Thanks to Dahku for the review code
Title: Rotund Rebound
System: Nintendo Switch eShop
Release Date: 04/14/2022
In this sequel to Rotund Takeoff, (a remake of the first game I ever reviewed), you take control of Chubbit the Rabbit yet again, as he sets out on a new quest to end the corruption of a dark carrot, and save his friends from their influence! The story is briefly touched on in an intro not unlike the one we saw in Takeoff, but otherwise doesn’t play much of a factor until the endgame, leaving this to be as simple of a plot as it needs to be, and not referencing the first game much at all outside of a few mentions in some of the in-game bios.
Takeoff stuck to the same set of trippy backgrounds that the original Chubbins sported, with a 2D coat of paint, and Zero used equally simple backgrounds with a variety of color filter options to choose from. Here in Rebound, we finally move ahead and get fully detailed backgrounds for each world, offering a nice variety of scenery that pops during each of the stages. There are a variety of new enemies and characters here as well, and all of them animate rather well, of course, just like before, there’s even a stellar looking intro and ending cutscene with a great pixel feel.
The game isn’t just sidescrolling fun, however, as each world offers a minigame that throws a completely different challenge at you, paying homage to a variety of classic games. The same art style is still used, but now you’re dodging waves, operating a vehicle, and honestly getting a nice change of pace in these levels, which feel like the developers wanted to show off their other talents, and they absolutely nailed the look and sound of these segments at the very least.
Lastly, the music and sound, which pretty much contains a similar vibe to the other Rotund games, with some reused/remixed tracks, along with brand new compositions that maintain a similar bouncy energy. Not much to comment on here, as they work just as well as they did before and don’t get irritating even during long attempts at a level.
Just like the prior three Rotund titles, you start off with only the abilities to move your character and force a reset of the current stage, with Chubbit forced to bounce the direction of the blocks underneath him, as you navigate mazes of hazards to reach the end goal, now a Dark Carrot in need of being sealed up.
Quite bluntly, it seems just as deceptively simple as the prior games at first glance, and if you read those older reviews, you absolutely have enough knowledge to jump right in and play this game, since this sequel just takes what worked the first time and refines it well, while adding in some handy new features to make it more interesting.
The first one you’ll notice are the addition of golden leaves, which can now be stockpiled to fill a meter in the corner of the screen, that when used with the action button will pull off your character’s special ability. Chubbit grows twice his size, which in my case just led to me being more vulnerable to obstacles, but as you progress through the worlds and unlock more characters, they do offer much better abilities to pull off with these leaves.
Of course, the other huge addition are those aforementioned characters. Locked up in each world, Chubbit can go past a barricade depending on how many medals he’s earned to play a special level where he must free his friend, and upon doing so, you can play as them! They each have their own unique ability as mentioned before, and add some lovely variety.
With that said, this is still a decently tough game, and a nightmarish one if you want to go for all the gold medals, since now alongside mastering your best times, you also have medals for grabbing every leaf in a stage or by speeding through a level with Chubbit’s bat friend, who acts like an assist on most main stages.
See, choosing to accept her help will lead to your character’s meter going away and being replaced by her own, and her ability is the most useful of the bunch by far, as you can slowly glide with her wings, making tricky jumps much easier. Along with that, she has a health bar in the form of stars, which get used up when you collide with a hazard or use her flight ability, meaning that if you play your cards right, you can abuse this mechanic to take alternate routes and shortcuts that would seem outright impossible when going the normal route. Thus, her routes get their own set of medals as well, and serve as an easier alternative to clearing the game, and I find this to be a great accessibility feature, along with just being a way to breeze past levels that would drive me insane.
Lastly, we have the minigames. Off the beaten path on the world maps, each world offers their own minigame for Chubbit to take up, and they’re those aforementioned genre tributes I mentioned earlier. Fun for a scorechaser challenge, but not much more than a novelty to me, if I may be frank.
With that noted, the world maps do offer branching paths that reward players who master the prior stages, since if you get a lot of medals in certain categories, you can reach those aforementioned stages to free a friend or skip a level, to getting crazier shortcuts such as a world skip. You can’t skip to the end of the game in 15 minutes or anything, but it does offer some decent routing to shake up your playthroughs. Otherwise, this is a tightly controlling platformer with the same positives as the prior games, but with more variety that I feel hits the spot just so right.
In conclusion, Rotund Rebound is a great bout of speedy fun, offering some lovely refinements on the formula that started me off eight years ago, and just being a fun speed game with varying playstyles that people will eventually latch onto. The fact you can go after three types of medals in each stage is nice, as are the multiple characters and the assist options to make brutal stages a bit easier to bypass.
The mini games are a nice distraction now and then, the bosses are still clever fights that top off each world in a fun way, and with extremely tight controls to enjoy, Rotund Rebound is an excellent platformer that while not inventive, is definitely a solid romp to enjoy and an outstanding game for speedrunning due to the aforementioned nods to that scene thrown about. Even without online leaderboards, there’s a good amount of replay value here, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for this Rabbit and his friends.
I give Rotund Rebound an 8 out of 10.