The Jumping Flash series never got the credit it deserved, although it had brought us for the first time the feel of a 2D, side-scrolling platformer in a fully 3D world viewed in first person. Robbit Mon Dieu, the oddly named sequel, tries a different approach to the 3D wackiness of the first two games, but it fumbles gameplay and leaves the player unfulfilled.
The inhabitants of the Hanauma star are in desperate need of... an errand boy! Robbit, the triple-jumping robotic rabbit from the previous two games, arrives just in time to escort people to their homes, catch frogs, flip eggs, and accomplish an assortment of other meandering, unconnected tasks. While some might say this variety is better than the formulaic JetPod- or MuuMuu- collecting of the first two games, each mission only lasts a few minutes. So short are the missions, in fact, that many times the wacky introductory cinematics are longer than the following stretches of gameplay. Rather than feeling like individual missions, they end up feeling more like minigames. Each of these mini-missions uses the tried-and-true Jumping Flash maneuvers, but the end result feels empty and stale. Each mission rewards the player with Kiwi coins that you can spend in totally useless ways. The primary use for money is for buying DotSnacks at one of the two Secret Huts found on the map and collect all 100 item cards included with the DotSnacks. Each card has a picture of an item from Jumping Flash history that animates slightly on closer inspection. There is no point to this exercise, and it is not fun. Additionally, players can buy weapon refills in the levels from shop robots. While this may sound more useful, the weapons themselves have little purpose, overall.
Obviously, gameplay was not the focus of Robbit Mon Dieu. Rather, Sugar and Rockets, the series' adoptive parents, decided that wackiness and character should be the focus. This side of Robbit Mon Dieu is done very well. The Hanauma Star's inhabitants exude fun and charm. The mischievous Toril-chan has a destructive fetish for buttons. Johnny really likes carrots and hates gophers enough to reward Robbit with a "sexy pose" after Robbit saves his garden. Captain Hanada doesn't believe Robbit is all he's hyped up to be, and he is constantly testing Robbit's abilities. And these are just a few of the bizarrely delightful characters that live on the lush little orb. If the gameplay were there, Robbit Mon Dieu might've gotten legs for non-PlayStation media.
Like the shift away from gameplay, Robbit Mon Dieu has taken an odd turn away from technology, as well. While the designs are attractive, their 3D implementations are sorely lacking. The characters' models and textures are far too blocky, and they have extremely grainy textures. Worse still, the game's display resolution is anachronistically low, giving the game a severe case of jagged pixels and dithering. While some of the effects are nice, the overall visual package is one of a first-generation PlayStation title, placing it below even the three-year-old Jumping Flash 2. Aurally, Robbit Mon Dieu scores more favorably, but sound seems like more of an afterthought than in previous games, especially in the musical department. This could, however, be due to the fact that you must try harder to stay in a stage long enough for a tune to loop. Without a real level progression, one can't really hope for the same themed music of the previous games. The sound effects are good, and the voices are all well done, but much of this will be lost on those not utterly fluent in Japanese.
Maybe we'll get lucky. Maybe Robbit Mon Dieu, like Pocket MuuMuu, is just another disappointing offshoot of the Jumping Flash meant to tide us over until a real sequel arrives. With the amount of Japanese voice in the game, it's a virtual guarantee that this game will never make it to the States. Due to the amount of Japanese text and voice, Robbit Mon Dieu is not import friendly, meaning that only Jumping Flash super-fans should give it a look. Robbit Mon Dieu has the world right, but it lacks the technology and gameplay to make people actually want to play in it.