The worst thing about Rabbids Go Home is that it comes along after four years and countless Rabbid titles that were funny and clever… but mostly no fun to play. It’s a reputation that has tarnished the Rabbids good name and probably didn’t help the sales of this latest, and completely un-minigame-y offering. If you felt burned by the mad bunnies and were happy to watch Rabbids Go Home fizzle out of existance, I implore you to at least queue it up at GameFly and get to it one of these days. You’ll only have to play minigames on three rare occasions through the whole game and the rest of it summons the spirit of Rayman 2 pretty handily.
Throwing all the novelty of the Raving Rabbids games into their shopping cart like so much garbage, you play as a trio of Rabbids careening around a hub world and its connected stages in search of junk to build a pile big enough to reach the moon. The stages are set in mundane human environments (construction site, office building, airport) but the antics are 100% Rabbid craziness and about 70% old school 3D platformer. There’s not a lot of jumping since you’re pushing a shopping cart around the whole time but there’s a ton of precarious (and oftentimes wobbly) platforms, deadly obstacles, Rabbid-seeking enemies, and pick ups.
Oh, the pick ups! Tapping our OCD veins like a mainline of black tar heroin, the game is simply full of junk. Small stuff and big stuff alike litters every corner of the stages and simply had to be picked up before we could move on. It’s the same compulsive urge as collecting studs in a LEGO game or rolling up absolutely everything in Katamari Damacy. Alone it’d be a real challenge as some stuff, for example, can only be reached by shooting a grate to create a bridge, finding a nearby ramp, and maneuvering across a narrow path. With a second player, however, it’s much easier. As Player 1 controls the shopping cart a second player uses a Wii Remote to point and grab the small junk almost anywhere on the screen. It’s pretty much a rip on Super Mario Galaxy’s co-op but it allows players of different ages and skill levels to work together and feel equally useful.
As easy and straightforward as the game’s structure is it does begin to grind about halfway through. There are only a handful of different areas and gameplay styles (races, chases, and pinball-style bumper runs) and they start to repeat pretty quickly with increasing difficulty and complexity. By this point, though, you’ll probably have amassed enough junk to skip to the last stage; a hilarious, sometimes-infuriating, “you’ve gotta be kidding” gauntlet that throws everything in the game at you for one final run to the end.
After the credits there’s not a lot to do outside of hunting down any Presents you might’ve missed unless you’ve got a good imagination. Ubisoft has packed in an astounding character customization tool that lets you apply those Presents to your three starring Rabbids in the form of stickers, accessories and tools to deform and decorate them. You can actually do this at any time between levels and it’s presented through a really creative concept; that your Rabbids are stuck inside the Wii Remote. You’ll find some of the best animations in the game here and, through an installable Wii Channel, can enter your own designer Rabbids in monthly themed contests. Submit, review, and vote on everyone’s creations either through the Wii or on the internet where you can even order a 3D sculpture of your Rabbids! I never expected a thriving community to exist around the Rabbids but was pleasantly surprised by the dozens of truly inspired creations I saw. If we owned the game I could see myself getting into this stuff and loading it up every month just to check in on things. As a rental it kept us painting and dabbling a little longer but we still got it back to Blockbuster in five days.
I wish Rabbids Go Home could’ve been the debut game for the Rayman off-shoot just to spare them the grief of all those underwhelming minigame collections. I hope that our praise (and the praise of many others) is enough to get you to check this game out some day. It was genuinely funny, clever, original, and even packs a great co-op. A bargain bin buy or a rental for sure.