Rayman Raving Rabbids
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier | Publisher: Ubisoft | Release Date: 2006 | Genre: Party | Website: n/a | Purchase: Amazon
The unique motion controls of the Wii make it the perfect fit for some mini-game action and Ubisoft has stepped up to the plate with Rayman Raving Rabbids. The plot focuses on Rayman, who while on picnic one day is captured by a horde of raving rabbids. Rabbids are basically a bunch of violent and stupid rabbits who force Rayman to perform in a gladiator style arena for their amusement.
While the game boasts over seventy mini-games, most are simply variations of others but it is still an impressive total. Of course, with so many games on offer there was bound to be a few duds. Since you only have to complete three out of the four available mini-games before moving on to the main trail for each day, it is possible to skip the duds. This is a good thing as some mini-games are just plain broken with controls that barely work or fail to register for no reason at all. While the quality of the mini-games varies greatly, there are some really fun challenges on offer so everyone is bound to find something that they will enjoy.
Whether it is pulling worms out of rotten rabbid teeth, hurling or milking cows, slapping singing rabbids or drawing food, the game has a very off-beat sense of humour that makes things interesting. The rabbids are quite funny and star in all of the goofy mini-games. After completing the required trials for the day, you can tackle the main trial which usually involves on-rails shooting sections or warthog races. The shooting sections are a lot of fun as you shoot plungers at the rabbids while shaking the nunchuck to reload. Winning the main trial rewards you with a plunger which Rayman uses to build a ladder with which to escape from his rabbid captors.
The visuals are nothing spectacular but the goofy rabbids add a lot of charm and there is plenty of cool touches. The initially bloodthirsty rabbids soon grow bored of your success before eventually warming to Rayman and cheering him on in the end. You can also unlock all kinds of wacky costumes to customize your hero and the whole game has a very cartoon vibe to it. It’s hard not to laugh when you spot the Sam Fisher style rabbids stealthily attacking you in the first person shooter sections or the maniacal expressions on the rabbids faces as you grab them and hurl them at their friends.
The audio is also pretty good with plenty of familiar tunes like “Girls just wanna have fun” and “La bamba.” The rabbids are a noisy lot, prone to lots of screaming but it thankfully never becomes too irritating. The controls work well for the most part but some mini-games, like the one where you have to shake the nunchuck in order to slam urinal doors just plain sucks.
Once you complete the story mode you can tackle the Score mode in order to unlock bonuses or to challenge friends. The only problem with the multi-player is that most games require players to take turns which can go on for far too long. This dampens the enjoyment a bit but there is still fun to be had. While Rayman Raving Rabbids doesn’t quite live up to its full potential it is a nice indication of the type of games that the Wii is able to offer. It doesn’t take itself very seriously and bar some frustration, it is sure to put a smile on your face.
*Review originally published December 2006.