Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rabbids Go Home (Wii) Review

Can you believe it's 2010? Doesn't feel like it yet, that's for sure! Regardless, it's time to bring out the first review of the new year, and it's a game that was nominated for Best New Franchise in the SPC Best of 2009 Awards. It's none other than Rabbids Go Home for the Wii. Enjoy, and happy new year once again!

Rabbids Gone Wild

Introduced as the antagonists to Rayman in the Wii launch title, Rayman Raving Rabbids, the cute, hilarious, and off-the-wall rabbids have been relegated to starring in mini-game collection after mini-game collection. Not that there's anything wrong with the genre. Regardless, many of us have wanted to see the rabbids branch out into more unfamiliar territory and into a new genre. Apparently the prayers have been answered as the rabbids are now being featured in their first and hopefully not last comedy-adventure with Rabbids Go Home, exclusively for the Wii. With its wackiness, insane cast of characters, and just the right touch of humor, Rabbids Go Home seems like a real winner.

One night the rabbids are collecting garbage in a shopping cart when they devise an excellent plan-- well, excellent for the mentally deficient rabbids! Their plot is to build a tower of junk so high that they'll be able to reach their home, the moon. Big ideals for such small creatures, wouldn't you say? Seeing that there isn't enough stuff in their junkyard to reach the moon, they cast their sights even higher at a nearby town. It is there where they will gather the necessary materials to fulfill their goal of reaching the moon and returning home. The main story really doesn't go much further than that until the end of the game, but there's various small sub-plots that occur in many of the games levels. The story will make the most hardened gamer laugh with delight as they wonder what those wacky rabbids will do next.

You'll be revisiting the junkyard plenty.

The structure of Rabbids Go Home has the rabbids entering the main hub of the game-- a series of city blocks. Here they enter special passages where they can select levels to explore. Once your garbage tower is high enough, you'll unlock a new set of levels, and the process repeats itself henceforth. There's usually four or five levels to each special passage, and of course, each set is harder than the last making for a nice ease of difficulty. All in all, the game probably takes around ten hours to complete, but there's grabbing all the unlockables and going for high scores.

The city is the hub of Rabbids Go Home.

Levels themselves have one goal in mind-- to capture the rabbid's target be it a large piece of furniture, a safe, or even a cow of all things on the rascally rabbids' conquest to return home. That's not all you should focus on in levels. There's tons of smaller goodies to grab up and place in the rabbids' shopping cart. By collecting enough garbage and pieces of junk in a level, you'll earn one of four gifts. The higher your points score, the more gifts you'll get. Just what are such gifts? More on that later.

As for playing the levels, the camera's always in a fixed position, and seldom ever causes the player problems. Early levels are pretty much devoid of hazards and enemies to tackle, but later stages are full of bottomless pits, swinging mechanisms, swaying platforms, offensive enemies such as dogs and government agents, bombs, and cacti. There's plenty of sections in levels where you won't be able to move on until all enemies are defeated or all pipes are received. The rabbids start out with three or four hits available to them before they have to restart at the beginning or a checkpoint. By collecting light bulbs, you'll refill the health of your rabbid pair. Being attacked by an enemy or running into a spiked cactus or hazardous balloon will break one of the rabbids' bulbs. You'll spend most of your retries due to bottomless pits and missed jumps. When you lose a "life", all junk collected in a given level is lost. Thankfully, you can hand your hauled garbage to a helper rabbid holding a tuba, so when you die the junk given to the tuba-playing rabbid isn't lost.

Certain paths will remain blocked
until all enemies in the area are defeated.

Certain levels have gimmicks to them. One of which has you racing a cow aboard a truck as you attempt to beat him to a set point so you can steal him. Another has you riding on the turbine of a plane and jetting through an airport gobbling up items. There's also a mission where you'll be using a bubble bed to float from one platform to another all the while the senile passenger keeps asking for his nurse. Finally, there's work zones that are timed, so they must be passed through before the gates shut close. These are just some of the zany scenarios that pop up in Rabbids Go Home.

The controls of Rabbids Go Home feel tight and responsive. There's no loose feeling that would have killed this sort of game. You hold A to accelerate, and let go to slow down. You're never going too fast that you feel that you're going out of control. Later on you learn the ability to run your shopping cart on water and boost. Boosting is done by taking a sharp enough turn so you see electric marks underneath your cart. Then, if you don't bump into anything, you can maneuver your cart on a ramp, boost, and leap over it with ease. Later levels are dedicated to this boost ability, so it's important to learn. Motion control is limited to navigating through menus, dolling up your rabbid, and various shaking mini-games included within the game. Oh, and only attacking enemies left and right and scaring clothes off the ladies!

These dogs sure pack a vicious bite.

I mentioned gifts earlier on, and these are meant to be used in the rabbids creation area of the game. You can suck up one of three rabbids "inside of your remote" and play with them. Shake the remote, and the rabbid will go flying all over the place on the TV screen. Tap buttons, and the rabbid will inquisitively stare at them with great infatuation. You can also customize your rabbid with paint, accessories, and hats. The aforementioned gifts unlock new tattoos, accessories, and hats to equip your own personal rabbid with. The customization aspects are really good, and you can create some great looking rabbids pretty easily. I, myself, made one that is a splitting image of SuperPhillip... well, if SuperPhillip had floppy ears and a crazed look on his face. Nonetheless, you can create anything from Sam Fisher to Altair from Assassin's Creed. I know this because two of these are unlockable rabbids!

That little guy sure looks familiar...

Presentation-wise Rabbids Go Home is a pleasant looker. The framerate holds true, and cut-scenes are fun to look at whether they're cartoon-stylized or pure CG. The soundtrack is a mix of licensed and original tunes from Me and Bobby McGee to Boogie Wonderland. The original tunes are frantic and brass focused. It's perfect for a game starring those lovable rabbids.

Rabbids Go Home is an endearing and hilarious game that fans of the crazy rabbid gang will enjoy tenfold. For everyone else, there's enough wacky (there's that word again) charm and carnage to make it worth a purchase. The game may be a little on the short side, but obtaining all four gifts in each level and getting high scores is always a fun pastime. For quality off-the-wall insanity to the nth degree, there's really no better game for a Wii owner than Rabbids Go Home.

[SuperPhillip Says: 8.0/10]

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