Rayman Raving Rabbids
November 19, 2006 (NA)
December 7, 2006 (AU)
December 8, 2006 (EU)
December 14, 2006 (JP)
Rayman Raving Rabbids is a break from the traditional platforming roots of Rayman, instead offering a collection of minigames utilizing the Wii controls. For the most part, these minigames are fun and good indicators of what the Wii controller can do, however, some of them fall flat on their face.
Rayman may be the player-controlled character, but the true stars of the game are the rabbids. These creatures can be summed up as so: psychotic bunnies hell-bent on destroying anything in sight – including each other. The rabbids will have you rolling on the floor laughing at their antics. Initially they are quite hostile toward Rayman, as they kidnap him and force him to take part in a bunch of minigames in a gladiator-like arena. But eventually they warm up to him, cheering for him and adding plush furniture into his cell, among other things. But though the rabbids warm up to Rayman, they keep their insanity and determination to destroy.
The rabbids force Rayman to compete in a series of over sixty minigames, though quite a few of them are repeats of earlier ones. The minigames come in sets of five, with the final two games in each set being a dance game and a “boss” level. The boss levels are usually on-rails first-person shooter type levels with a twist – you have a plunger gun rather than an actual gun. These make for some of the most enjoyable parts of the game, and shows that the Wii remote is perfect for the FPS genre. Aiming is precise, and the rabbids’ antics as they attempt to annihilate you with bombs, ninja rabbids, and their own plunger guns, will elicit laughts as you try to shoot them down.
The dance levels are also a highlight of the game. The fourth game in each set will have Rayman on-stage dancing with a bunch of rabbids to tunes such as “La Bamba” or “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” – all in rabbid-speak, of course. You’ll have to shake the Wiimote or Nunchuk as the rabbids reach the corresponding point on each side of the stage, in time with the music. These stages are fun, although it’s disappointing that the ones later in the game reuse the same music from earlier.
In fact, quite a few of the games are rehashes of earlier games. It’s pretty frustrating to see a more difficult repeat of an especially annoying minigame appearing later on in the game. Many times these are the very games that you didn’t want to see again, so to have to play through a harder version is pure tedium.
Most of the minigames make good use of the Wii’s remote and nunchuck. Besides the dance and FPS stages, you’ll be using the controllers to guide balls through mazes in a bunny’s brain, throw cows, play jump rope, draw circles around farm animals to group them according to species, and play whack-a-mole with the rabbids – just to name a few. But some of the controls in the minigames are counter-intuitive and in some cases just plain broken. For example, one stage requires you to guide a baby pig back to its mother while avoiding the rabbids hidden underground. You know when a rabbid is near by listening to the pig’s squeals coming from the Wiimote speaker. Unfortunately, the sound cuts out all the time, so it basically becomes a matter of blind luck. And of course this is one of the repeated games, so you have to do it again later.
The graphics in Rayman Raving Rabbids are colorful, cel-shaded visuals that suit the game perfectly. The character models for the rabbids are spot-on and fitting of their psychotic personalities. The way they act, run around, and interact with each other and the environment will truly give you an idea of just how sick and twisted these creatures are. But, at the same time, you can’t help but fall in love with them. There is no widescreen or progressive scan support though, contrary to the game’s manual.
The sound is fairly standard fare. The rabbids again steal the show here though, with their insane shrieks of “DAAAAAA!” every time you do something to them (or, for that matter, they do something to you). Everything else is just “meh” except for the bunnified songs in the dance stages. You would think that listening to the rabbids and the music in those stages would get nerve-wracking and annoying eventually, but it never does.
Multiplayer is pretty disappointing. You have to play through the games in the single-player campaign in order to unlock them for multiplayer. Some of the games utilize the “Pass the Wiimote” system, while others use two controller simultaneous multiplayer. It’s fun to see your friends acting like idiots while performing the actions required for some of the minigames, but the hilarity never reaches that of WarioWare – and that’s a much more polished and overall more fun game than Rayman.
Rayman Raving Rabbids was a decent launch title for the Wii, and even in the flood of minigame shovelware trash that pollutes the Wii’s library it’s one of the better options. The rabbids are some of the funniest video game characters of this generation of gaming, and it’s worth looking into the game for just the humor alone. Though some of the minigames are admittedly bad, the good ones outweigh the bad ones – especially the shooting and dancing stages. Still…it’s a minigame compilation, and there’s very little that a serious gamer will be able to get out of it. It’s a decent diversion, but there are far better titles in the Wii’s library at this point.
Great sense of humor.
Rhythm and shooting sections.
Broken controls on some minigames.
Very little for a serious gamer.