with them as you only require one copy of the game. You can even play a few games using just one DS and pass it around. After that it’s up to you how you “play” the rest of the situation out.
The story begins as you watch a lovely gal head up an escalator. In an effort to try to get to here before she gets away, you have to rub the screen to slow the escalator down to make it to the top. At the same time, other suitors are on her track, so it’s also a race of sorts which lets you experience some panic. To add further depth to this love connection, there is a girl that falls in love with you. She’s after you and treats the other girl as a rival as she tries to get her out of the picture.
Some of the mini-games are tacky and pseudo sexual but as I mentioned there is nothing graphic. The character models are black silhouettes so not only don’t you see any virtual skin, you don’t even get to see a face. These tacky mini-games include touching your girlfriend in the same places that she touched you. It’s a memory game of sorts. Another game involves giving her a massage, in the dark, to keep her warm. Probably the most controversial mini-game is the one that requires two players to hold on DS system in an effort to make babies. Both players, preferably a boy and a girl, hold down buttons on the game while they answer a few questions. After that, they cut a cake together (it requires teamwork) and wind up with a baby. The baby can then be sold on the black market…just kidding…but oddly enough you can give the baby away to other players. These babies are actually called the Rub Rabbits and you can do things such as design clothing for them and create different ones based on your answers to the questions.
Successfully completing these mini-games will result in you obtaining hearts which are the currency in the game. You can use them to unlock items or purchase things such as outfits for your girlfriend that you can have her try on. Remember, you don’t get to see her naked you naughty fellows. All you will see is a black silhouette wearing some clothes. This game could obviously be a lot more risqué but it’s just been designed to titillate so as not to draw any fire from watchdog groups. All I have to say is that it’s a shame that games like this, with inoffensive sexual content, take more heat than games where you get to blow people’s heads off.
Speaking of blow, other mini-games require you to blow into the microphone to perform different tasks. This isn’t as dirty as it sounds. In other mini-games, such as the Hullabaloo multi-player mode, you’ll quickly pass the DS around to other players in a Twister-style mini game that you perform with your fingers.
Some games require that you hold the DS at different angles – including sideways and upside down. This is done to mix up the feel a little bit and put the controls in different positions. Holding the game sideways, the two screens combine to extend the screen horizontally which increases the scope of the playfield. The effect is more of a novelty than a necessity.
The purpose of the game according to game director, Takumi Yoshinaga, is to make connections with people, both virtually and in real-life. The single-player mode lets you make love connections with a virtual girlfriend while the multi-player mode facilitates players to get together to have some fun. The connections that you make from there are entirely up to you.
“We want to bring people together and have fun,” Yoshinaga says. “We really want gamers to enjoy themselves with the unexpected world of The Rub Rabbits”
The game has a nice, artsy look to it. It appears very fashionable with surreal backgrounds and shapely, lithe, feminine outlines. There are some monstrous robots to fight and some snowball fights that will keep the boys happy but there is an overall sweetness to the game that reminds one of being in love for the first time. The humorous aspects are somewhat intelligent and ensure that the appeal of the game will transcend the demographic that read Seventeen magazine.
There are very few voiceovers in The Rub Rabbit. Most of the sounds are groans, squeaks and pips that manage to communicate pain and pleasure. The music is uptempo but there isn’t enough new music and what we hear repeats too much. This isn’t a long game, and you could probably finish it a few hours which may be why the developers didn’t add more tunes.
I’m a little too old to experiment with virtual relationships but I’m sure this game will find its audience. The mini-games are varied but they remind me of a poor-man’s Wario Wares games. There aren’t as many games here but since they are more involved they last longer than five seconds. It’s worth a rental to see what you make of this game. It may even help to kickstart your social life.
- Innovative gameplay: Hold the DS sideways, upside down, or hold it with a friend for co-op and battle play.
- All-new “rub comedy” adventure: With new music, art, and characters, you get double the content with over 35 episodes in the Story Mode alone!
- 7 unique gameplay modes: Play through the story, test your touch-screen skills, or match up with a friend for a round of “Twister”!
- Full customization! Enter Customization Mode to unlock music and create your own unique character.
- Multiplayer Wireless Play: Compete in a myriad of multiplayer contests with up to four players.
By Cole Smith
CCC Staff Writer