Hands-on with extraterrestrial physics-puzzler Rabbids Big Bang
By Peter Willington 11 September 2013
Game Name: Rabbids Big Bang | Publisher: Ubisoft | Format: Android, iPhone, iPad | Genre: Puzzle
Here's the essential one-sentence rundown of Rabbids Big Bang: you smash crazy rabbits into the orbits of different planets to complete objectives and earn money for upgrades.
It's a simple concept for a simple game.
And this iOS and Android game is a highly focused single-player puzzler, rather than the family-friendly multiplayer party experiences of the other Rabbids titles.
In Rabbids Big Bang, Ubisoft does retain the series's trademark (and divisive) wacky humour, mind.
And in narrowing its scope and attempting to perfect a specific type of deeper game - as opposed to many smaller, more lightweight games - the team behind it is creating something that's shaping up to be a fairly solid if ultimately unremarkable physics-based puzzler.
Houston, we have a problem
Your space-faring rabbid team of two begins its journey on the surface of a planet, and you choose which direction to strike the "lucky" astronaut with a baseball bat.
You hit it so hard that it enters the upper atmosphere of the planetary body it inhabits, at which point gravity takes over and begins dragging it towards the ground.
Handily, you have a jet pack for boosting your rabbid farther, altering its trajectory. You only have a limited amount of fuel, though, so you'll need to think carefully about when to boost hard and when to lay off and let physics do its thing.
If you pick up small green blobs in their air, you'll be rewarded with more fuel. You can grab coins along the way to purchase upgrades for your equipment and to buy one-off power-ups. The upgrades seem worthwhile during the early stages of the game I dabbled with in this hands-on.
There are 150-odd levels in Rabbids Big Bang. And judging by the 20 or so I played, there's a good deal of variety here. In the game, you are required to loop planets a couple of times, or pick up specific objects, or reach a certain speed, and so on.
It's this element of experimentation within the basic formula that most impresses me, though it's hardly stellar (if you'll excuse the pun).
Here's the thing, though: rabbids are so bloody annoying. You know it, I know it. I'm not sure who actually likes these crazed critters.
The incessant screaming for no reason. Their use of a toilet brush as a toothbrush. It's lowest common denominator humour. Little kids might like the rabbids, but I think that grown-ups find them tedious. Or maybe that's just me.
Whatever. The point is that whenever I came to the end of a successful level run, gaining all three stars, I didn't think that the reward for doing so should be a claymation rabbit screaming out the speakers of an iPad and a small amount of currency. It certainly didn't make me want to repeat my successes. And it certainly didn't seem commensurate with my effort.
Rabbids Big Bang will surface on the App Store in autumn 2013. If you're a puzzle fan, or you liked Angry Birds Space, you'll want to check it out. Just don't bother bringing your headphones for this journey into space.