The Rub Rabbits! Review

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Developer: Sonic Team Publisher: Sega
Release Date: February 13, 2006 Available On: Nintendo DS

Is it just a coincidence that The Rub Rabbits appeared on store shelves right around Valentine’s Day? For some V-Day might as well be the equivalent of D-Day for the Germans – a slow decline in their control of the situation. Your situation is your lack of a girlfriend, which is just what you are trying to get in this game. Perhaps though more interesting than that would be the target audience. It’s probably less of the guys seeking girls type than Sega seeking a less hardcore (and growing presence in gaming): the female. So get ready to rub your rabbits!

You might be asking: what the hell is a Rub Rabbit? It’s a legitimate question, if you haven’t read our review of Feel the Magic. You join a performance group known as the “Rub Rabbits”, in which you perform spectacular stunts to impress the girl. Oh and yeah, just a minor side note, Feel the Magic earned an 8.8 at launch from Game Freaks 365. Think of The Rub Rabbits as a grown up version of Wario Ware. The storyline, the gameplay, the length is all for a more mature, less attention-deficit disorder audience.

Whereas Wario Ware challenges you to so called “mega micro games”, Feel the Magic and The Rub Rabbits challenge you to extended mini-games that take more than a knee-jerk response. Still, while the overall length of The Rub Rabbits greatly outmatches Wario Ware Touched!, it is not a long game by any stretch, although it does have a decent amount of replay value.

Some of the mini-games are genuinely creative and fun to play. I have to say that I was not expecting to paddle up a river on a log when I first opened the box, avoiding crocodiles. Blowgun is another one of those clever games that you will probably never forget. Parachuting foes are trying to steal your girl and all you have between them and her is… a blowgun. Aim at the parachuting thugs using the stylus and fire by blowing into the microphone. Simple fun, yes, but a splendid attempt at making use of the DS’ feature set.

Probably one of the coolest of all is again a simple boss mini-game. A stampede of bulls is coming your way. Tap them to death – but watch out! Don’t hit the gentlemen waving their hands at the screen. You have a lot of bulls, including some large bulls that take multiple hits before you reach the actual boss, who is 100 hits. You will need to be prepared to move those wrists if you expect to beat this one.

Now for the game modes. Everything starts in the Story mode. The story obviously takes place here and you unlock mini-games here. Memories is a place where you can earn more hearts by completing the mini-games that have been completed in the Story mode, except you will need to do it with one life and ten times. The more hearts you earn, the more you can play dress-up in the Maniac mode, which also allows custom designs. There is a mode called Hullabaloo, which I haven’t quite figured out, but it involves passing around your DS with friends and pressing buttons before time runs out.

Do not forget about the multi-player mode that allows you to play with one cart: you can battle with up to four people or trade designs with other players. Then there’s Babymaking. “To make a baby, two people play together on a single DS. Your teamwork will show your compatibility as a couple”. Right – only in Japan could they come up with this stuff.

The biggest problem with The Rub Rabbits is that they have seemed to already run stale on ideas of how to uniquely use a touch-screen, dual screen and/or a microphone. Some of the mini-games are rehashed in some form from Feel the Magic, such as the unicycle (even though it is greatly improved). Others just do not feel right altogether. Lovebomber is one of those, where you try to avoid bombs being dropped on you by rolling your tied up hero. Another somewhat stupid mini-game is the Dinner mini-game where all you do is move right and left to eat food being tossed down a long table.

I don’t know what it is about these releases with just mini-games, but they have become a genre of their own almost. That’s not a bad thing, as Wario Ware, Feel the Magic and The Rub Rabbits all prove. These types of games are intense tests of your mental response ability. The Rub Rabbits can be frantic, but it is nothing compared to the warp speed of Wario Ware. Even with the addition of multi-player though, I can’t help but feel that some of its creative edge has been lost since Feel the Magic. The charm is still there, but that alone is not enough for a $30 game.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 9
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7.8
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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