Run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run, run, run.
Pick up and play is typically reserved for shmups on my Switch but Pugstorm says Radical Rabbit Stew fits the bill too. This arcade puzzle game is unique in style but feels familiar in a nostalgic way. Cook some rabbits by spooning them into the pot in this 16-bit adventure, vegans need not apply.
Radical Rabbit Stew has the option of singleplayer, versus, and stage editor which already promises some replayability and value. The main menu music is upbeat and head nod worthy. I could not test multiplayer but it appears to be locked to couch co-op. Stage editor has ten slots that allow four stages to be constructed. I would recommend playing the singleplayer mode for a while before delving into rabbit maker, with the option of normal and hardcore difficulties.
The opening crawl
A Star Wars style story introduction tells of a legendary space diner that the rabbit queen took over in hopes of gaining culinary delights. We are the cleaning boy, the only one that got away – tasked with rescuing our chef friends. In a wonderful comic book look, we obtain the trusty wooden spoon and begin our adventure to return the cooks to the kitchen. The first overworld is set in space and looks so cute. The style reminds me of Tapper the awesome arcade game that makes you the bartender slinging beers. Arcade/SNES in design with bright colours and charm. I’m digging the look of this one if you couldn’t tell.
The first area is set in the “Bunlands” and I know I’m jiving with the developer’s humour. Each level has a funny name like “Rabline” and “Bumpadump”. Our task is simple, smack the rabbits into our soupy cauldron or they eat us. Yes, ravenous and carnivorous space rabbits will eat us whole if we don’t eat them first. It’s feast or famine baby! I like that with each victory our cleaning boy throws on a pair of shades does a finger snap, wrapping up the stage in style.
Let’s break down the game again!
As things ramp up in progressing levels, our character can move in these bomber man looking areas that allow us to fall off into space. Simply smacking every rabbit won’t do, as we need to knock them out and send them flying in the correct direction. Otherwise, we will be spat out of the level by a rabbit with the door slammed on our rear ends. Knock out each rabbit and aim them into a bouncing paddle that could lead to the pot. Push a rabbit off the cliff and the level is over. Rabbits stay knocked out for a limited amount of time and then resume business as usual in their facing direction, which should be kept in mind. Pause and restart is quick and appreciated. It’s cool how the levels can add these puzzle elements that require a bit of strategy. Knock out a rabbit in a certain area, then turn your character to another direction and send it flying in that direction.
Big blue coins add this additional layer of fun and replayability to go back and snag them. Coins can be obtained without completing a level so either go for them by their own mission or together. In later levels I found myself beating the level to figure it out first then hunting for the blue coin. I ended with 49 coins and could go back to complete the rest as I’m sure something will happen.
BUNNY BOSS BATTLES
Oh you thought we would get through this puzzle game without a BOSS BATTLE? Feast your eyes on a fat ‘ol bunny in an area similar to what we’ve already traversed. Watch out for that to-be food falling from the sky while smacking eggs and bunnies to hit the boss. No health bar is shown so just keep on guard and keep smacking. Past that boss, Pugs Bunny is another foe that calls for a different kind of battle you will have to buy to see. After saving our chef friend we will be blasted off into another fun new area.
Moving forward in the game the player is rewarded with an upgrade, whether it be a heart or a new spoon. Spoon upgrade allows the player to reach a further distance and move heavier rabbits. ANOTHER element to the mix is being able to launch ourselves versus the rabbit using the bounce pads. The carrots add, well you get the idea. A ton of new ideas are introduced to switch it up and not simply be whacking rabbits into pots so easily.
Radical Rabbit Stew is a great looking game that lives up to the “pick up and play” aspect touted on the eShop. Hidden areas for blue coins were my favourite portion of the game, and the boss fights were a good change of pace to the rest of the game. The overall aesthetic is very pleasing and the level select area was gorgeous. I was humming the tunes afterwards and enjoyed completing the game.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 16/07/2020
No. of Players: 1-4
Category: Arcade, Puzzle
Developer: Pugstorm AB
Publisher: Sold Out
Download link: eShop