It’s hard to imagine that the Rabbids were once confined to the realms of the Rayman games. It was a stroke of luck for Ubisoft who were quick to capitalise on their highly popular characters with a string of titles. At first the Rabbid games were interesting and entertaining due to their bizarre and unique content. But as of late the mini-games have started to become stale, which is a shame as there has always been so much potential when it came to the wild bunch of Rabbids. It seems that Ubisoft has finally realised this with the departure from the mini-game realm. In their latest game, the Rabbids have managed to turn a washing machine into time machine. The Rabbids decide to use this opportunity, like anyone else would, by traveling through time and manipulating events. The story might seem as insane as usual, but the major change in Rabbids 3D lies within the gameplay.
It’s a relief to start off this review by proclaiming proudly that Rabbids 3D isn’t just another collection of mini-games. Instead Rabbids 3D is a title which will bring tears of joy to older gamers who remember the heydays of platform gaming. The game consists of four worlds, each containing about sixteen levels to play through. While most of these levels are mandatory, a few are just optional bonus areas. These bonus areas are unlocked after meeting a set requirement during previous levels; which gives reason to replay many of the levels again. The levels themselves are quite lengthy, taking a more than a few minutes to reach the end without bothering to nab all the collectibles. Regular checkpoints are an added bonus, meaning a lot less backtracking.
In terms of design it has to be said that the levels are varied, not only visually but also in terms of the layout. Each land has its own look based on the era that it’s depicting. This is a welcome addition and a great way for younger gamers to learn about history in a fun way. The level layout is pretty impressive and is a throwback to the platform games that are part of what made gaming what it is today. What is on offer ranges from basic but efficient platform jumping to picking up blocks in order to reach higher ground. New abilities keep being introduced throughout and they all work very well. There isn’t a single moment in the game where it feels like a death was caused by shoddy design ideas. In fact, Rabbids 3D is a good solid platform gaming effort – it doesn’t attempt anything too fancy and that is perhaps the reason why the game manages to shine.
Controlling the Rabbid is extremely easy, with an excellent on screen guide that pops up whenever a new move is required to progress. Both the analogue stick and d-pad work well when moving the Rabbid left or right. The Rabbids are packing a few moves too, such as swinging from ropes and being able to break blocks when moving at high speed. The more seasoned platforming addicts among you probably won’t find Rabbids much of a challenge, but then it is really aimed at a younger audience. There are a few tricky moments, but due to the good level design these won’t be a problem for long.
As for the visuals, Rabbids is certainly one of the better looking titles on the system. As already mentioned, there are four distinct time periods to be explored which means a lot of potential when it comes to design choices. This is evident right from the start of the game during the Prehistoric land. Even without 3D effects, it’s a relaxing experience to progress through the colourful levels. Seeing what each land has to offer is just part of the charm that will have you constantly coming back for more. The 3D effect may seem minimal at first, but you will soon begin to notice the more subtle way in which Rabbids uses the 3D technology in clever ways. For example, during one level a bug may flutter by, before landing on the screen and then briskly moving on.
Being a game aimed at a younger audiences, it’s not surprising to see less emphasis being placed on the story. The basic premise can be summed up in pretty much one short sentence – The crazy Rabbids travel back in time and just have a good time playing with history. To be fair, there really isn’t any need for more details on the events than that. Instead the game focuses on solid fun and an experience that never fails to amuse. This can be seen throughout the game where levels can go from simple platform jumping to running away from hungry dinosaurs. It’s the variety that will keep you entertained through its four worlds and many levels. Even when all is said and done, there is still more on offer to keep you busy.
For starters there are challenges and time trials which will unlock extra content. Other items such as 3D models and clothes can also be unlocked by collecting medals for each level completed and collecting a number of rubber ducks. It might not be for everyone, but for those of you that can’t get enough of collecting items then this will certainly keep you busy for a while. The music, although getting a little repetitive at times, works well with the themed levels. Some tracks you will notice making an appearance in later levels, but made to fit the time period you’re playing, which is a nice touch.
It might be surprising to read this but Rabbids 3D is an enjoyable experience. It doesn’t require a lot of skill but it does deliver some good solid platform gaming. The theme of each level keeps proceedings varied and appealing to play through to the very end. As one of the early Nintendo 3Ds titles it’s a promising start for Ubisoft and the Rabbids development team; managing to incorporate 3D effects in a platform title without compromising how the game is played. The game also highlights how the Rabbids franchise can be used outside of the tried and tested mini-games formula. A fun title that will please both a young and old with its effective use of 3D and excellent old school platform gaming.