World of Rabbit: The Dig is a tamagotchi-style game ported over to Windows Phone from Nokia’s Symbian operating system by Breakdesign.com and by tamagotchi I mean those ‘endless life’ style games with no real aim other than to keep your creatures alive (though they can’t die in ‘The Dig), entertained and well fed.
It forms part of a suite of games within the World of Rabbit* universe, which make appearances across Symbian, Flash and Meego devices, as well as ‘Windows Mobile’, which Breakdesign presumably intend to mean Windows Phone.
The Dig is the only version available on the Windows Phone system and it is visually arresting, with a strong use of coloured backgrounds and cute but subversive-looking silhouette characters to create an intriguing appearance that helps differentiate itself from the crowded gaming marketplace.
The game itself involves you creating underground rooms for your rabbits to live in, away from the robots that have overtaken the surface world.
The rooms are split into different colours to denote different purposes, green for food, yellow for energy, purple for sleep and blue for relaxation. Every so often you get to build a red room, each one of which serves a unique purpose, from allowing customisation of rabbits to introducing mini-games to help pass the time.
Gameplay is simple and easy to pick up; you must put rabbits in the food room to gather, well, food. This helps create more rabbits, while creating energy helps build new rooms. As your rabbits tire and get bored, they need sleep and relaxation rooms to bring them back up to speed.
And that, really, is about all there is to the game, which is a bit of a disappointment.
Admittedly these sorts of games rarely, if ever, have any sort of element of danger, so there is no notion of excitement as you grind out food and energy to slowly expand your underground lair. The introduction of the specialised red rooms adds a bit of excitement, but they’re spaced too far apart and the gaps in between are filled with boredom.
Eventually you simply end up logging on to the game every few hours to switch around your rabbits between rooms and harvest your food and energy, with little else to do.
On the plus side, it lacks the bugs that cripple Bug Village, and it’s completely free so you don’t feel like Breakdesign are trying to pry every last coin from your grasp but nonetheless World of Rabbit: The Dig fails to live up to the initial impression created by the cute visuals and slick implementation of its ideas.
Mobile gaming has moved on in leaps and bounds since the first tamagotchis appears in the late 1990s while games like Bug Village and World of Rabbit: The Dig have introduced few new mechanics to bring the genre into the 21st century.
Market economics suggests that the creation of these games indicates some sort of demand and it is well rated on the Windows Phone marketplace, but it would be nice to see a touch more innovation when it comes to the design of these games.
What’s there is fine, and certainly well crafted but perhaps if all the World of Rabbit games were squeezed into a single title it might help provide a bit more depth and longevity.
Given the competition and quality that exists in the mobile gaming market it’s hard to see the justification for these endless, danger-free tamagotchi-style games prospering. Nonetheless that’s more of an issue with the genre itself than the game, which is briefly fun, but crippingly limited.
Download it for free here.
Played any other World of Rabbit games from other systems? Let me know what you think below.
*The World of Rabbit website seems to have gone down, so I don’t know if that spells the end for the series. I’ve linked to the Facebook page instead.