The Rabbids series have been something that I’ve quite enjoyed throughout the years ever since they launched their first compilation title, although I’ve had a little bit of diminished interest in the series as the compilation started to grow rather stale. Following on from that, Rabbids Go Home was a very nice diversion for the series that felt a little bit more substantial, but was still not without its issues. We had a quick revisit to mini-game compilations with Travel In Time, and now we have the far superior Rabbids 3D– a side scrolling platformer that will not only impress fans of the platformers we all grew up on, but also those looking for a very substantial and original launch title for the Nintendo 3DS.
The general concept of Rabbids 3D is very similar to the recently released Rabbids In Time for the Wii/DS. The Rabbids discover a washing machine device that is actually a time machine, and accidently warped themselves to different time periods throughout recorded history. All of the other Rabbids, just as eager, follow them, and so begins a journey that allows the Rabbids to change the course of history and cause as much mischief as possible.
Rabbids 3D is presented in a 2.5 dimensional style, where all the modelling is three dimensional, but everything occurs on a 2D plane. It bears striking similarities to Donkey Kong Country Returns and New Super Mario Bros. in this regard and thankfully looks almost just as good. While most of the backgrounds remain largely static, players will appreciate the wind blowing the leaves through the air in the background of some levels. The environments look great, but sometimes players may feel like there’s a little bit too little going on at certain times throughout the story. The Rabbids themselves, as always, look as cute as ever with their animations really telling their story without the need for voice acting. I have said it before, but the Rabbids are some of the best examples of how a silent character can still convey so much personality without the need for [structured] words.
The 3D effect is utilised to a minimal effect with Rabbids 3D, instead opting to create a subtle layer to the foreground, middle ground and background. In this regard, and in this kind of game it actually works substantially better than some other games on the console. There were some parts during the Egypt stage that really stood out to me, where a bug would appear and sit on the screen, causing me not only to do a double take but almost drop my 3DS in disgust (I hate bugs). Despite this, however, there are moments where I had to double check the 3D slider to make sure the effect was still on, particularly near some of the faster paced levels, where the effect seemed to disappear completely or appear to be turned down as far as possible, despite my slider being all the way up. Still, for the most part the 3D is pretty well utilised, though the puzzling absence of its impact in some sequences is a little bit confusing. Thankfully, the use of the 3D has no bearing on the performance of the title, although these random drops in the effect may also be helping the game out in some degree.
The general gameplay of Rabbids 3D is similar to a Donkey Kong or Mario game, where players have to reach from the start to the end across a fairly linear path, collecting coins and bonus items along the way. Controls are very intuitive, and don’t feel too floaty at all. Players can use either the D-Pad or the Circle Pad, although the Circle Pad requires a little bit more accuracy in your movements – the slightest tap of anywhere near the “down” position while jumping will instantly cancel a jump and be potentially deadly too. Most enemies can be defeated by jumping, but the Rabbids can pick up items and throw them, or just hit enemies should they need to. Still, the controls are not too floaty at all, and the game does a good job at being a decent Marioclone.
The level design, for the most part, is fairly competent and there are some branching paths throughout, which gives players a nice little bit of variety but the perfectionist in me kept going through one path and revisiting the second to see what I’m missing out on. There is a great variety too, and whenever we were getting bored of a particular backdrop we would be refreshed with a new one to mix things up a bit. The bottom screen also provides a kind of cross section of the level, highlighting checkpoints as well as where your particular Rabbid is in relation to the end of the level. It’s a nice touch to give players an idea of how long they have to go in a particular level. There are also levels that mix things up a bit by giving different objectives and such, which is also a nice touch.
Players will collect coins, rubber ducks and inflatable duck rings in order to build up their scores, which at the end of every level are automatically put towards 3D objects to view outside of the game, costumes for their Rabbid (there’s heaps and they’re adorable) as well as unlocking bonus levels. Bonus levels require players to collect as many items as possible within a certain time limit – they aren’t anything amazingly special but they are nice little diversions from the standard game.
Rabbids 3D feels like quite a big game, spanning over 60 levels with four major worlds being included from the get go, with each world having a few different themes within them. Players will take around six to seven hours to finish the game, although this was while attempting only around half of the bonus levels and play time may increase for completionists. There are also quite a few costumes to unlock, which allows players to dress up their Rabbid in gear from all different time periods too. Finally, upon completing a level, Time and Challenge modes can be unlocked for that level, where the player must beat a level as fast as possible, or collect and destroy everything respectively. There is a lot to do here, although I do feel that some players will not really get into the game as much and really be quite over it – fifteen levels per world does seem a little bit too much.
The musical offerings of Rabbids 3D are pretty good, although I did notice that a few tracks were consistently repeating themselves throughout the game. Unfortunately, I also noticed that a lot of the tracks just didn’t sound “right” for the worlds that I was playing through, although this does not imply that the tracks are inherently bad, instead they just aren’t suitable. Thankfully, the voice work is on par with previous games in the series and the Rabbids sound just as cute as ever.
Rabbids 3D is definitely one of the stronger launch titles for the system that doesn’t really feel overly rushed. There are a few issues that you can draw from it, namely that the game could’ve been cut down just a little bit to keep good pacing, but still, the game is remarkably well put together. While we haven’t quite got our version of Mariofor the 3DS, this is definitely the next best option.
Environments are great, the Rabbids animate beautifully. However, the rather perplexing reduction of the 3D effect during some more intense scenes is incredibly jarring. Otherwise, 3D is used to good effect to separate the planes.
This is classic Nintendo platforming as you know it, albeit missing a few power ups here and there.
A good mix of up-beat tracks. Players will particularly be impressed by all the grunts and random yells of the Rabbids themselves.
Theres quite a bit to do in this six hour plus romp, with at least sixty different levels across four rather different worlds. Costumes and unlockables are nice touches, though the latter are quite superficial and really wont provide entertainment at all.
I actually was not expecting much from Rabbids 3D at all, but the fact it harkened back to the platformers I used to play as a kid really made me enjoy it. The fact that there was quite a few levels too also was a plus.