Kung Fu Rabbit finds a masterful balance with this lighthearted platforming romp

It seems martial artists come in all shapes and sizes these days. Bulkypix’s new Kung Fu Rabbit takes platforming into the realm of Asian mysticism, and though the adventure might start out in grasshopper mode, the forces of evil soon call upon a true gaming master.

Through a smattering of simple storyboard art, Kung Fu Rabbit tells a tale of a temple overrun by “Universal Evil.” You’ll need to navigate bite-sized gauntlets, dispatching inky foes that have kidnapped your students. In true wuxia fashion, Kung Fu Rabbit will hop, backstab, and shimmy, as well as pick up a few delicious carrots along the way.

At the outset of your adventure, you’ll be tasked with simply making a few easy jumps in order to free your imprisoned pupils. Before long, however, players will be negotiating deadly foes and traps, yet the controls are extremely minimalist.

The game features an optional “smartpad” and jump button – that’s it. The smartpad moves left and right along with the movement of your finger, and turning off the option replaces the virtual control with two directional arrows, which many players will undoubtedly be more familiar with. Controls feel good, but there’s no additional customization outside of toggling the smartpad on and off. The directional arrows are very close together, and if you have large thumbs, it’s easy to misguide your rabbit hero.

Kung Fu Rabbit is broken up into three main areas, each with 20 levels to play through, as well as a cavern area that offers additional levels unlocked as you progress through the story. For the price, Kung Fu Rabbit is quite a sizeable package, and the level design is surprisingly varied and challenging. Though the early levels are a breeze, things ramp up significantly by the midway point of the first world.

Kung Fu Rabbit

Level areas can be unlocked either by completing levels in succession or by purchasing them with carrots found in each level. The level design offers lots of great variety, with some levels focused more on vertical progression, while others lead you along more tradition platforming paths. Some simple yet rewarding stealth action is smartly integrated into the design, adding yet another layer of depth to an already colorful action experience.

In addition to unlocking levels with carrots, you can also purchase power-ups in the game’s dojo. Most of the items on offer are single use only and add little in the way of upping the entertainment value of gameplay. On the plus side, the game’s in-app purchases of carrots are wholly unnecessary.

Kung Fu Rabbit

Visually, Kung Fu Rabbit is an absolute treat – a feast for the eyes. If you have even a passing interest in Asian motifs and settings, you’ll love what this game has to offer: various layers of 2D parallax, with soft blurring effects that give the game an overall gentle vibe to contrast its deceptively difficult gameplay. The music makes a fitting backdrop to the game’s visuals, but I could swear the rabbit hero sounds exactly like one of Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids.

While virtual controls are still a compromise I’m not completely comfortable with, Kung Fu Rabbit sweetens the deal with level design that makes sense for the platform. If you happen to own an iCade, touch-screen controls will be a non-issue for you. There’s loads of variety and lots of clever challenges, even if many of the ideas have been presented elsewhere. For the asking price, Kung Fu Rabbit is a no-brainer for the platforming fan looking for another quality title to add to their iOS gaming library.