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Rabbids Travel in Time 3D - 3DS Review

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Rabbids Travel in Time 3D

3DS | Ubisoft | 1 Player | Out Now
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6th June 2011; By KnucklesSonic8

To see the Rabbids IP come this far along has been very encouraging to see. Now they've become recognizable enough that they can drop the "Rayman" part entirely, which is a feat in itself. Seeing them "Bwaaaaaaahhh" all the way to the 3DS has been far from surprising, as their latest platformer definitely serves a need -- albeit, a small one in retrospect -- within the early launch window. But the overall experience didn't sit well with me. What's most upsetting is the fact that the game is clearly missing some of the outspoken humor that existed in previous titles. Take that away, and you're left with an IP that has somewhat lost its sense of identity, and a game that just isn't very memorable.

    The story starts off with the Rabbids exploring a quiet museum environment when all of a sudden, a time-travelling washing machine appears. One of the Rabbids steps in -- or, more accurately, gets thrown in -- after a brief push-and-shove with his giddy pals, and off he goes on a history-bending adventure. The introductory sequence feels kind of dry in the way it tries to pull players in from the very beginning, and sadly, the storyline never ends up standing up on its own. Ubisoft's method of linking everything together lacks substance, and by the end of it all, you really have to question whether or not the over-simplified plot is appropriate for an IP that has already demonstrated it can do so much more.

Via the Main Menu, you can choose from one of four different options. You can either start or continue a new game, head to the Gallery mode to look at some extra unlockables, visit the museum's Fitting Room to try on new costumes, or choose Options for sound and language settings. The adventure starts you off in the Prehistoric era, where dinosaurs roamed the Earth and, apparently, Rabbids ran amock. Over the course of your journey, you'll also head to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece & Rome and The Middle Ages. Each era contains a good helping of standard and bonus levels to complete, with well over 50 individual stages in total. 

    The controls are very accessible, and I can't see the average player getting confused over the way they've been mapped. You use the Circle Pad or the +Control Pad to move your Rabbid left and right on the two-dimensional plane, and press A to jump. He can also do a ground pound by pressing Down which is useful for breaking crates. As far as offense goes, pressing the X Button will get the Rabbid to perform a quick thwack whether on the ground or in mid-air. Also, by holding the R Button, your Rabbid will run about instead of walking at a brisk pace. Beyond the obvious benefits, pressing the X Button while running will perform a tumble move that can dash right through larger containers. Gameplay takes place on the top screen of the handheld, sporting a HUD that's well-maintained if only for the fact that it's not distracting even with the 3D function enabled. The Touch Screen is where you'll see how many enemy Rabbids you've defeated, as well as a rough map that shows how close you are to upcoming checkpoints. Nothing out of the ordinary.

In each level, you'll come across a plethora of pick-ups in the form of yellow coins and rubber ducks. Retrieving 1000 collectables will award you with an extra life, as will any Rabbid icons you find floating around. Your health meter is represented by rolls of pink toilet paper, while golden rolls will supply you with additional life bar increments. Yeah, just stop and think about that for a second. Seriously, what is with them and their obsession with toiletries and bath toys?

    From time to time, you'll come across one of two power-ups that grant you a new ability for a short period of time. The golden armor will give you temporary Invincibility, while the propeller hat will give your Rabbid the 'Wonder-Jump' which increase your jump height significantly. When I first saw my Rabbid wear the golden armor, I thought it was weird because at the time, I was still in the Prehistoric era. I think it would have been more appropriate to have this power-up tailored to each era, or if they wanted to go for consistency, just a golden aura would have worked fine too. 

    I did appreciate the sense of variety that existed with the different enemies you encountered. You have Rabbids swinging on vines, kicking eggs, playing with beakers and more. Plus, each of them are dressed in outfits that are representative of the era you're in. Some of them will even drop costume parts once they're defeated, and you can equip these on your own character by heading to the Fitting Room. Anytime you encounter a new enemy, a brief cutscene will roll showing your Rabbid interacting with these new strangers but I always found these really lame.

The platforming elements in this game are explored fairly well, I'd say. You have moving platforms that travel along white lines (sound familiar?), teeter-totters, trampolines, slopes, and weight-sensitive platforms. There's a lot of acrobatics in this game in the way of sliding down slopes to jump across gaps or bouncing off of multiple trampolines facing each other like a pinball machine. These were kind of fun to see. 

    In the way of gimmicky threats, you of course have those oh-so-typical stages where the camera is constantly moving and you're trying not to get left behind. However, there were also some more ambitious "events", as I like to call them. In one level, a dinosaur chases you in the background while you're running at full speed, and you basically run to the end of the level, then head back, then head down another path to safety. At another point in the game, you'll be running from a swarm of bees, but this wasn't nearly as well-executed. You only ever see the bees when they're blocking a path in front of you, so it didn't feel like the threat was real.

    To be frank, almost everything here is stuff you've surely seen before in some form. Once in a while, you'll get stopped in your tracks, like when you need to stack beach balls to form a small tower, or use crates as something to jump off of whilst in mid-air. Otherwise, much of your time in this game is spent breezing through platforming obstacles that really don't hold much weight in terms of difficulty, which definitely makes you feel less in touch with everything that takes place on-screen. 

Speaking of difficulty, Rabbids Travel in Time 3D can definitely be described as an easy game. You don't lose lives often unless you're rushing to beat a timer, and even then, there are usually more than enough checkpoints and extra lives to go around. There's very little challenge to be had here, and when you couple this with the other qualities I just mentioned, this focus ultimately alienates older gamers. After seeing the game to completion, it wasn't difficult for me to identify this game as being more kid-oriented in design.

    So, you ask, how does the 3D element hold up? Well, let me just say that if you're getting this game for the 3D component, you definitely need to re-think that. This game can easily be played without the 3D aspect and you really won't be missing out on a whole lot if you choose not to use it. It doesn't add a great deal to the game at all, and the few good uses of it felt a bit gimmicky. Like when a scarab beetle or a large bee randomly flies in and sticks to the screen. Otherwise, the 3D uses are really subtle and not worth getting the game for.

    Frankly, I found myself getting bored with the game at times, especially at the start of the game. When things started to get mixed up more, it became more enjoyable but not to the point where I was genuinely pleased with the experience. And I think some my feelings toward the quality of the experience can be linked back to the use of humour. Honestly, it's not used effectively as in games past; at best, it's only mildly amusing but never genuinely funny. Going back to those enemy cutscenes I mentioned earlier, the developers tried to include some humour here but I struggled to see it in a positive light. Once again, this is just more tailored to younger audiences and while the humour might have drawn in older gamers in Rayman Raving Rabbids, it definitely doesn't work nearly as well this time around. 

Another big thing that didn't settle with me was this promise of "changing the course of history". This was met with weak delivery if you ask me. After completing the last level in an era, cutscenes would show a brief transformation of one key landmark from the given time period getting "Rabbid-ized". But it would have been a lot better to see this occur within the in-game levels. Some stages contained blue energy spheres that would unlock special Time Warp levels where traps from another era would be mixed in with the elements from the current era. These were decent ideas, but I really felt there was some missed potential with their execution of the time travel aspect.

    Getting through the game in its entirety took me more than 5 hours, and that's without going for all the extras. Most levels give you the opportunity to replay through them a second time but with additional goals. These include racing to meet a time requirement, defeating all Rabbids, destroying all crates, retrieving all collectables, and never losing a life. These goals do, in fact, make the game more replayable, but if you're doing it just to earn rewards, you may be disappointed with your prize. Unlockables take the form of pictures and animated figurines -- neither of which are anything special to look at -- so the only reason for doing them is for total completion.

As far as visuals go, the game does a pretty good job of making gameplay look appealing. I appreciated the way that even within the same era, there's still a small sense of variety in the different environments you travelled to. The music is average affair and I didn't really see anything to complain about, but it was a bit disappointing to see there weren't any tracks that got me in more of a mood to play the game.

    Rabbids Travel in Time 3D is decent for what it is, but it's hardly a memorable experience. I have no doubt that kids will especially have a good time with this game, but it's too bad the game's focus hasn't catered to older gamers very well. The element of humor isn't used effectively, they missed the mark with the time travel aspect, and the gameplay is run-of-the-mill. If you're a parent, I'd definitely consider picking this up for your kids once it hits the $30 mark, especially if they've been prohibited from playing games in 3D. For anyone older who is looking for a fun experience, I would hesitate to recommend this game to you. 

19/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 6/10 - Generic platforming elements, accessible controls, amusing pick-ups, weak delivery of the history-changing time travel aspect
Presentation 7/10 - Appealing visuals and screen layout, some variety explored with the environments, decent audio, subtle use of 3D, lame enemy intros
Enjoyment 2/5 - Not very enjoyable unless you're a younger gamer, disappointing use of humour has lead to a loss of identity, notable lack of challenge
Extra Content 4/5 - Additional missions create some replay value, costumes, unlockables are not really worth striving for, not a bad buy when it hits $30

Equivalent to a score of 63% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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Rabbids Travel in Time 3D
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