As a long time fan of platformers, I was excited to see Kung Fu Rabbit making its way to the Wii U. For those of you who are unaware, the title began its life as a moderately successful mobile game, available on iOS and Android. The game feels like a G-rated homage to Super Meat Boy, so it felt like a perfect fit for Wii U. Now that it’s available, a few issues aside, it does offer an entertaining romp for those who like challenging platformers. If you’ve played Super Meat Boy and you prefer the crushing difficulty there, then you’re out of luck with Kung Fu Rabbit.
Each level of Kung Fu Rabbit is designed to take only minutes to complete, per its origins in the mobile realm. The first few levels are a walk in the park, as its introducing you to the mechanics of the game. Each level has three carrots placed in fairly obvious paths for you to collect, along with one golden carrot that acts the part of Meat Boy’s bandage collectible. The golden carrot is typically placed in hard to reach spots that will ensure your death, forcing you to start the level over.
A black goo covers the walls and floors that serves as the proverbial lava, since a single touch of the black stuff will start you over. Later on there are enemies made out of the same black goo with weak points you’ll have to target in order to take them down. This system is well and good for a mobile gamer, but until you get enough carrots unlocked to apply the Carrot Juice artifact to your rabbit, you’ll feel as though you’re slogging through the black goo all the time.
This painful slowness is only remedied by an artifact that can be permanently equipped, but as there are other artifacts available for purchase for enough carrots, it makes them practically useless. The developers should have foregone carrot juice in the Wii U version of the game and made its effects the rabbit’s default running speed so Wii U players could at least enjoy the other purchasable items without feeling bogged down.
Aside from artifacts that offer permanent effects once purchased, there are also single use items designed to give you an edge. It’s similar to what you’d find behind a mobile pay-wall game, instead of something that feels as though it belongs in a legitimate retail title. Users can pay their stars collected at the end of the level to buy extra lives, an enemy repellent, and other power-ups that feel as though they’re designed to give the frustrated mobile gamer an edge over the game itself.
The game features 80 levels, each divided up into three worlds of 20 levels each, with 20 additional bonus levels you can unlock by completing the rest of the game. The bonus levels are actually challenging and usually contain a gimmick that you’ll have to master in order to get through it, such as timing your jumps perfectly to get through an entire level of alternating and disappearing platforms. I found the bonus levels to be quite fun, while some of the normal levels were a complete slog to get through.
Players will need to unlock all 20 of the first levels in order to progress, unless you feel like spending your stars to unlock zones instead of power ups. Once again, instead of allowing a path of natural progression in the game, the developers have seen fit to keep the mobile instant gratification unlocks available and it truly hampers the experience.
Audio & Visuals
The graphical style of Kung Fu Rabbit is rather refreshing, as the levels you traverse are certainly Asian inspired. There are zen garden and dojo levels that make you feel right at home, with underground cave and pink garden levels tossed into the mix. There’s never any garish inclusions as everything looks as though it was hand-painted as you make your way through the levels. In fact, I found the aesthetics to be the most pleasing part of Kung Fu Rabbit, even when I became frustrated with the easy gameplay.
Audio is Asian-inspired as well, with tracks not changing too much between the levels. There’s nothing inherently bad that can be said about it, but there’s also nothing inherently good, either. You won’t walk away from playing the game with the music stuck in your head, but it’s also not so bad that you’ll want to turn it off immediately either.
Overall, Kung Fu Rabbit serves as a poor-man’s Super Meat Boy rather unremarkably. The same mechanics that make Super Meat Boy a wonderful diverse and instantly replayable game serve to make Kung Fu Rabbit mired down and something of a slog to get through. At no point did I want to return to previous levels, since most of the level design was instantly skippable with a well placed wall jump. Some of the later levels and bonus levels are worth the challenge if you’re really into platformers, so that’s something to take into consideration.
- Great looking graphics
- Later levels & bonus levels are a real challenge
- Unique outfits to dress your rabbit
- Supports Off-TV play
- Early 20 level zone is very boring
- Nearly all artifacts are rendered useless compared to carrot juice
- Menus don’t take proper advantage of screen space
- Now we know why Nintendo didn’t want to
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TAGS: kung fu rabbit, wii u eshop