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Krabbitworld Origins is a game that I wanted to like. It’s an independent title developed by two people, it has wonderful music, distinctive character design, and a long history behind it dating back to a 2D MMO from ten years ago which proves that Krabbitworld is a labor love rather than a quick app intended to cash in on the latest commercial trends. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy my stay in Krabbitworld as much as I had hoped.
What is a Krabbit? Krabbits are anthropomorphic rabbit creatures who live in a world of magic, not too different from many other fantasy adventure worlds. The current installment of the franchise is the third game in the series. Originally it was a simple MMO, then a 3d adventure game, now it’s back and the fuzzy denizens of Krabbitworld are under attack from the evil Necromorphs. Players can choose from a selection of 6 krabbit characters to fend of the Necromorphs using magic and hand-to-hand combat.
The combat is 3D hack-n-slash in the model of action RPGs. You’ll level up your stats, gather loot and gain XP from defeating enemies or completing quests. The magic you use is standard RPG fare, like Heal, Shield, and Lightning. The melee combat, on the other hand uses a unique combo system. Each Krabbit has four attacks (Mapped to the numbers on your keyboard); after you launch your first attack, a meter appears and your next attack will increase in power, if you time it right by observing the meter. The more attacks you chain into a combo, the more powerful they become.
Aside from the single-player mode, it also has alternate modes where you can team with other players in arena-style combat against wave after wave of bad guys. You can play these missions solo with an AI teammate too. This will keep fans amused even after you’ve finished with the single-player campaign.
The music is great. Heavy metal guitar music kicks in when you enter combat, and there’s pretty, ambient Renaissance fair music playing in the background as you travel to and from your missions. Sound is good in general for Krabbit world. When you activate special power-ups that give you super jumping, you’ll hear a “BOING” sound, and other helpful sound effects play to make sure you understand what the power up you just clicked does.
Despite having a lot of good design, there is a lot of bad. Firstly, it gets repetitive. Your Krabbit elders will send you back through the same handful of levels over and over again. I was told to go to the Krystal Kaverns at least four times in a row, going through the same set of puzzles every mission, just so I could fight a different boss at the end. The same is true for several other locations.
It’s not very challenging, either. Despite the cool combo system, you can button-mash your way through most of the combat; the only real challenge comes from the bosses. Power-ups and money appear too often, and you’ll have hundreds of health and mana potions when you’re done. If you do end up getting trounced by a boss, you can rez easily, then go nip away at the boss’s health until you finally bring them down.
Although the designers have created an elaborate world with a back story and fleshed out characters, the mission text is far too straight-forward and the quest givers have little characterization in their dialogue. Your missions are almost always something to the tune of “Go back to the Krystal Kaverns yet again, kill everything, grab the Third Crystal, then come back here”. There aren’t subquests, or side stories, and you don’t have branching dialogue trees, or any sort of choices to make regarding the story.
Making the simple missions worse is a glitch where you get text saying that you’ve completed the mission, before you’ve actually picked up the item that completes the quest. It’s a little buggy in other areas, and tends to freeze or stutter. There are also many load screens; running through your Krabbit village requires several loads, just to get to the load screen for your mission.
But let’s keep in mind that this is a game made by two people, and that it costs about five bucks on Direct2Drive.com. It doesn’t have the technical polish that it should, but the design aspects are there. It even has great storyline that just needs to be conveyed through the in-game text, rather than hoping that audience is already familiar with the history of the franchise. Because each incarnation of the series grows more polished, I suspect that the next Krabbit game (Or even this one after a substantial patch) would be well worth investigating. As it is, Krabbitworld Origins is only for the dedicated indie gamer, or rabbit enthusiast. Your purchase, however will certainly help further the development of future Krabbit games.