Hearkening back to the days of old, Radical Rabbit Stew takes the 16 bit style and runs with it, incorporating small touches to make the game look as good as possible. I say with sincerity that this style can be incredibly hit or miss, and Radical Rabbit Stew knocks it out of the park. The style, puzzles, jokes, and overall feel of the game come together in a stew of their own. Radical Rabbit Stew is a pleasure to play, and holds up even to modern puzzle standards.
Radical Rabbit Stew is a puzzle game at its core, having you knock around rabbits into pots to save your chef friends from the evil Queen rabbit. The entire game is set in space, and it gives the game a very Kirby-like feel. In concept it’s really simple, you’re just meant to fill all the pots with rabbits. The game does a really good job introducing you to this, giving you very simple levels to complete rather than hamfisted tutorials. You learn by doing in this game, and that’s a real big preference of mine. As you progress, the levels scale in difficulty slowly but surely. There isn’t an issue with the scaling, you’re just learning new mechanics and gaining new items that’ll help you later. Of these my favorite is the Silver Spoon, which has a real satisfying WACK to it. As you progress, you actually fight bosses! The puzzle mechanics are still there, and you need to figure out the weakness of each boss yourself. This is simpler than it sounds, very standard fare for these types of games. These can get pretty hectic though! In the end bosses are pretty funny, and incredibly satisfying to beat. You finish every level with a snap of your fingers and putting on some sunglasses, giving the final chef’s kiss to an already entertaining level.
The music and style of the game mesh really well together. The funky music paired with whacking rabbits around feels really satisfying, and really enforces the lighthearted feel of the game. Each world has a different style of levels, and it honestly never got tiring. The space levels and layouts felt varied, and some made me think as I had to play through them. The beach levels were really nice, but while I understand the wading through water mechanic, I just really don’t like being bogged down. Even so, I really enjoyed those levels just because they looked really nice. Nothing about the game stuck out that made me dislike it stylistically, as everything seemed to be meticulously made to fit the aesthetic they were going for. Every whack felt satisfying, every level looked engaging, and every song had me excited to keep playing. Overall, everything lent itself to a fun experience.
The main gripe that I can see with the game is that it’s very simple. They can introduce all the items and mechanics that they want, but the largest variation comes in the boss fights. All you’re going to be doing for the whole game is whacking rabbits into pots. I can see the issue in this since it can get really repetitive, but generally you’re getting this game TO whack rabbits into pots. It’s not something you’re going to be fiending on for hours on end, it’s a fun little game to pick up and do some puzzles every now and then. While that is the case, the same can be said about the stages. While the themes change every world and the levels are varied, if you spend too much time on a level it can make the world seem a little too same-y. Those that seek constant variety wouldn’t be pleased slogging through similar experiences as they learn the game, and that’s understandable. This game is meant to replicate the 16-bit experience, and sometimes that comes with some flaws in level variety.
All in all, this game was a blast to play. I tend to enjoy puzzle games, but once I got to the first boss fight I knew that this was going to be a fun one. It’s not a thoroughly engaging game, but it really feels good when you complete a puzzle and get that little snap. Even if you’re breezing through it, it’s just a lot of fun to see the rabbits go flying. With great haptic feedback every time you whack a rabbit, it really never gets old. Some might not be fans of the 16-bit style, but Radical Rabbit Stew really does a great job in getting the feel down and making the game fun to play. Radical Rabbit Stew knows what it wants to be and is unashamedly itself, and that’s a great thing when done properly.
Score: 8 out of 10
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch