Review – Radical Rabbit Stew

How to even describe this game I have just played? Well, in a faraway asteroid in space, there’s a diner whose cooks are suddenly kidnapped by a jealous rabbit queen. The only person who has managed to escape this ambush was the assistant, and now he’s tasked with saving his colleagues by… throwing rabbits into… floating stewpots? What the hell is going on in here? I don’t know who the hell came up with this concept, as well as this game as a whole, but I’m just glad someone was crazy enough to pitch this idea and turn into a game, because that’s how we ended up getting Radical Rabbit Stew.

2020071023443000-A3573AF923F32E7EB2500112319D17D6

Do you wanna know the name of this boss? PUGS BUNNY…

After being greeted with a little introductory cutscene that basically tells the same beautiful mess of a story that I’ve written in my previous paragraph, you’re thrown right into the world of Radical Rabbit Stew‘s gameplay. You grab a spoon and see yourself in front of a cutesy, but totally evil bunny. You need to whack it with your spoon in order to direct that little rascal in a straight line all the way to the nearest stewpot. Fill all of the stewpots in a level in order to move to the next one. It’s hard to come up with a proper comparison to make you understand what on Earth goes on in Radical Rabbit Stew, but think of Bomberman‘s top-down perspective, 16-bit visuals, and puzzle sensibilities mixed with the primal desires everyone has to beat the living crap out of a Rabbid.

What makes Radical Rabbit Stew so fun to play isn’t how weird it is, even though that totally helped. The gameplay is pretty good, with great controls that are really easy to grasp. However, this game also does a fantastic job at constantly adding new features and challenges for upcoming levels without ever overwhelming the player.

2020071023294200-A3573AF923F32E7EB2500112319D17D6

Push a rabbit onto these bumpers, and they’ll ricochet onto said direction.

You start off by only having to deal with a handful of rabbits in pretty straightforward puzzles. You then receive an extra heart container as a bonus, but that also means you’ll have to deal with more enemies. You then fight a boss and are rewarded with a new spoon that allows you to hit fat rabbits. Later on you get a grappling hook spoon, as well as more hearts, with the game always knowing how to gradually increase the difficulty level in each new puzzle. This makes your transition from newbie to pro player feel as natural as possible. It teaches you how to play without ever having to hold your hand.

Not only does Radical Rabbit Stew feature a near never-ending amount of puzzles to solve, which you can tackle with a friend via local co-op by the way, but it also lets you create your own levels with a pretty neat editor. This adds even more longevity to an already feature-rich game. It lets you use every single asset you can find within the game’s levels, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out that editor is the same one the developers themselves used when making the game. I only have one gripe with it: the controls are a little bit confusing. For instance, in order to rotate an asset, instead of pressing a dedicated button, you need to press the same button used to place the item on the map.

2020071100055600-A3573AF923F32E7EB2500112319D17D6

This is already one stupidly meaty game, but the devs still ended up adding a level editor to ensure you’ll keep playing this game until the year 2072.

The game also does a fairly decent job with its overall presentation, even though, when analyzing the overall package as a whole, this might actually be the aspect I liked the least about it. It looks charming enough, trying to look like your average Bomberman game from the TurboGrafx era, but I think it just looks way too detailed to disguise itself as a proper retro throwback to the 16-bit generation. This might sound like the most bizarre criticism in history, but I feel like other games this year have managed to pull the overall retro SNES-y visual style in a better way, such as NIS America’s Kemono Heroes. But when this is the thing I liked the least about a game, that can only mean one thing: as a whole, this is the real deal.

2020071112394400-A3573AF923F32E7EB2500112319D17D6

They might look cute, but they’re worse than the Rabbids.

To say that Radical Rabbit Stew surprised me is an understatement. At first glance, this might not look like the most impressive of games, but I’d totally give this game a chance if I were you. You’ll be greeted with some really smart puzzles, a great difficulty curve that will constantly add new mechanics and features for you to deal with, a deep (but flawed) level creator, and that typical “so bad it’s good” pun-infested sense of humor I can’t help but love. This game showed up from out of nowhere just to make one hell of an impression.

 

Graphics: 7.0

It’s meant to look like a typical 16-bit era game and it succeeds, even though it’s a tiny little bit more detailed and animated than most games from that era, losing a bit of its retro charm as a result.

Gameplay: 9.0

Not only are the controls very responsive, but the game does a great job at gradually implementing new gameplay features and enemies without ever overwhelming the player. The level editor controls are a bit wonky, however.

Sound: 7.5

The soundtrack is charming enough for the setting, but what really shines in here is the huge amount of cheesy sound effects.

Fun Factor: 9.0

Radical Rabbit Stew offers a lot of bang for your buck: tons of well-crafted puzzles, couch co-op, a deep and detailed level creator, good controls, and more terrible puns and dad jokes than your average Sunday family lunch.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Radical Rabbit Stew is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Radical Rabbit Stew was provided by the publisher.