Kung Fu Rabbit can be summed up perfectly in one word: simple. From beginning to end, KFR is a simple game. But that’s okay. Kung Fu Rabbit understands that there’s joy in simplicity, that fun doesn’t necessarily come from overly complex mechanics and systems. It understands that - sometimes - all you need is one rabbit on a quest to save his friends.
First off, it’s important to note that Kung Fu Rabbit is a port of a highly rated and fun Android game. One of the reasons that it’s so simple is that it was originally designed for touch screen controls. Luckily, the controls map well to a controller (either Gamepad, Wii remote, or Pro Controller) and there have been a few small changes to better adapt the mobile game to the big screen.
Kung Fu Rabbit is a game that uses only two buttons. Everything you need to conquer the game’s four worlds and save the rabbit’s kung fu pupils can be accomplished with the D-Pad, a jump button, and an action button. That’s really all there is to it - platforming at its purest form. However, KFR keeps two more tricks up its sleeve. The rabbit can cling to and slowly slide down walls, allowing him to jump back up and effectively climb walls (think Mega Man X), and he can also defeat enemies by touching them on their glowing weak spot.
The goal is to reach the end of every level by jumping on platforms and avoiding obstacles, all the while collecting carrots. Levels are generally quite short and can be beaten within a minute or two. There are no lives, and Kung Fu Rabbit clearly takes cues from Super Meat Boy in how deaths are frequent and respawns are instantaneous. Getting to the end of the level is usually the easy part; it’s capturing all the carrots in each level that proves to be the real challenge. Unfortunately, there’s no real reason to get every carrot (there are four per level). While carrots are used to unlock items, the game doesn’t actually keep track of which ones have been collected, and you can go back to recollect them at any time to add to your total. A much better alternative would have been to mark off which carrots have been collected in every level.
At 80 levels spread across four worlds (including a final world that is unlocked as you play), the game will last you a good three to four hours, even if the individual levels are over quickly. This includes the time it will take you to accustom yourself to the controls. Jumping in Kung Fu Rabbit is very floaty, with the rabbit staying in the air for a long time and always running at top speed. This means that movement has a different feel than most other platformers and makes the rabbit incredibly agile. This is something you get used to after a few levels and will allow you to go back and blaze through previously completed levels, sometimes in a matter of seconds. KFR is much faster than other platformers, and while the lack of actual kung fu may be a little disappointing at first, it quickly becomes apparent that enemies are just another type of obstacle and the simple (there’s that word again) way in which they’re dispatched actually adds to the game.
The difficulty ramps up at an even pace. While at the beginning of the game you can complete levels with your eyes closed, it becomes increasingly difficult until you’ll be spending multiple lives to get to the end. If this isn’t enough, after beating the first three worlds you’ll be awarded with unlockable remixes of them. These remixed worlds can be brutally hard (but fair) and will demand that you’ve mastered the controls and have lightning quick reflexes and will easily double the game’s length. It’s during these levels especially that you will be glad to have a controller in your hands. At times, the original touch screen controls wouldn’t be accurate enough and would cause the rabbit to fall to his death a few too many times, so the improved accuracy of physical buttons is appreciated. As mentioned above, there are power-ups that are purchasable with your carrots (either single use or permanent) that can make levels easier (for example, they can let you descend slower while clinging to walls or allowing you to take an extra hit) but you are limited to equipping only one at a time which keeps things from getting too easy.
The visuals in Kung Fu Rabbit keep with the simple theme represented by the gameplay. Nothing is overly detailed and it features sharp, clean lines and pastel colours. Luckily, everything looks great running in HD and looks just as good on the Gamepad (which is a mirror of what’s on your television). Notably, the actual Kung Fu Rabbit himself is really charming and cute despite his limited animation. My only complaint is that sometimes there will be an object in the foreground that slightly obscures the very platforms that you’re trying to land on for a (very crucial) second or two. This doesn’t happen very often but it’s common enough that it’s worth mentioning.
The music and sound effects in KFR are serviceable. There’s nothing out of the ordinary and, for the life of me, I can’t remember any of the tracks used in the game. This is good because it means nothing was offensive to my ears but also bad because nothing was memorable.
Kung Fu Rabbit is a good game. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to jump into a game and kill a few minutes, and it’s a very competent platformer in its own right. The inclusion of physical buttons makes this the definitive version of the game and – at only $5 – it’s good value. As long as you know what you’re getting and aren’t expecting anything too complex, Kung Fu Rabbit is a game worth trying.
Review Score :
Format :Wii U (Nintendo eShop)
Developer : Neko entertainment
Publisher : Neko Entertainment
Release Date : 05/02/2013