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.Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Brad Gallaway

Brad Gallaway

Brad Gallaway has been gaming since the days when arcades were everywhere and the Atari 2600 was cutting edge. So, like... A while.

Currently, he's got about 42 minutes a night to play because adulting is a timesuck, but despite that, he's a happily married guy with two kids who both have better K/D ratios than he does.

Brad still loves Transformers, he's on Marvel Puzzle Quest when nobody at the office is looking, and his favorite game of all time is the first Mass Effect -- and he thought the trilogy's ending was Just Fine, Thanks.

Follow Brad on Twitter at @BradGallaway
Brad Gallaway

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