If you’re going to suffix your game with “Land” and launch it at the same time as Nintendo’s excellent selection of minigames, NintendoLand, you’d best bring your “A Game.” Unfortunately for the persistently charming, mischievous Rabbids, Rabbids Land finds itself significantly lower down in the alphabet.
If you’re a party game connoisseur, then the Rabbids, those zany Rabbids should need no introduction; after all, they’ve brought their particular brand of mayhem to just about every gaming platform imaginable. This new one doesn’t stray too far from the established ideals and formulae set by previous games; it’s really just an excuse to gather non-gamers together to play out a digital board-game, tied together by unrelated mini-games. Much like Mario Party, only without the fun.
This time, we see the Rabbids invading a theme park, presenting a perfect opportunity to create minigames based on the setting – only so few of them do; instead you’re presented with a random assortment of activities that don’t really seem to fit anywhere. It’s a loose collection of ideas, as if the developers first came up with gimmicky ways to use the tablet-styled GamePad, cobbled them together and had to scramble to find a suitable setting in which to place them all. The problem is, very few of those minigames are any fun.
Up to four players take turns rolling a virtual die, moving their characters around a static, straightforward and largely uninteresting virtual board. The goal is to progress around the board and collect a winning number of trophies, and make it to the centre of the board to win. You can win these trophies in various bland mini-games or steal them from your opponents on the game board.
I’m perhaps being a tad negative. while the minigames aren’t particularly engaging, there are some clever uses of the GamePad and the asymmetrical gameplay it offers, usually with one player staring at the pad using range of inputs it offers, against another, focused on the TV screen using a Wiimote. There’s a cheap thrill in being the player who gets to use the GamePad, tilting, blowing, tapping or drawing away at its little screen, while the other waggles a Wiimote about. and that exposes the game’s biggest problem. As far as party games go, Rabbids Land is a veritable dud.
Here’s why: up to four people can play, but the mini-games themselves are largely one-on-one, with the participants selected randomly. This leaves the other two players spending most of their twiddling their thumbs and waiting their turns. Everybody does get a turn to play, but watching other people playing just isn’t fun at all.
There are a few extraneous modes beyond the main game, like a treasure hunt that sees you collecting coins within the minigames, but they’re just an excuse to unlock the only genuinely entertaining part of the whole package; short video skits of the Rabbids doing incredibly silly things.
It’s a poor showing for the Rabbids, and they deserve better than this. This is exactly the sort of uninspired, insipid and entirely disposable shovelware nonsense that plagued the Wii. If you’re a Wii U owner looking for some mini-game action, rather grab NintendoLand.