It seems that mini-game collections and party games in general are destined to launch with every Nintendo console going forward. It also appears that at least one of them will star Ubisoft’s wacky bunnies from space known as the Rabbids. Rabbids Land is the latest in this trend, and with the words “Perfect Party Game” plastered on the box, expectations were kept in check. I can safely say Rabbids Land didn’t disappoint. This is one game that defines the types of stuff we were hoping to avoid with the Wii U: collections of mini-games that, when segregated, simply aren’t that fun.
I will admit that I was intrigued when I first booted up the game. Instead of most drivel collections, this one was set up similarly to one of my all-time favorite N64 titles, Mario Party. This was of course before Nintendo beat that franchise into a bloody pulp with sequels. Alas, Rabbids Land takes on the familiar board game structure allowing four players to work towards collecting trophies and reaching the center of the board. Users set the goal number of trophies (either 10 or 20) and you roll dice using the Gamepad. So far, it’s not so offensive.
The game is designed for four players, and there are various types of squares on the game board. Game squares are where mini-games are played. Quiz squares ask trivia questions. Trap squares actually take away player trophies, and prize squares alter the game board, giving you various powers that can be used to your advantage. Again, so far so good.
Playing with friends would seem like the ideal setup, but this is where Rabbids Land starts to fall apart. When you land on a game square, it selects a random person to play against, the other two players simply wait and watch. As you move around the board, every other player waits and watches. In fact you spend the majority of your time in Rabbids Land waiting and watching. For a game designed for parties, it turns out to be one boring shindig. If you even begin to consider playing it alone, you might as well just turn off the console. Playing solo is painful as the AI consistently just walks all over you most matches while you get to wait and watch.
Now I could forgive the weird decision to only include two players at once in most games, if the games themselves were remotely interesting. Yes, Rabbids Land makes use of almost every gimmick the Wii U offers, but that doesn’t always equate to enjoyment. Blowing into the microphone to steer exploding penguins at players sounds fun, but truly isn’t. In fact there are very few mini-games here that are enjoyable, and that is a problem. You either spend time sitting and waiting, or engaging in some mind-numbing mini-games with only one other player; it all sounds like lose/lose to me.
The humor of the Rabbids games is still here, and truly the highlight. You can unlock mini-games for replay, which in turn unlocks some hilarious bonus movies. Unfortunately, that means forcing yourself to return to these frustrating party games over and over again. The payoff simply isn’t worth it.
It is nigh impossible for me to recommend Rabbids Land to anyone who bought a Wii U. The collection of games ranges from mildly enjoyable, to downright mind-numbing. The fact that four players are supported and only two can play at a time is boggling, and trying to fly solo is comparable to watching paint dry. I love Rabbids. Their humor is undeniable, but there is nothing funny about sitting and waiting to play a mediocre mini-game, only to have to do it again ten minutes later.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.