When Rabbids Rumble was first announced, it seemed like perhaps Ubisoft was going to attempt to cash-in on the current lack of a Smash Bros. title on the Nintendo 3DS. However, as it turns out, that could not be further from the truth. This intriguing little 3DS title in fact mimics Pokémon turn-based battling and mixes in a healthy dose of the mini-game craziness the weird rabbit-like critters are famous for.
Beware, after trying their hand at various genre types, now those crazy Rabbids are taking on the turn-based monster-capturing style of game in Rabbids Rumble on Nintendo 3DS from Headstrong Games, the same team that brought the world House of the Dead: Overkill. The idea is that the wacky Rabbids have escaped from the confines of their cartridge and ran riot on the 3DS and out into the real world. Thus begins the crazy antics across seven worlds filled with all manner of mini-game madness, as well as some interesting character battles, all with the aim of capturing more than a hundred Rabbids of all shapes and sizes, from the quite run-of-the-mill to the zany and totally out there in appearance.
The selection of mini-games on offer ranges from downright basic to wonderfully inventive, making great use of the 3DS hardware features. There is even the chance to use a pack-in AR card to access specific mini-game types in the real world. This is on top of rhythm games, Whack-a-Mole-like affairs, Augmented Reality shooting events, aiming cows towards targets using their own bodily gas as propulsion, tilting the 3DS to guide Rabbids around a hazardous maze, blowing into the microphone to clear clouds before blasting Rabbids' balloons to make them fall, and much more. Headstrong has to be commended for taking a well worn concept and successfully injecting fresh life into it.
The Story Mode requires players to clear the path on each world in order to reach the Boss Rabbid, aiming to despatch him/her in a turn-based bout. There are toilet rolls that can be collected in the midst of the mini-game shenanigans, which prove mightily useful should a Rabbid character fall in battle later on as they revive one character. Upon beating a team of Rabbids in a fair fight by using a mix of defensive moves, regular attacks and special abilities, one can be plucked up and added to the player's team, preceded by a quick slapping session (thanks to the touch-screen and stylus) in order to wake the blighter up! The game really does result in several chuckles along the way due to its loony humour, especially in the battle stakes (dancing to make a disco ball land on an opponent's head, throwing an anvil, pies to the face, over-the-top boxing glove punches, and so on). It is also possible to level-up the Rabbids after each fight so they can learn stronger moves, which although not anywhere near as deep as Pokémon does still add an interesting edge to what would have merely been a regular mini-game collection.
To top it off, as well as a standard wireless two-player head-to-head, there is a StreetPass function whereby players can share scores, gain training bonuses for their crew, obtain new items, and even take part in special battles to unlock new Rabbids (SpotPass downloads also offer up a new Rabbid for download each week). Rabbids Rumble may not have turned into the Smash Bros. copycat some thought it might be, but it is a very enjoyable mini-game experience with some engaging Pokémon-esque battles included.
Headstrong Games has made fantastic use of the various Nintendo 3DS features to offer some highly engaging mini-games and mimicked the Pokémon-style battle mechanic wonderfully.
Bright and colourful, but lacking somewhat in overall detail, Rabbids Rumble looks like a highly polished DS title at times in the visuals stakes.
Surprisingly impressive, upbeat and wacky tunes to complement the zany action, with the usual Rabbid screams and over-the-top sound effects for good measure.
Trying to collect all 100 Rabbids is enjoyable, to a point. Once the (enjoyable) mini-games are over, there may not be quite enough incentive to warrant battling on until all have been collected.
Rabbids Rumble may not have turned into the Smash Bros. copycat some thought it might be, but it is a very enjoyable mini-game experience with some engaging Pokémon-esque battles included. Headstrong Games shows how versatile its developers are by from something as raucous as House of the Dead to this extremely light-hearted, slapstick-style affair that does Ubisoft's Rabbids brand proud.