Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kung Fu Rabbit (Wii U, 3DS, Vita) Review

Moving away from retail releases, Kung Fu Rabbit released on iOS and Android devices originally. Last spring it released on the Wii U eShop. The following summer it showed up on the PlayStation Store. Now, it comes hopping along with onto the 3DS. With three different chances to wow gamers, is Kung Fu Rabbit worth looking into? Here's our review.

This Bunny Gets a Black Belt in Being Competent


Kung Fu Rabbit is the latest in iOS and Android games making its appearance onto dedicated home console and handheld marketplaces, notably the Wii U and 3DS eShops and the PlayStation Store. With obvious inspiration from the super successful Super Meat Boy, Kung Fun Rabbit remains its own entity with clever level design and a less agonizing difficulty. That said, will Kung Fu Rabbit need a lucky rabbit's foot to get a passable score?

Told through comic book style panels, the simple story of Kung Fu Rabbit shows rabbits being kidnapped by some kind of evil force. This force leaves behind two things: 1) black goo that comes in the form of enemies, spikes, and other hazards, and 2) the rabbit master. The latter is one thing these nefarious do-badders will regret, as this rabbit wants revenge.. and carrots. Lots and lots of carrots.

Hmm. Daffy Duck was right.
It IS rabbit season.
Kung Fu Rabbit has you controlling the titular hero through individual, short 2D levels with the goal of rescuing the trapped bunny that is held at the end of each level to progress to the next. On the way there, there's plenty of obstacles to make your task much more interesting. From black pools of goo to moving enemies that can only be defeated through making contact with their weak points, this rapid moving rabbit has a lot to contend with. Seeing as all it takes is one hit to send your bunny into the next world, precision jumping, Mega Man X-esque wall climbing, and timing are of the utmost importance. The improved load times compared to the original mobile versions offer an instant return to the action upon failure.

These enemies can only be
defeated with an attack from behind.
Although the rabbit's leaps are a bit floaty, he controls well otherwise. The addition of buttons grants the console and handheld versions of Kung Fu Rabbit superiority over their mobile counterparts. This is immediately apparent in the more troublesome levels, where precise controls are necessary. The touch screen isn't too friendly for precision platforming, especially if you have to act quickly.

Aside from saving each rabbit from its purple bubble prison, there are optional carrots to obtain. There are three small carrots and a larger golden carrot. Collecting all of these in a level makes it completely beaten. If you're one who likes a challenge, as many of these carrots take some death-defying platforming to pull off, putting you in hazard's way, collecting everything in a level is sure to bring you some replay value.

Mega Man X would be proud, master.
These carrots aren't just meant for hoarding, either. The iOS and Android versions of Kung Fu Rabbit used in-app purchases as opposed to the Wii U, 3DS, and Vita versions' carrot currency. These can be used in the shop to purchased helpful items to make levels less daunting. You can also use carrots to simply purchase new worlds, as opposed to unlocking them through the usual means of beating levels. However, as a wise ninja once said, "The road to greatness never has shortcuts." ...Okay, I made that up, but it does sound thoughtful, does it not?

That trapped bunny is close
yet so far away.
Kung Fu Rabbit consists of three starting worlds, each possessing 20 levels to them, each lasting 30-60 seconds, not counting retries. Starting off, levels are a breeze, almost insultingly so, but with continued progression, the challenge becomes far greater with new takes on familiar obstacles. There's even a fourth bonus world that contains the most challenging of levels with no carrots to collect, just the goal of making it to the end in a platforming fight for survival. If that's not enough, remixed levels open up after the initial three worlds are completed. Thus, Kung Fu Rabbit definitely has the content to it.

One of many bonus levels
in Kung Fu Rabbit.
The game has a charming cartoon-y art style to it, but the game overuses the same small spattering of level locales that things eventually get boring. Deja vu is a common occurrence when so many levels have the same background and assets to them. There's not just repetitiveness in the scenery, either. The music of the game features extremely short loops of audio that fast become offensive to the ears. The sound effects don't fare much better, only offering the abundance of bubbling goop and little else. It is this part of Kung Fu Rabbit that doesn't do much to excite.

For which version is the best, all perform well. Although the 3DS version does not feature stereoscopic 3D at all, which is a shame because the game's backgrounds would look way more interesting with the effect. The Vita version has optional touch and back touch screen controls, but buttons are really the way to go. Finally, the Wii U version supports the ability to play the game solely on the GamePad screen. It's all a matter of platform preference, really.

Jeez. Not even a simple "thank you"?
Kung Fu Rabbit is a terrific pick-up-and-play-for-five-minutes game. It's not the most original game around, nor does it feature the most variety. It does, however, bring the player a reasonable challenge (not so much in the early going), cute visuals, an admirable amount of levels, fun achievements, and competent platforming. If you enjoy skillful platformers, then by all means jump down the rabbit hole. Otherwise, the lack of visual and sound variety, and some cheap level design will most likely frustrate you.

[SPC Says: 7.0/10]

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