"Another mini-game compilation for the kiddies"

Rayman has gone from a quirky platforming mascot to in-the-background, mini-game promoting mascot in such a short time, it's hard to imagine where the time went. After having experienced a wonderful success at the Wii's launch with Rayman Raving Rabbids, Ubisoft quickly got to work on a second installment of the new series. While always penned as a Wii and Nintendo DS title, the game did see the console of red lights and the two hundred dollar brick, but it did not quite strike a chord with those gamers. Rayman had found a new home with Nintendo, if only due to his drastic make over. In Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 on the Nintendo DS our favourite limbless man becomes more of a movie extra as the Rabbids take centre stage in a delightful, yet childish experience.

Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 is all about mini games. Gone is the age of guiding Rayman through a series of over the top French escapades. Arrived have the days of taunting, smacking, torturing and shouting at a bunch of loopy rabbits. The premise is the Raving Rabbids want to take over the world because they can. In the Wii version it is explained to you that you are Rayman going undercover to bring a stop to the Rabbids. In the DS version, not much is explained at all. Unless you read the manual. That's alright though, because Rabbids is not about an epic score and enthralling story, rather it is about mindless, touch screen poking fun and in that regard it does deliver, no matter how brief a time that may be.

The game is pretty basic and not chock full of content, although it does deliver plenty of variety. There is a basic Adventure mode where you traverse through multiple locations around the world, including the Pacific (which has a cute picture of an island with a Kangaroo sun baking), America, London and Japan. You can replay completed mini games in Score Mode and test your skills against preset scores. Thirdly, there is multiplayer where you can go up against three other players and finally there is a novelty mode where you can dress up a bunny in some seriously bizarre attires.

Raving Rabbids is about the mini games and there is a large variety to select from. Over 36 of them, to be precise. The only catch to this impressive number is that some of the mini games tend to repeat themselves and require the same repetitive use of the DS' functions. In an early mini games, you have to tap two feet on the bottom of the screen to make your Rabbit run across a tight rope while ducking underneath higher placed objects. It may not sound like much but short, pleasant bursts of mini games like this one are a lot of fun. Unfortunately, you'll shortly come across the tired and true, such as the "pick the right bottle after they have swapped positions" game. The good news is that there is plenty of fun to be had with some of these mini games if you're playing with a few friends. For example, in one mini game, you are in a Cinema doing what will have you kicked out in a flash. That's right- talking on the phone. The only difference is Rayman Raving Rabbids wants you to talk on the phone and then try to get your mates in trouble. It's silly things like this that surprisingly make the short game a great deal of fun.

Each location ends in a music piece. This is by far the best portion of the game, because it feels like playing an easier version of a-not-so-well-constructed Guitar Hero with stereos instead of chord strumming. That may not sound incredibly exciting, but as the song choices are arguably decent, along with the tapping of bubble notes on key with the music, this finale to each location is worth the wait. Of course, the game sorely lacks the on-rails mini games that the Wii version is so popular for.

BLLLLAAARRRGGHHH. When it comes to the audio department, the game does not flourish like a Nintendo title, nor does it need to. This is after all, a simple mini game title and it's not likely you'll be on a menu screen or in an actual mini game to notice a wonderful, ambient piece. The Rabbids retain their now famous screaming and if you are a really terrible person, you can even belt your Rabbid up to hear more of their lovely tunes. Visually it is bright, colourful and really reaches out to its intended audience. Commenting negatively of the graphics would be like comparing a Wii game to a Xbox 360 game. It is hardly valid in a game that doesn't try to be anything other than a compilation of mini games.

Children between the ages of 4 and 12 will get an absolute blast out of this game. It's funny, quirky and filled with enough variety to keep them entertained during long trips to the Grandparents. With single card play, there won't be any squabbles over who gets to play it either. If you don't fit this age bracket, then it would be a wise idea to perhaps look at your other options. The simplicity may not make you as ecstatically pleased as you should after spending full price on a new portable game.

7/10


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 02/11/08

Game Release: Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (AU, 11/22/07)


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