Review: Lab Rabbit

In: Reviews by Nicholas "Heartbreak Ridge" Sylvain

26 Oct 2010

screen1I have never much explored the Indie Games section of Xbox Live (formerly known as Community Games)— partly because I’m already swimming in too many games I want to play and partly because the indie space is its own ocean of gems and dross. It is a bit easier to find interesting games, and more and more tools are showing up to help the deserving games get some face time with the wider gaming public.

A recent arrival in the Indie Games area is Lab Rabbit from 1ManBand Studios.

This is not a review, however.  I made a good faith effort — a real old college try. But I got well and truly stuck somewhere around the eighth level, and my blood pressure and 360 controller would appreciate it if I did not resume the attempt any time soon. The window of opportunity for an indie game is likely a small one, so I think it’s best to get some positive words out before the march of time swallows up Lab Rabbit.


You might think from my preceding comments that I’m just going to hate on Lab Rabbit. Au contraire, mon frère!

Lab Rabbit is a 2D side-scrolling platformer, and as I alluded to in my Comic Jumper review, at times I can tolerate platformers but it is never going to be a particularly favorite genre. However, from the very first Lab Rabbit made a positive impression with its stark, nearly black-and-white design style that certainly recalled Limbo to my mind.

Lab Rabbit is a bit different in that it employs the strategic use of color to add some shock value when traps kill your poor rabbit and make certain gameplay elements, like the carrot prize for each level, acid pits, lasers, really stand out. The levels add in gameplay elements as they go on and as the levels get increasingly more complicated and difficult. In addition to the visual style, I smiled at the Portal-inspired sadistic black humor and enjoyed the pleasant classical-music background.

The controls are definitely an area where I started to have issues well before I threw in the towel. I found myself quite annoyed by having my rabbit leap off to its death when I was just trying to nudge it to the edge of a platform to maximize my running leap. Or getting past all of the lethal obstacles and then die just trying and failing to leap straight up and grab the carrot to end the level.

I finally gave up when I could not for the life of me consistently understand how to leap the proper distance instead of way too far or pathetically hop into spikes. My patience for platformers is much lower than for some other games, so perhaps people who are better fans of the genre wouldn’t find as much issue with the controls as I did.

Thank God the developer made the sensible choice to include multiple checkpoints in each level, which should keep down on the frustration factor for many people.

Lab Rabbit is only 80 Microsoft Points ($1) for the full game, and of course there’s a free trial so it’s not like you are committing 100 hours of your life to a new $60 triple-A RPG. Especially if you are at all a fan of platformers, I’d say give it a try for the visual style if nothing else. I hope you fare better than I did!

Lab Rabbit
1ManBand Studios
Xbox Live Marketplace
$.99
Available now

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1 Response to Review: Lab Rabbit

Avatar

1ManBand Studios

November 8th, 2010 at 6:41 pm

[...] Game Hounds – (first and only place I’ve heard the phrase Ginger Bitch) Gave me a complete writeup, though the person reviewing it had trouble with the controls but seemed to like the style, humor and music. You should check out their podcast. [...]

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