I don’t often play Free To Play games but a few do sneak under my radar and King Rabbit Race is one of them. The reason why is that all the paid content is cosmetic only, leaving player skill untouched in the quest for revenue. That is crucial because King Rabbit Race is a deceptively simple premise, executed really well.
In King Rabbit Race you will play alongside three other player ghosts in a race for survival. Each level has you trying to stay in camera shot on a 2D top down platformer full of traps set out to kill you. Make a mistake, your out. Fall behind, your out. The further you get, the better the score and you win coins and gems to then trade up for cosmetic improvements and see how you rank in the global online leaderboards. Think endless runner but competitive and you are in the right ballpark.
Each level is procedurally generated and I’m assuming keeping level seeds because there are two different modes to the game. In the normal mode you are competing against how far you’ve got across multiple levels in a timeframe. Again, the further you get, the higher the score. Each level has a visual theme but its the trap layouts that switch up. Dodge arrows, spinning cogs, ice skids that will send you into water or lava and making sure you jump between moving platforms correctly. The second mode is a daily challenge where you have 25 hours to get the highest score on a specific level layout. That global leaderboard position after each run makes for a mighty addictive incentive.
The controls are very simple – you only use the four direction buttons or arrow keys. Everything is grid based and predictable. What isn’t predictable is your slip ups. Too often you’ll be impatient, mistime something, forget a moving turret was putting you in the firing line or you speed off and make a dozy error. It seems so simple but you are caught out easily and so is everyone else as you watch the asynchronous ghosts of your other players meet their demise too.
Cosmetics are quite expensive and I have little use of them as your bunny is so small, it doesn’t stand out much. This might be because the game is cross play between PC and mobile. Whilst the initial premise of King Rabbit Race is very sound, the real crux will be in how the level variations build over time. I did notice the same set pieces recurring over and over quite quickly and so even after an hour or two across several days, I felt like there needed to be more trap variety to make the game a sustainable time sink long term. If the developers can do that, this is going to have a cult following. The cutest survival eSport ever? Quite possibly!
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