PAX East 2020 Hands-on: Radical Rabbit Stew

Radical Rabbit Stew is a wacky, nostalgia packed homage to old school games releasing July 16th from developer’s Pugstorm and publisher Sold Out. I was able to play the demo at PAX East 2020 on the Switch, which felt like a natural choice for this easily digestible romp of a game.

The premise is simple: you are the dishwasher from a famous space-cafe and all the chefs have been stolen by an evil rabbit Queen.

I take that back, maybe Radical Rabbit Stew isn’t so simple after all.

This sentiment carries over into the game itself, which at first presents very quick, breezy levels, but soon evolves into challenges unique to the spoon-wielding heart of the game. 

As our chef-rescuing hero, you are equipped with a variety of spoons that you wield to combat the rabbit forces. Your major goal is to punt rabbits around the different levels and into spring-loaded obstacles to eventually cause them to ricochet into a boiling pot of stew. Once all the rabbits have landed into the available pots, you’ve cleared the level.

The challenge escalates with unique environmental obstacles, twisty passageways, a myriad of rabbit types (some of which have a tendency to explode), and more. At times, a reset is required if you’ve managed to destroy one of the very rabbits you needed to proceed.

While veterans may find some of the initial levels a breeze, there are definitely puzzles to work out as you dive further into the game.

The initial demo felt simple when compared to mind-bending puzzle games such as Baba Is You. However, when I faced my first boss, I quickly realized that there is plenty to enjoy. After dying several times to rabbit road rage, I jumped back in with a strategy in mind…only to die again.

Overcoming the gimmick of the boss drove me forward as I reconsidered the difficulty of a game that is described as a “hare-raising action-arcade game perfect for new players and 16-bit retro fans alike.” While veterans may find many of the levels a breeze, there are definitely puzzles to work out as you dive further into the game.

The personality of Radical Rabbit Stew is apparent on every level, including the cutscenes, soundtrack, enemies, and environments. I was reminded of the quirky designs from classic games such as Earthbound or early Zelda releases. An additional multiplayer mode offers the chance to share the fun with friends.

If you enjoy a flavorful puzzle game that can easily be picked up, put down, played for hours or even mere minutes, Radical Rabbit Stew may be the dish for you.

Radical Rabbit Stew is priced at $14.99 and releases July 16, 2020 on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.