“Warning: Continuous stroking, blowing and poking could lead to unwanted attention in public places.”
With Nintendo continuing to promote the fact that “touching is good,” it is Sega’s turn to conjure up self-gratification innuendos with their cute yet sensual new DS game, The Rub Rabbits! The Rub Rabbits is Sega’s sequel to Feel The Magic XX/XY, which was one of the only halfway interesting launch titles for the DS.
It’s hard to deny the influence of the WarioWare series on these games, as they both consist of a large collection of zany mini-games recognizable by their surreal art direction. But where Feel The Magic and The Rub Rabbits differ from Wario is that there’s an actual storyline tying the games together (albeit a very strange and disjointed story, but an amusing one nonetheless).
Once again, you are in pursuit of the girl of your dreams, who, like all the other characters in the game is nothing more than a dark silhouette wearing a dress (or eventually, an outfit of your choice). Each step of the way you must compete in daring challenges to win her heart, from keeping a flower near her nose without pricking her with thorns, to dodging sumo wrestlers on an escalator, to closing all the virus pop-up windows on her computer for her, to blowing blasts of wind to foil other suitors who are parachuting down to steal her from you.
The games just get more and more ridiculous, as does the story, which progresses through a series of cut scene panels in between each completed challenge.
I definitely like the fact that they tied all the mini-games into a Story mode; at the very least it gives you a bit more reason to keep playing, and makes it even more addictive. I also like that there are 3 save files for the story mode, something the WarioWare games don’t offer.
On the flip side, one of the minor annoyances is the series of five difficulty levels that you must complete for each mini-game before moving on. While none of the games are really all that difficult, some of them definitely overstay their welcome and cause a fair amount of frustration. Thankfully, you do have the option to skip one (and only one) game in Story mode if it becomes problematic.
Although the Story mode is fairly short (it features about 35 games, while Feel The Magic had only 25), there are a handful of bonus features and extra game modes that still make it a worthwhile purchase.
One cool thing is that once you pass certain mini-games, they are unlocked in Battle mode, allowing you to compete against up to 3 other opponents locally.
Other silly game modes include “Maniac”, which allows you to customize the appearance of your girl, “Hullabaloo.” a relay party game kind of like Twister using your DS, and “Baby Making.” allowing two people to work together in a cake cutting mini-game that determines your compatibility (and sperm count… just kidding). You can even then exchange your babies with friends and have them play together over a wireless connection.
With The Rub Rabbits, there is definitely a feeling that the game was thrown together rather quickly, but it has that “pick up and play” appeal that is sure to draw in casual and hardcore gamers alike. If you’re not yet getting sick of these wacky Japanese titles with quirky minimalist artwork, cute music and hilariously simple but addictive mini-games, The Rub Rabbits is definitely for you. (Just be mindful of who might be watching whenever you decide to do a little rubbing.)
The Rub Rabbits! is a rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes.
This review is also available at Space Junk.