Ubisoft's Joel Gaudeul takes us on a tour of Rabbids Land.
This past Thursday, Ubisoft was kind enough to invite us down to
their Holiday Showcase event for a more intimate hands-on with their upcoming
Wii U offerings in New York. Let’s face it, the opportunities that
publishers and developers provide us with at an event like E3 to check
out their games are marred by the noise and crowds of these events,
which is why we chose to take this opportunity to just sit down and
play…(and maybe a little bit of screen capturing went down. ;)
Both Jared and I had a chance to check out Rabbids Land and I decided it would be nice to give the fans our side by side impressions on it. So strap in and take a little textual/visual trip with us while we feed you what you should know about these games!
The first game room at the Ubisoft event that I stopped in was designated to Rabbids Land. Before entering, I had very low expectations as there hasn’t been much hype behind this little talked about title. Joel Gaudeul, one of Ubisoft’s International Brand Managers gave me a quick rundown of the game. For those of you who don’t know, Rabbids Land is an amusement park filled with Rabbid-centric mini-games that are geared towards a multiplayer experience, similar in ilk to Nintendo Land. While Joel Gaudeul stated that the game will feature 20 attractions, I was only shown four and I’m still not sure if this means 20 full-fledged mini-games or if that is including much shorter side games.
Aaron Kaluszka wrote a great piece on Rabbids Land as well which focused on gameplay and some of the mini-games he played that you can check out here. I will be focusing on some of the things he didn’t cover. On top of the two mini-games Aaron went over in detail, I took a special look at two others, the first of them being the roller coaster game briefly mentioned in Aaron’s impressions. This mini-game strongly resembled a PC game by the name of Audio Surf, for those of you not familiar with Audio Surf you can check out the image below for an idea of how it looks. Audio Surf uses music beats to determine where walls that you have to dodge, pop up. Instead of the music beat creating walls to dodge, a player using the Wii Remote creates these walls of fire by playing a motion-based Guitar Hero-like game. While all of this is going on, it is the player using the Wii U GamePad’s sole objective to ride the rails to the end of the track while dodging the aforementioned fire walls created by the other player. The GamePad is used as a steering wheel in similar fashion to how the Wii Remote can be used in Mario Kart Wii. Long story short, this game was very fun, between the trash talking and the fun gameplay. I guess the question remains to be, will the rest of the collection be up to par?
The other game that I got to check out was a bit of an ongoing project so I can’t go over it in detail and we weren’t able to get any direct feed or off-screen footage of it so I’ll try to give you guys a quick overview. This attraction called "The Gift of Taking" is pretty simple in theory; the person with the Wii Remote plays as a security guard whose job it is to use on screen surveillance cameras to catch the Rabbid thieves. If the Rabbid thieves are on camera for too long, then the security guard can fry them using a laser beam controlled with the Wii Remote's IR. Rabbid thieves in turn are controlled by the player with the Wii U GamePad. I didn’t get a run with the Wii Remote, but I did get a chance to play with the GamePad. Players on the GamePad use the controller’s stylus to move Rabbids around the store in a top-down view, all while trying to steal highlighted merchandise and avoid cameras. The cameras are represented by a field of view cone traditionally used with top-down views, and the cones alternate color denoting whether your Rabbids can be seen or not. Gameplay seemed pretty solid for something still in development. To move your Rabbids around, you touch and drag them to an area of the store you want them to go to that creates a path they then follow. This system enables you to queue up paths for your Rabbids, which feels great when you pull it off correctly. You can also use this system to scramble all of you Rabbits to confuse your opponent while using one Rabbit to go for the unwatched merchandise.
After being shown four awesome games, I was left wanting for more. At this point, Rabbids Land was proven to be a contender when it comes to party games, and if the rest of the games are as good as the ones I played, then Ubisoft has a winner in my book. Text could never do this or any of the other mini-games justice, it’s when you sit down with a few friends all hell bent on winning, then you’ll start to see this game at its finest. Until then check out the video we captured from the event below for an inside look.
Rabbids Lands looks to be a showcase for asymmetrical gameplay on the Wii U. All of the attractions (mini-games) that we saw were a lot of fun and had really unique uses of the Wii U GamePad. I particularly enjoyed the maze mini-game, which features art direction clearly inspired by the Indiana Jones films. In this competitive two-player game, one player controls the fedora-wearing Rabbids, while the other wields a giant boulder and must attempt to squish the Rabbids before they can collect a certain number of diamonds. The Rabbids are controlled by the player with the Wii U GamePad, and the boulder is controlled by the person with the Wii Remote Plus. For both players, they must tilt their controllers in all directions, to move around the maze.
To get a good sense of the different attractions, I strongly suggest watching our Rabbids Land video below.