Review by WishingTikal
"Craving Rabbids? Look no further."
I always liked Rayman games; they're funny, quirky, original and above all, fun. Even though Rayman started as a peculiar and impressive 2D side-scroller, it ended up three dimensional, acclaimed as one of the best 3D platformers since Super Mario 64. Now it's trying new formulas; after beat'em up/racing, it's going mini-games. I have to say I miss the unique Rayman platformers (after all, that's what he's best at). When Raving Rabbids was first announced and the first trailer shown, it was supposed to be a platformer using the Wii's functions, but somehow in the end, it turned into a party game. I'm not too sure exactly what forced the change, but it definitely harmed the game in a way or the other, although Raving Rabbids still retains the charm and uniqueness of the series.
Everything starts on the most peaceful of all days, when Rayman is having picnic with the Globox babies. Their picnic is interrupted by a handful of Rabbids, some scary screaming bunnies. The Globox babies are made prisoners, while Rayman is sent to an arena where he must overcome some trials that will determine his faith. All that to the pleasure of the Rabbids. This is where the game leaves you off. It's done in such a quirky way though that you can't complain about the lack of any sensible storyline. The game succeeds in often leaving you frowning at its silliness. The rabbids are probably some of the funniest characters created recently. They look cute, yet totally off the wall. And you'll see hundreds of them everywhere. In fact, if it wasn't of the Rabbids, the game wouldn't be half as fun.
Raving Rabbids spawns upon 15 days during which Rayman is held prisoner in his cell. Everyday, you're sent into the arena to undergo 5 mini-games. Once you've cleared them, you're thrown back into the cell. The next day, you're sent back outside for the next set of mini-games. There is a total of 75 mini-games, quite a satisfying number. Sadly, about half of these games are rehashed versions of the same mini-games, meaning only a small portion of these 75 are actually original ideas. Obviously Ubisoft lost precious time when they decided to turn the first version of the game into a party game. Perhaps it's really meant to be that way, but at the end of the day, it feels like there isn't enough.
For one, the game would greatly benefit of a hub world from where you could access all mini-games, as well as do other stuff, instead of the limited cell. Going back continuously to the same arena everyday and walking through the same portals to simply access mini-games quickly drags a certain monotony. There is no need for this arena since all you do is walk into the portals whilst you could simply select the mini-games directly from a list. Much more quicker and effective. Same can be said about the unnecessary cell, which only allows to save and change costumes. The costumes are a sort of short-lasting fun; you collect them from completing mini-games and can dress up Rayman as you wish by mixing different clothes together. It's a neat add-on but it's only for looks, not adding anything to the actual gameplay. You can collect music tracks for the jukebox as well, but that also feels pretty pointless.
As far as the mini-games go, they range from using your memory to using skills and reflexes. The large majority of the games have you move the wiimote and nunchuk up and down in a quick motion to run, or even milk a cow. Not always for the same goal, but when you're continuously repeating the same moves, it can get repetitive to the point of becoming boring (that is, unless you're only playing a few mini-games per day). Especially since the game often have you replay similar mini-games with tweakened content in order to give a sense of false diversity. There does is variety, but you'll find it scarce. Some mini-games have you move the wiimote to spin a jumping rope while shaking the nunchuk to jump over the rope. Others have you repeat a sequence of music, or moving a ball through a maze with the wiimote. To be honest, Raving Rabbids isn't really about the mini-games themselves, but really the originality of the mini-games' concept and setting.
Despite the several mini-games, none of them are very difficult. It's very possible to finish the game within two or three days with all mini-games completed. Although some require a bit more skills, most can be beaten without really trying, leaving the game open to all ages. It's kind of disappointing that there isn't more to the game, but it's fun while it lasts. The only disagreement is that the game will leave your arms hurting from all the up and down fast shaking.
Technically, Raving Rabbids is a good looking game with cool music; it's just too bad there isn't any voice-acting for Rayman, but the Rabbids sound funny enough sound-wise. Over all, it's without any doubt a stylish game with funny stuff going on, and it has the awesome Rabbids to its advantage, but that's pretty much where it stops. It definitely makes a great rental; it's very entertaining, but there isn't really anything that makes it worth coming back to. If you're into bursting out high scores and playing with friends, then this party game might be for you, but the single player mode is too short, repetitive, and incomplete.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/20/07, Updated 12/19/07
Game Release: Rayman Raving Rabbids (US, 11/14/06)
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