Thursday, February 9, 2006

The Rub Rabbits! review

The Rub Rabbits! (Where do Babies Come From in Japan) is the sequel to the successful and addictive Project Rub (Feel the Magic XY/XX in the states, I Would Die For You in Japan) and was just released in Europe yesterday. Like the original game, it features numerous mini games that were highly amusing. Both games were developed by the legendary Sonic Team (the in-house SEGA developing team who created Sonic).

While Project Rub had its moment, the newly launched Warioware Touched!, with its even more crazy ideas of furious session of mini games, stole quite some of its thunder. Sonic Team responded by expanding the original concept and included tons of additional games as well as a host of new gameplay. The premise remains the same. You play a guy who falls in love with a babe and your task is to guide him through the 35 episodes in order to win the gal.

Rub it!

However this time you will have more than one rival. As a college boy, you pass her one day on the street. But you are not the only one who falls for her. There are 11 other rivals this time round. According to the Sega handbook, this triggered a rather bizarre "Love Triskaidecagon". Your objective remains the same as always - to WIN HER HEART!

The gameplay involves the unique usage of the DS many input system and is similar to Project Rub. I remember shouting at my DS when told to do so, or blow on the screen in order to get my boat past the shark and rescue the girl. In fact early on The Rub Rabbits! you are required to use your touch screen to guide your blowgun at the rivals gliding down and to 'blow' them off course. This isn't a game to be played in public as the introduction warning put so blatantly.

Love it!

The games are divided into three types of situation. Typically there are the 'Love Battles' where you and your rivals battle it out on the screen. Then there are the 'Boss Battles' where you are required to protect the girl. And finally the 'Love Scenes' is where you finally have the chance to start getting close on her.

There is a party game called Hullabaloo where you can use your DS as a baton. This should prove a winner in any drunken party where you wish actual physical harm on your portable machine. The Maniac menu has been improved tons of times over the original. Here you can change your gal's hairstyle, outfit, shoes and accessories. You can also design patterns for her outfit. 'Love points' collected will also determine how you can change her appearance. Many of the options are not available from the instance and you have to unlock them as your progress through your courting.


A new feature that explains the reason for the Japanese title (Where do Babies Come From) is a baby making utility. This requires you and your partner to enter some data and then to go through a wedding cake ceremony where the two of you have to co-operate by cutting the cake nicely. It is pretty difficult and our first attempt was a disaster. Check out the picture below for the outcome of our baby making attempt:

The big hurrah in this new version is the inclusion of multiplayer mode. Like many DS games there is a single-card play where all you need is a DS system for each player and only one Rub Rabbits! game card. In this mode you can battle other local players via ad-hoc WiFi. The multi-card mode is a little sober but equally unique. Like Nintendogs and Animal Crossing: Wild World this is the tagging mode. When in this mode your DS goes to sleep (standby) while constantly searching for other Rub Rabbits! users. Once it locates another user it will allow your baby to play with their babies at the park. You can also trade design patterns through this mode. Needless to say, apart from Japan, I doubt this mode will prove very popular. And unlike Nintendogs, you can't unlock any hidden gems that might exist in the game.

Break time...

The graphic has noticeably improved but still uses the minimalist silhouette look that was so popular with the first game. Nothing to complain here. The music is similar to those popular retro style hits on Project Rub. I haven't completed the game but I am sure once you do so you can unlock a section where you can select and listen to the music at your own pleasure. I didn't like what they did to the 'Break time' voiceover though. The classic Project Rub sensuous voiceover was far sexier.

Also unlike the original game, you are allowed to create three different save files, allowing you to share the cart among your friends, and if you will, your wife or girlfriend. Excellent.

Anyway this is a highly recommended game that I urge you to try out. Sonic Team is on a roll here when it comes to developing DS games. If you have any concerns on the game you can always pick up the original but limited Project Rub for as little as a tenner (new) and give it a go. If you happen to celebrate Valentine's Day (I pity you) then this is the perfect gift for your guy.


Buy now from Play-Asia or Amazon UK

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