In Japan, The Rub Rabbits! is known as “Where Do Babies Come From?”, it was probably a good idea to have changed the name for the often uptight North American public, so as not to have them up in arms for a game that has as much to do with baby making as reality shows have to do with reality. Rub Rabbits is the sequel to Feel the Magic XY/XX one of the first original titles for the Nintendo DS. Your goal is to woo the girl of your dreams. You play one mini-game after another in order to impress her and make her your girlfriend, while fending off the girl who has a rather “fatal attraction” towards you. The Rub Rabbits! is a good example of what a developer can do with the Nintendo DS if they just make the effort to think beyond traditional gameplay.The Rub Rabbits! has a very distinctive look to it. The characters have no facial features to distinguish them instead the focus is placed on their actions and reactions towards one another. It’s very clever as you watch the game of love play out. You don’t get caught up in what the girl looks like instead you see how she reacts to him giving her a gift. It really is fun to watch. Despite there not being detail to the individual character the animation is really smooth and really adds to the appeal of the game. The Rub Rabbits! sports some brilliant colors and really has this art nouveau look to it. Yes, it’s simplistic, but it makes the game that much more charming.
The audio in Rub Rabbits is equally as quirky as the visual. It’s kooky enough to be good, but not so weird that it’s annoying. The sound effects are befitting of the gameplay. It’s really just weird sound effects and some simple music going on, but you’re probably so involved with the gameplay that you don’t even notice it too much. Aside from some pretty funky voice samples, the real funny sounds will come from you, the gamer, as you blow into the microphone to play some of the mini-games. Aside from the somewhat repetitive sound effects the music is pretty good and is really a great complement to the gameplay.
The meat of the game comes from dozens of odd mini-games that could really only be done on the DS. A vast majority of them involve things like dragging your hero from one place to another or tapping the screen to get rid of something chasing you, while some of the more oddball ones have you blowing into the microphone to help your girlfriend get over a skinned knee. At times you’ll even twist around your DS to get a different view of the game, all in the name of making the game as different from anything else you’ve ever played. It truly succeeds, with its odd story line and unique visuals, and plain strange gameplay; The Rub Rabbits! is about as far a departure from traditional gameplay as you could get. The stylus and microphone work extremely well with the game and of course this is the type of game the DS was created to play host to. It may not be the most beautiful game, but it’s pretty enjoyable if you’re willing to give it a chance.
The multiplayer modes in Rub Rabbits also try to be very different. There are several different modes including a party mode that involves you passing around your DS as if was a baton. Baby making mode has you cutting a cake with your partner and the better you do, the more compatible you’re supposed to be. You can also take your DS and battle with a friend or friends and exchange some of the clothing designs you’ve made or you can even have your baby play with a friend’s baby at the park. Odd doesn’t even begin to describe this game.
Overall, the typical thing that plagues one of these games tends to bring The Rub Rabbits! down alongside it. The game is highly innovative and is unlike most other games before it (unless you count Feel the Magic XY/XX), however, some of the games can get a little repetitive. Thankfully, there’s plenty of extra work to do if you want to collect all the different articles of clothing for your girlfriend. Of course that’s optional, so you could technically finish this pretty quick and not have much game left to play with. Is the game cool? Without a doubt, but that alone may not make it worth your hard earned money. It’s a very nice demonstration of what a game can be like if a developer decides to make a game out of the norm. The music is good, the presentation is very cool, but in the end it doesn’t necessarily end up as being anything that’s tremendously memorable. Innovative, yes, but not exactly the gaming experience that will change your life, unless you actually use the Baby Making mode compatibility score to choose your wife to be. It’s a good game, but in the end it’s a bunch of mini-games strewn together to make one bigger game, so it may not be the most ideal game for everyone. Control is great and because the microphone doesn’t require you to input voice commands, only your breath, it’s very easy to get into. While not the best game available for the DS it certainly is worth a look for its unique and innovative gameplay.
Those willing to take a chance on a quirky game with an obvious Japanese influence, The Rub Rabbits! is an excellent choice. It’s easy to pick up and play whether it’s just for five minutes or thirty minutes. Then again if you’re looking for something a little deeper this might not be your cup of tea. Despite its simple gameplay and graphics it’s a game that you’ll want to give yourself the pleasure of playing for a little while.
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