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Kung Fu Rabbit (Wii U eShop) Review

Review for Kung Fu Rabbit on Wii U eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There's something distinctive about karate and kung-fu that has made it known in the world of video games throughout the ages. If it's not a side-scrolling game that involves jumping on enemies like Super Mario Bros. or firing machine guns Metal Slug-style, it's usually left to martial arts. Enter Kung Fu Rabbit, a side-scrolling platformer that stars an adorable rabbit that's trained in paw-to-paw combat, is rather proficient at wielding a sword, and is destined to save the planet from a deadly alien invasion. With a successful run on mobile app stores, and coming from the same publisher that brought the world Puddle on Wii U eShop, just how does the leap to the living room for Kung Fu Rabbit compare?

Kung Fu Rabbit originally started life as a free-to-play mobile game on Apple iOS and Android devices, bringing with it a challenging set of short levels and a range of additional power-ups that can be bought to make progressing through the adventure that bit easier. With the Nintendo Wii U version, developer Neko Entertainment chose to tailor the interface and experience to a new audience in mind, re-jigging the control scheme and making in-game purchases part of the game rather than requiring real money.

Just what is Kung Fu Rabbit and why the immense popularity with mobile gamers? The premise is, at its core, a simple one. Step into the furry shoes of a rabbit that's living happily with his fellow lagomorph chums and all of a sudden an alien invasion leaves acid splatters and monsters across the world. With friends missing, it's down to the player to collect three carrots throughout each level (plus a bonus golden carrot), reaching a helpless bunny at the end. Levels are presented in side-scrolling fashion, complete with moving platforms, spawning blocks and disintegrating pathways in a bid to stop the hero in his tracks. These are very much reminiscent of classic Sonic the Hedgehog games in level structure, with a twinge of classic Ninja-Kid or Ninja Gaiden games from the Nineties.

Screenshot for Kung Fu Rabbit on Wii U eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Loose storyline aside, the main draw with Kung Fu Rabbit is it's initially simple approach that seemingly lures players into the far more difficult, and at times relentlessly challenging, levels. At its core, it may look easy and each level is short enough to be completed in a few minutes, but the subtle touches in design can cause havoc for even the most skilled players. Certain enemies can only be defeated when approaching from a particular direction - their back or head - but often are placed strategically and as soon a jump has been mistimed or you are just a few pixels out, it's very much back to the drawing board. By default there aren't any life metres or health bars; it's down to patience and mastering the levels. Careful timing and precise jumps are the core skills needed here, often relying on tight last second jumps to nab that tempting carrot that's perched narrowly above a pit of scorching hot alien slime.

Screenshot for Kung Fu Rabbit on Wii U eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There are items on offer that need to be purchased using in-game currency to help ease the challenge, especially during the later stages. Some include the ability to spawn a checkpoint after those trickier sections or even a sword that can penetrate enemies at any angle for a near-invincible way of tackling the game. These were originally available as in-game purchases in the mobile versions but have since been included in the game at no extra cost. Whilst these do help break the challenge down into more manageable chunks, they don't radically influence/change the game itself but are certainly worthwhile extras to make progressing far more bearable.

In Kung Fu Rabbit there are three worlds on offer, each broken down into twenty individual levels, plus bonus sections for those that can demonstrate a little extra skill. Each additional hub also invites a new mechanic, upping the ante for those who may have breezed through the initial set of levels. There is enough variety and challenge in design throughout the early segments, each creating an obstacle to try and hinder the poor rabbit's journey, but as progress is made into the later portions, things do sadly become very repetitive. There are times where a shake-up in structure, boss challenge or change in scenery would really have helped add extra variety and flesh out the feeling that at its core, Kung Fu Rabbit is still very much a mobile game.

Screenshot for Kung Fu Rabbit on Wii U eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Looking at Kung Fu Rabbit's presentation, the game has made the transition from portable to the living room TV well, weaving a neat Eastern look with fluttering blossom leaves, Japanese structures and serene backdrops to really go hand-in-hand with the martial arts flavour. The animation is slick, very much cartoon-like and shows some care and attention to reworking the title for larger, HD screens. The adventure is also playable in its entirety on the Wii U GamePad screen, offering a similar level of detail. Where the game does fall down, though, is in the sound department. Thematically the backing music conveys the oriental, martial-arts flavour well, but the samples are short and jarring, making for really prominent and irritating loops, so much so that it may even be worth playing with the sound set firmly to zero.

Screenshot for Kung Fu Rabbit on Wii U eShop- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Short, snappy gameplay that offers a solid challenge for platforming fans. Whilst Kung Fu Rabbit invites a simple approach initially, the difficulty is soon ramped up and requires a great deal of patience, skill and a little bit of luck. Kung Fu Rabbit does need a bit more variation in design and structure towards the latter half of the game, however, as the mobile/tablet roots do begin to show.

Graphics

Charming, oriental inspired flavour that goes well to painting a serene setting for Kung Fu Rabbit. The look has been scaled up nicely from mobile to the big screen with smooth, cartoon animation.

Sound

Short, poorly executed samples do fit in the theme but are disjointed and very repetitive. There are only a very small number of songs per level and it begins to grate very early on in the game.

Value

The entire campaign can be completed within three or four hours, and certainly in a single sitting or two. There are extras and score incentives to bring players back for more, but overall it is a small game that doesn't offer too much in the way of replay value.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

Kung Fu Rabbit is a worthy contender to an afternoon of rabbit leaping, challenging platform action. It looks pretty and handles well but still feels very much like a mobile game at heart. With a little bit more variety in design and a more considered musical score, it could have fared a lot better. However, the game is worth adding to anyone's NintendoWii U eShop collection - perhaps after trying it out on a mobile or tablet first.

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27.04.2013

4

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Developer

Neko

Publisher

Neko

Genre

Other

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Dunno why, but the screens give me a Super Meat Boy vibe...except a nicer version Smilie

Going to download this soon - definitely has my interested Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Mush (guest) 29.04.2013 14:29#2

Yeah, the game definitely has a Super Meat Boy look and feel, but nicer? I don't think you should be saying that around one of the biggest Super Meat Boy fans. Smilie Will probably pick this one up eventually! (Posting from my phone because I'm out running a few errands!)

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I mean 'nicer' as in 'less bloody' Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Staff Member

Adam Riley said:
I mean 'nicer' as in 'less bloody' Smilie
But I liked the blood in SMB. Smilie Honestly, I love Ed McMillen's artstyle. He drew a pic of me when he was drawing SMB fans on Omegle.

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