Game Description: The Rub Rabbits! is a sequel of sorts to the popular DS game, Feel The Magic. Just like in the last one, you'll be challenged to get the attention of your dream girl. There are all-new games and obstacles to face and you try to catch her eye: Toss "love disks" at her, serenade her on the piano, unicycle on a rooftop, and beat the rivals for her attention. Just make sure the girl who wants YOU doesn't screw up your plans!
The Rub Rabbits! from Sega is the sequel to 2004's Feel the Magic: XY/XX. At the time, Magic was the most creative example of integrating the variety of ways the Nintendo DS's hardware could function. Although it was short and a little unbalanced, Magic had striking visuals and a truly bizarre sensibility. The Rub Rabbits! carries on the traditions faithfully and provides more of the same.
Telling a cute and timeless love story of boy meets girl, boy meets other girl, boy chases first girl while second girl interferes using giant robots, The Rub Rabbits! definitely has a flair for absurdist narrative. The developers retained the distinct black-silhouette character design from XY/XX that I was a big fan of, and from a visual perspective, everything is very bright and stylish.
In terms of gameplay, the basic premise is exactly the same as it was the first time around—minigames, minigames, minigames. From the more sedate events like holding a rose close to your beloved's face, to the frenetic ones like trying to bury some of your friends under snow before a hungry bear gets them, variety is Rabbits's strong point. I was always quite curious to see what the developers would come up with next, and I'm happy to report that very few of the events are repeated.
It's worth noting that the difficulty spikes from the previous iteration have been (mostly) ironed out. The potential for frustration is still there (I hated the coconut crabs and keeping my friends awake), but it's a more pleasant and manageable experience. Just be careful where you are when you start playing, and be aware of who's around—some of the events ask that the DS be held sideways or upside down, and many require a lot of tapping or blowing. One game in particular required a very vigorous side-to-side motion with the stylus… I was in bed and trying to finish the level quietly so as not to wake up my wife, but I wasn't too successful. Let's just say that she thought I was leaving her out of some festivities until I turned the DS and showed her that I had both hands above the sheets.
Although there are some extra modes that let you replay some games to improve your high score and a "dress-up" option that lets you give fashion advice to the female model, none of it is very compelling. Once the main game is completed, there's not much replay and the only wireless options are for local-area.
It's fun to dash up an escalator while avoiding stomping sumos or to roll like a log when tied up and left captive on the floor, but The Rub Rabbits! is really just a standard sequel that doesn't go much further than the first game went. That's not to say that it won't provide a few diverting hours of stylus-rubbing and microphone-blowing, but don't expect anything but a standard "part two" effort without a lot of meat to it.
According to the ESRB, this game contains: Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes
Parents shouldn't be too concerned about the violence in this game. Most of the things that qualify are totally absurd like shooting blow darts at romantic rivals falling from the sky, or throwing snowballs at your girlfriend. There's absolutely no blood or gore at all, and if memory serves I don't think there was even a single gun in the entire game. However, there are definitely some non-explicit themes and innuendo present. Although all the characters in the game are black silhouettes without any detail, some of the poses and actions are fairly suggestive. Some of the voice samples may raise an eyebrow or two, also.
Fans of XY/XX will want to pick the game up, it's got the same crazy story and snappy visuals, but this time there are approximately twice the number of minigames and the difficulty overall is more balanced. It doesn't cover any new territory, but it's well done if you like the formula.
DS players in general may want to wait for the game to drop in price or pick up a used copy. The playtime is very short, and the game can be completed in just a day or two. Also, be aware that it's nothing but minigames from start to finish, so players hankering for something a little meatier might want to put their dollars elsewhere.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing gamers won't have any problems for the most part, however there is one specific minigame that I could imagine being very difficult complete without being able to hear the auditory cues given by the in-game girlfriend. There is a visual cue to use in this situation, but it's a lot easier to listen for the sound. Besides that one example, there were no other situations that required hearing, and all the dialogue was presented through subtitles.