"This Ain't No Mario Party"
Those weird-looking rabbits are back, and this time they're taking over the Wii U in a "board" game of their own. Rabbids LAND is Ubisoft's attempt to bring a family oriented, Mario Party-like game under their franchise name. In the real world, I haven't played a "roll the dice and move a space" board game in ages. Everyone seems content on playing games that are much deeper or grander, such as Fantasy Flight games or Settlers of Catan. Rabbids LAND takes us back to simpler times of gaming, for better or for worse.
You and three of your friends will lead the bunnies through a theme park themed game board in a fairly simplistic manner. Just as in Mario Party, you'll be thrown into mini-games or random craziness will happen that will make you succeed or fail. I keep comparing Rabbids LAND to Mario Party, and well, that is what it essentially is, with a little more flavor of its own (bizarre wackiness).
Unfortunately, the mini-games in Rabbids LAND don't utilize the Wii U controllers as well as I had hoped. While you may be using the GamePad to surf your characters around the screen or roll a boulder, there won't be much extensive use of the Wii U GamePad's potential. Maybe we are expecting too much right now with what the GamePad can and can't do; I suppose this is the curse of being a critic.
The oddest part, however, is that Rabbids LAND is a four-player game, and two players will have to sit out during the mini-games, since they are one-on-one outings… so much for a "party"! The mini-games at least have some thought put into them, and whether it's a rhythm challenge or a running challenge, usually it's enough to simply slug through the dice rolling and board segments to get to them. But alas, there are also plenty of bad mini-games to be had, and these will make players groan when they pop-up.
Also, there is something inherently strange about passing around the GamePad, watching a gamer become consumed by its smaller screen during their turn. You see their eyes downcast, away from the others, as if they are looking over the One Ring like Gollum in his cave. It's just… unsettling. Rabbids LAND just doesn't have the same feeling of those N64 Mario Party days. You know, the ones where everyone was laughing and screaming, with their bodies in a proper upright gaming position, eyes on the screen, plastic N64 controllers making a racket while the joystick dugholes into every bodies palms and thumbs. Ah, those were the days!
But let's be honest, Wii U needs titles for everyone, especially the family and youth demographic, and that is what is being covered here, kids. Yes, they will probably have one heck of a time with Rabbids LAND, and parents who don't often play these types of games are going to get a kick out of it too. This means, those who want something where the whole family can join in will probably like to pick this game up, while those looking to play a better developed "party" game with other gamer friends should definitely pass this title up.
Even with little variety and no real in-depth game design, Rabbids LAND still doesn't feel or look cheap like some Mario Party rip-offs in the past have. Ubisoft has done a fine enough job making the game stand on its own two legs with the personalities of the Rabbids alone. Still, Rabbids LAND may have been designed for kids and family in mind, but that doesn't mean devs couldn't creatively come up with a video board game that is easy to learn, easy to play, and is more in-depth. But hey, kids love the Rabbids!
GameDynamo's Score for Rabbids LAND (Wii U)
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