Review: Kung Fu Rabbit

Fists of fury this ain’t.

By Katharine Byrne. Posted 04/29/2013 10:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
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Basic port of the iOS/Android version, uninspired level design, irritating sound effects.

Kung fu masters can never catch a break, can they? One minute they’re a awesome martial arts superstar with hundreds of adoring fans, the next they’re left abandoned and alone after everyone’s been abducted by a black blob known simply as Universal Evil who happens to be craving a baby rabbit sandwich. Naturally, it’s up to our titular cottontail hero to go out and save his legions of hapless disciples from being turned into rabbit jerky, but not before hopping through a series of one-note levels and scoffing a mouthful of carrots along the way. Why the Ultimate Evil didn’t just stick them in a stew and have done with it is anyone’s guess.

What follows is a platforming game at its most basic level. Oil is apparently a rabbit’s most natural enemy in this strange world, and it clings to various surfaces like sodden clumps of sawdust to deliver a one-hit kill if you happen to touch it. Only one other type of enemy poses any threat to our bouncing hero and these are trident-bearing devil-blob minions who can also send you straight back to the start if you don’t “hit” (i.e.: walk into) their one weak spot on their back. You can purchase an upgrade to let you jump on their heads, but it hardly delivers the same satisfaction as a well-timed Goomba pounding.

It’s not just enemies that Kung Fu Rabbit is lacking, though, as ideas are also short on the ground. It does little to explore platforming concepts that haven’t already been done better by games like Super Mario Bros. and Super Meat Boy, and levels are short, tedious and sometimes downright frustrating. Death comes thick and fast, but most of the time it’s due to cheap tricks like not being able to see what’s coming or having an enemy turn and stab you in the face at the last minute.

Our floppy-eared warrior also has a rather bizarre spring in his step. Instead of leaping smoothly from one platform to another (as you might expect from a kung fu master), he lurches and surges through the air like a drunken samurai. Not only does this disrupt the natural rhythm of the game, but it also makes placing and correcting your jumps that much harder.

Even worse is the lingering presence of its micro-transaction past as an iOS and Android game. While the Wii U version doesn’t make you buy anything with actual currency, its in-game carrot currency serves as a poor mechanism for extending its overall play time. It quite literally asks players to replay each level multiple times to earn themselves enough carrots to buy various trinkets and power-ups, and it even puts checkpoints on sale so you don’t have to repeat the level from the very beginning if you die.

Of course, you could simply ignore this plea from the developers, but then you’d be finished with the game in little more than a few hours. Instead, it would have been a much better use of everyone’s time if they’d made more use of the secret bonus levels that are gradually unlocked throughout the game. Here, there are no carrots to collect whatsoever; they’re simply quick-fire challenges that demand players get to the end of the level and rescue yet another unfortunate pupil. That’s it. They’re not particularly difficult either, and as a result feel rather throwaway. Had these levels been a true test of the player’s platforming ability by asking them to retrieve hard-to-reach carrots, however, then Kung Fu Rabbit might have had a little more staying power.

Ultimately, Kung Fu Rabbit just doesn’t cut it in a world where it sits alongside true platforming masters like Trine 2: Director’s Cut and Bit.Trip Presents: Runner 2. It’s cheap, yes, but unless you fancy chewing the cud as a carrot cash-cow, we’d recommend saving your pennies for another day.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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