“The Perfect Party Game.” The box quote for Rabbids Land promises quite a bit, but doesn’t come close to delivering on that promise. Playing similar to the Mario Party franchise, Rabbids Land involves rolling dice and moving characters across the single game board included in the game. Minigames allow two-players to go head-to-head against each other, but due to the fact minigames don’t play a significant role in the game, this party comes up short.
With up to four players taking control of brightly colored Rabbids, each one moves across the game board earning trophies through minigames and bonus power-up squares. Once a player collects the set amount of trophies – it defaults to 10 – the game is over. Along the way, you will be occasionally tossed into minigames against only one other player – one player uses the GamePad while the other uses a Wii Remote. The remaining two players can only sit back and watch until the minigame is over – thankfully the minigames only last a couple of minutes. If you are playing alone against the A.I., be prepared to not get picked for the minigames the majority of the time.
Unlike Mario Party where a random minigame is launched after everyone plays a turn, you will only be placed in a minigame when someone lands on the corresponding square on the game board – leading to minigames being something of a rarity. Although unlikely, it is possible to play through an entire match, only playing one or two minigames. I’ve had matches where the only minigame I took part in was the same one. The minigames are themed, including one Indiana Jones inspired minigame involving that appears way too often. There are no game options or customization to change the experience from game to game, so experiencing the 20+ different minigames may take some time, as minigames have the tendency to repeat quite often.
The quality of the minigames is disparaging with the majority of them becoming tiring after the first couple times they are played. The rhythm based ones however contain more redeeming factors – think Retro/Grade meets Rock Band. The aforementioned Indiana Jones rolling game, utilizes gyroscope controls of the GamePad to keep Indiana Rabbid away from the giant boulder that is moved around by the other player. Playing against the A.I., not once have the roles been reversed where I was controlling the boulder.
Besides the minigame squares, the rest of the board is filled with various power-up squares, that provide extra dice rolls, trivia questions and even a jackpot square that can give or take trophies away from you. For what is supposed to be unpredictable and random game, all evidence points to the A.I. always having the advantage over the player, with dice rolls never going in your favor or jackpot squares that will steal your trophies more times than they give them. Nearing the end of one game, my last four consecutive dice rolls were as follows: 1, 2, 1, 1. Its possible that I just hit an unlucky streak, but when I was only six spaces away from winning the game, things do start to appear that the game is stopping you from winning.
Party games are best played with others joining in on the fun, but Rabbids Land falls short on being fun and being much of party. The poor implementation of multiplayer sees half of the players excluded from the minigames, which in my mind is inexcusable. The quality and quantity of the minigames pale in comparision to the offerings on the Nintendo 64. This is one party that you shouldn’t plan to RSVP to anytime soon.Note: Rabbids Land was reviewed on Wii U. A physical copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.