Ever wondered just how creepy a SEGA licensed, bunny girl game could get? Cara Alex Brown takes a look at Rub Rabbits, the 7+ DS title that nobody understands how it got its age rating.
Howdy folks. Sorry about the delay with this piece, I'm suffering quite badly with fatigue and have been for a good few weeks now so it's been hard to get a lot of things done. I'll be fine though, so let's carry on with a happier note! This week I'll be writing about an incredibly ridiculous game, as promised, called "Rub Rabbits". Next week I'll be writing about its sequel but for now it's time to throw myself into nostalgia (I'm 18, 2005/2006 is nostalgic to me since I would have been 10. Sorry if I make anyone feel old) and write about a game from my Primary School years.
I really don't want to get held up here for ages because this game is so hilarious so I'm going to skip right ahead to the comments.
The Look Back
I got more than one comment again, yay!
Katamari Damacy - A Wonderful Life was really the last good harvest moon with a unique premise. Since then it's been gimmicks and characters that have no place in a Harvest moon game.
Each to their own opinion, but I personally can't agree. A lot of the titles after this expanded on and included a lot of things that I felt were lacking from AWL. For instance, the DS title expands upon the Harvest Sprites and gives them a whole quest line throughout the game. This adds to the overall lore/story of the titles, since the Sprites have always been characters and they're based on Japanese tales of spirits who help with the land.
Stewart Lange – I don't get this or Animal Crossing. At all.
Welcome back! However this comment made me laugh a lot as I thought that you, of all people, would get Animal Crossing. It's a collector's heaven. You have to earn, collect and strive to get your town the way you want. There's festivals, ways to expand your entire town, mini-games to unlock and loads more. It's the type of game that focusses on progress for a feeling of self-satisfaction at having achieved something in return. Harvest Moon works in a very similar way. Both concepts aren't that different to games like the Sims, or Tropico, or even mobile games such as "Build-a-Lot" or "Hay-Day". You have to progress, achieve and reach the goals you've set yourself or been set overall by the game.
thecountofincognito - I don't get Animal Crossing, but I somewhat enjoy this series. The original SNES version is still tops for me. I think it just worked better in 2D.
Well I've answered the AC part of this above, but I have to say that Harvest Moon has much clearer goals and includes things like mining and whatnot which can make it more gripping for people who aren't keen on these types of play styles, so I can understand your point. I actually agree with you that I prefer 2D Harvest Moon titles, as my favourite titles are actually the GBA and DS titles (Friends of Mineral Town and DS.. they worked hard on that title, I swear). I much prefer the look of them and how it's top-down perspective to play, with 2D interactivity styles between the characters. It feels much more harmonious to the overall design.
GVIL - I remember when I got this game and I tried to explain it to some people at work. They were like "it's a farming game!"
I never did get far with it as I got Gradius V at the same time for the PS2.
I get that every time I try to explain it. It's the same as explaining Animal Crossing. Both titles are hard to explain because you don't quite know why you enjoy it you just… do. However I have literally no idea what that game is you mentioned, oops.
AG Awesome - When it comes to harvest moon the only one I ever gave a shot to was the first Rune Factory. It was okay but I got bored quickly. Even with the added combat the game was still too much management involved for me. Im glad the series exists and people enjoy it though. Just not for me.
Okay, I'm going to have to hold back my years of pent up rage over this topic but Harvest Moon is not Rune Factory! Rune Factory is a god awful spin-off abomination on the title and I was made to play it once and within 20 minutes I stopped because it's a piece of trash. Whoever thought that trying to combine a farming simulator with a pocket monster game was a good idea is a complete moron. However, I'm glad you can appreciate the series type as a whole, I just wish you'd given a title worth mentioning a chance instead. (Sorry to any Rune Factory fans out there but to me, it will always be followed by a very big NO).
Martin_Alexander - Thing about HM games is that they all do one or two things really well, but none of them gets everything right.
Just because one of them happens to be pretty good doesn't mean that the next one will be any better, despite them all being developed by Marvelous Interactive.
It's honestly a pretty enjoyable simulator due mainly to the character designs and countless of in-game options, but the repetitive gameplay is what will usually stop one from eventually finishing the game.
'A Wonderful Life' is probably one of the most user-friendly titles in the series for noobs, though.
Well, while I don't agree with this comment I can see your point. I think that some titles did what they were intended to do brilliantly and I wouldn't change a thing, and that each is slightly different enough from each other to hold up as its own title. However I do agree that some of the titles do have some big flaws, which is a shame but can't be helped, I guess. AWL is definitely one of the best to get you started in the series but it can get a little dull for many due to the lack of extensive options that other titles bring. Personally, I would advise "Friends of Mineral Town" to any newbie since it has a more pleasing 2D design, an easier overall concept, more options and festivals to give you much more to do and is for the GBA so can be played much easier on the move. This makes HM even more ideal, as it's the perfect type of game to play while waiting on an appointment, or to kill some time, etc.
sdelfin - We recently had our own snowstorm/lightning combination here as well. It's quite a strange thing.
This may come as a surprise, but I've actually played a Harvest Moon game. Perhaps more surprisingly, I enjoyed it quite a lot. The one I had was Friends of Mineral Town. I got really into the GBA and tried a lot of titles and genres. I put a lot of hours into the game. I liked it because it was a sim game that was more focused on being a game than a sim, so the focus was on being fun. I'm not a fan of games getting too complicated. I suspect the Gamecube installment has a similar approach. I considered getting the game back in the day, but it's the sort of experience I didn't need to have again just in a different format. Whenever I felt the need to do it again, the GBA version was good enough and I liked playing it for a portable system as well. If the Gamecube version was my starting point, I'd probably have a similar feeling towards it as it sounds like a good game. Funny how simulated farming would become such a fad years later.
It's nice to actually know a little bit about the game featured. Also cool to hear how it differed from the version I played. Thanks for another enjoyable article, Cara.
I'm assuming you might be from America, given that you said snow/lightning is strange. Snow is common enough across here so it's always strange to me to hear that!
It is actually quite surprising that you've played a HM game. I expected it to be too simplistic for you to give a look to, and the fact that you enjoyed it is even more bizarre. Then again, you played one of my two all-time favourite titles in the series, so I'm not hugely surprised. You made a very good choice with that one. If you ever do feel like trying another title I would advise against the GC version as it's more simplistic than the GBA and you'd likely feel that it was lacking. Instead, I'd advise the DS version. There's much more to do and lots more interactivity, plus there's a big quest where you have to rescue Harvest Sprites from another dimension via various means which means that your farming and progress feels like it has more of a purpose.
As always, I'm happy to be here. It's always nice to hear your appreciative notes in your comments!
Sorry for writing so much here but I loved all these comments and knew I had something to say to each person, moving on!
Oh I'm so excited to see if I can freak out anybody who doesn't know this title. "Rub Rabbits" is a DS game made up of lots of mini-games that tell a story, with a whole bunch of mini-games as extra features as well. It was released in October 2005 by SEGA (Why SEGA, why...) in Japan as "Where do Babies Come From?" and then in early 2006 for the rest of us. Now, if that doesn't give you an insight into how creepy this game is yet, let me tell you that it somehow has an age rating of only 7+. Hence why this was given to little 10 year old me and deemed as a completely and utterly appropriate title. Oh, if you knew a little about my life, you'd know why this is so ironic now, but this isn't the place for that.
Why is it Overlooked?
The description on the back of the box includes "Touch… Rub… Blow…" and the game starts with a warning that says something along the lines of "Careful! Extensive touching, rubbing and blowing in public may get you unwanted attention". I can't really see things like that appealing to the parents of the average 7+ age range. However, I can think of a really creepy market that it might appeal to.
I managed to find an image of that now so I'm including it below.
Do I agree?
Actually, I don't. Despite how down right bizarre and fairly inappropriate this title is, I just find it hilarious. Even at the age of 10, I had the basics of sex ed down but I was still 10, and yet I still just found this game absurdly funny as opposed to anything else. If this game was intended as anything other than a massive joke I'll be shocked. It's completely worth it for the comedy factor.
Looking at the Overlooked
Okay, so, I'm just going to get right into telling you the "story" so I'm sorry if you wanted to play this game and have this be kept a mystery but I can't tell you about this game without telling you all this because it's so ridiculous that I just have to.
You're on an elevator, there's 11 other guys behind you and you pass some random girl on the elevator next to you. In that split second literally every single one of you falls in love with her and decides to fight to be hers. You reach your first mini game, where you have to run up the down escalator while avoiding your rivals and carrying a rose you somehow now magically have to give to the girl and win her heart – and you manage! Go you. Oh wait, but she shoots you down.
You're obviously a total Casanova so you randomly manage to find her in a park with a piano and begin your next mini game – play the piano really badly, playing about 4 notes at a time, that for some reason makes the girl walk towards the piano while moaning "Oh yeah" in a sexual way because, despite shooting you down, all it takes is a bit of piano playing for her to love you. Right? Right? I swear, this game should be used for dating advice.
As you and the 11 other random guys are chasing down this girl, they all trample another girl. How nice of them. So, you help her up and she falls head over heels in love with you. Oh, and she's a complete psychopath, but that comes later.
Next, you have to "battle" the other guys to prove your worth! This includes throwing a Frisbee at the girl while making sure your rivals don't catch it, shooting a "loving gaze" at her while making sure they don't intercept it (genuinely, it's like a laser eye blast of love hearts) and a totally dramatic battle of rock, paper, scissors. Should you complete all these, the guys randomly decide that you're obviously a great match for her and are happy to see you be together.
Queue crazy girl!
She swoops in in her private helicopter and drops a cage on the other 11 men and flies off with them, then using mind control on them to cause them to do her bidding – AKA to try and split up you and your girl because she's in love with you. She really doesn't help with the "psycho girl" image that is often pinned with a lot of females…
So, you decide to get some romantic photos with your girl. On top of a scaffolding building. I don't know why. But wait! The now-evil guys are here to stop you, and are in-between you and your girl, who's waiting by the camera that the timer is on! Not to worry, you have a unicycle, and decide to cycle across the top of the scaffolding while avoiding the crazy men to reach your girl before the timer goes off! You're some man, you are. Now you're so in love that you even get to meet her parents it's been a day but you're now a happy loving couple and a part of her family. However your girlfriend is now tired and decides to do some yoga – I always decide to do yoga when I'm exhausted, who wouldn't? – and so to "soothe her" while she bends and thrusts all over your screen, you have to hold a rose to her nose to get the scent to make her face glow red and have her moan with pleasure. I'm being serious.
Queue crazy girl again!
She somehow manages to crawl into your girl's house, link their laptops and starts transmitting a virus. You have to close the virus windows which look like evil bunnies, all while keeping the windows that are normal cute bunnies. Your girlfriend couldn't do this herself because apparently females can't deal with computers unless they're psychopaths so she just looks at you to do it. Oh, and if you fail she gets mad and basically breaks up with you. (Don't worry, you can restart from the beginning of the mini-game).
Once you've completed this you use your obviously incredibly high intelligence to notice the back of a girls head at the window next to the laptop, and notice the big cable trailing from the laptop right out the window. When you look out, you see the crazy chick. What a shocker.
Next, you and your girl go on a date to see some bulls for some reason. She gets her guys to dress up as bulls and try and stampede you, but they fail, so she comes in on a giant robotic bull and tries to kill you both. Stop the bull, stop her. But then you get kidnapped.
So, now you get weird cut scenes where crazy lady sits and stares at you while she has you tied up in her room because she loves you so much. Turns out, she used to be your next door neighbour and is a "total genius". That one line explanation is meant to justify the helicopter and the robotic contraptions to come. Now, to reveal her brilliant plan!
She sticks you, still tied up, at one end of a table and starts launching food at you. You somehow manage to eat full turkeys still with the bones and giant pizzas no problem, as you move side to side to collect it all. But beware! She's also throwing weird blue poisonous food at you because poisoning your lover is totally normal. So, you successfully dodge all that and she gets very angry and decides to shoot you with a cannon instead. So now you're on the floor tied up and she's trying to shoot you with a love cannon. Avoid all the heart shaped targets to avoid getting hit by the weird love bombs, and you won't be made to fall in love with her. The last level of this mini game also involves her diving off of the balcony that she's on with the canons to try and land on top of you and pin you down... anyway… if you avoid that then she just splats onto the floor and gets even angrier. I think this might be where the other guys snap out of their mind control. I'm not sure, the story is so ridiculous that even having only played it a couple of days ago, it all blends in to one.
From here onwards the story is basically – crazy girl tries to get you, you try to stay with normal girl, creepy mini games.
Examples include –
-Girlfriend somehow loses outfit in the forest. Make her a new dress out of leaves.
-Oh no, girlfriend hurt her leg! Rub it gently to hear her moan so you can make it better for her.
-You get caught and tied up again and crazy girl starts throwing love hearts at you. Better kick them away with your foot, because that makes sense.
And that's the story mode of Rub Rabbits. I don't quite know how to put into words how ridiculous this game is, but hopefully you'll have grasped the overall idea yourself.
Now, I'll enlighten you on the other aspects of this game.
When you complete mini games you unlock new hair, clothing and shoes so you can play dress up in an option called "Maniac" and make your girl look how you want. You can even custom design your own outfits and bikinis. This can then change her appearance in the game. I've included a shot I found that doesn't include any of the really revealing options, such as the blue lycra cut away swimsuit.
Next, is the "Baby Making" mini game! Again, just reminding you that this game is 7+. You and a partner play together on either side of the DS. You enter your age, blood type and a bunch of other questions and then work together to harmonise your moves and cut a cake. Once you've cut the cake a baby appears below, showing you what your baby would look like, its personality and blood type, and you can even save and name a set number of babies. These babies include extra-terrestrial Elvis' that have hair from the musical Hairspray, a rose in their mouth and float, a baby with rocker shades and a Mohawk, and snooty babies that ignore you to do calculus.
There's features where you can go back and play more detailed versions of each mini game and unlock more content, but the other big feature is the multiplayer. Here you have 4 different coloured protagonists and you all get to play together in various scenarios. One of these involves a log rafting game where you have to compete to rescue the girl from the water and steal her from your opponents' boats. Basically, capture the flag with a "babe".
I'm going to leave it there because honestly I don't even know what else to say about this title, if you can even call it that. It's one of the most inappropriate, strange, hilarious titles I've ever played. I'd bet money that there's some creepy people out there who have gotten their kicks off of it but if you're like me and just look upon it as a joke then the comedy doesn't stop. It's so completely absurd the whole way through that is just gets funnier and funnier as you go on.
I hope you've enjoyed reading about the game that freaked out 7 year olds everywhere. Next week, I should hopefully be writing about its sequel. See you all then.
PS – I'm considering writing about a Professor Layton title due to the amount of people I know that had dismissed it as a children's mini game title that holds nothing for them. How wrong they are.