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The Rub Rabbits

One of the few games that successfully managed to embrace and exploit the unique features of DS when the handheld first launched was Sonic Team's flamboyant offering, Feel the Magic.

Candy coloured graphics blended with kooky, off-the-wall gameplay gave Feel the Magic an irresistible edge that proved hugely playable and delighted gaming freshers and old hands alike.

The Rub Rabbits is Sonic Team's follow-up title and we recently enjoyed a vigorous session of intimate stylus stroking with the game. We found that while understandably lacking the same impact as the original, it still promises to be an immensely fun finger workout.

Like Feel the Magic, Rub Rabbits requires the player to compete for the affections of a silhouetted love interest by completing chapters, essentially a selection of bizarre minigames. There are over 35 different scenarios to overcome in story mode before your amorous urges are satisfied.

The chapters we played were as wonderfully eccentric as those of the original. While the structure of the single-player game seems pretty much identical to its predecessor, the unique spin that Sonic Team manages to put on the simplest of concepts makes this almost impossible to put down.

Avoiding sumo wrestlers as you guide your character the wrong way up an escalator, blowing hearts to your loved one as she's encircled by your rivals, or shooting down sky-divers are just some of the unusual yet completely compelling ways that the romantic antics are played out.

Besides the finger exercising, Rub Rabbits also remains an unusually groovy treat for eyes and ears, with its beautifully vibrant, retro graphical style and light-hearted, pop-flavoured ditties making a welcome return.

In addition to tinkering with your lady, players can also pass the time by composing their own tuneful noodlings using unlocked songs and sounds.

While we've yet to sample the game's various multiplayer modes, we're already sure that Rub Rabbits will munch our gaming carrots with the same gusto as its fluffy-tailed predecessor.

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