In case you were planning on skipping Ubisoft's new Wii-only adventure game, first consider that it will allow players to strip human beings to their underwear.
I played a bit of Rabbids Go Home a little over a week ago at an event for developer and publisher Ubisoft in New York City.
I was going to write a preview, but AJ did a fine job of that already.
I've decided to do something different: explain why I've gone from not caring about this adventure-platformer to keeping an eye on its progress.
I got my demo of the game from Gabrielle Shrager, the game's senior writer and a woman capable of making Rabbids Go Home sound like one of the year's funnier games. She described a plot that sounds like a mix of Katamari and Psychonauts, the Rabbids aggressively scavenging for human beings' excess stuff through 15 levels based on 15 common neuroses, all for the purpose of piling the collected stuff so the Rabbids can climb to the moon. Why the moon? Because it's big and shiny.
The game is a comedy, and it's comedy is both visual and physical. Shrager controlled a Rabbid customized into a red thong, pushing a shopping cart stacked with the the detritus of a hospital built for cleanliness. A patient being wheeled around on a bouncy "bubble bed" cart got sucked into a growing stack of stuff (and allowed the card to now bounce higher to reach more remote locations). In a level set amidst the snooty and materially-obsessed, I took control and had the Rabbids terrorize people sunbathing by a pool. Shrager taught me how to relieve them of their clothes, vacuum-stripping the cartoonish, big-headed humans to their underwear. On rooftops I collected radar dishes. They piled into the bin of the shopping cart, teetering.
I had asked to see the game out of obligation, not any longstanding interest in the Rayman franchise or the Rabbids who have starred in a few Rayman party-game spin-offs on Wii. Sure, I'll check out the Wii exclusive. But I realized halfway through the demo that I was both having fun and laughing a lot.
Then Shrager showed me how to torture a Rabbid in a Wii remote. (See that kind of thing here.)
There's talent behind this game. The creative director, Jacques Exertier, was the game writer for Ubisoft's King Kong game and Beyond Good & Evil. The lead game designer was the lead level designer on Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter.
So maybe I shouldn't skip this one. I'll add it to my watch-list. My first impression was a good one. The game is set for a fall release.