#739 Rayman Raving Rabbids

Posted: 3rd February 2013 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

214th played so far

Genre: Party
Platform: Wii
Year of Release: 2006
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft

When we started, we figured we’d play the three party games as they’re supposed to be played – several people gathered around the TV, playing together, going against each other and having fun that way. That is, after all, how we played Buzz Quiz TV, a game that’s since become a standard for when friends visit.

Rayman Raving Rabbids seems as good for it. A nice amount of mini games featuring Rayman and his apparently new antagonists, the insane, evil and yet adorable Rabbids. That should allow for some fun, right?

Not really. When we tried to cover it a few weeks ago, having a friend over, we discovered the game actually requires you to unlock mini games in story mode before you can really use them. So it got delayed. And that’s where we are now. Yahtzee covered how much of a dickish move this is when he reviewed the time it takes to unlock Sonic and Solid Snake in Super Smash Bros Brawl… this annoyance goes triple here.

Our Thoughts

You know what? I don’t think we’ll bring this out at that point, when we bring out the other party games. While it is a multiplayer game, that’s basically just to assist you in score attacking the game.  With all the other control issues and so on, it just isn’t as easy to break out as, say, Mario Kart Wii or the Super Smash Bros series.

But then, the game wasn’t just marketed as that, instead using funny viral marketing videos that emphasized, well, dancing bunnies. Like many people my first exposure to the world of the rabbids were through these amazing adverts which perfectly summed up what the rabbids were… cute but utterly psychotic.

So it’s a mini-game game, rather than a party game as we understand it. Multiplayer wasn’t the focus. Surely that means we have great mini games? Simple, well controlled, relying on different skills. Straightforward, with each of them easy to jump into. Few games are able to get the balance right in a mini-game game, something we will really address when we cover the WarioWare titles.

Sort of a fail here too. A number of the mini games are fairly straightforward and easy to pick up – for example, cutting out items for a hungry bunny to eat, which comes down to proper Wiimote control and is fairly easy to beat. There’s a recurring rhythm game (featuring the bunnies. That. Can. Dance) that involves you shaking the Wiimote or nunchuk at the right time – fun and good to play. But then there’s the disasters.

You unlock the mini games in groups of four – they’re days of battling in the arena Rayman has to go through. These, however, don’t seem to follow much of a progression and we, like apparently many others, got stuck on day two. Yes, day two is apparently seen as the most difficult to beat, out of 15 in total… Not a good introduction. Most of this comes down to controls, in particular in Bunnies Can’t Close Doors (which after a brief Google search appears to be rather infamous) – you need to close toilet cubicle doors that the bunnies don’t look, so they keep swinging open. This needs to be done through pointing at it and doing a closing motion with the nunchuk. Should be easy, but because the areas you need to point at are not only small, but also in places you don’t expect, it took us over an hour to beat it. Not great for a mini-game game – you want to keep moving. The frustration that this mini-game caused resulted in the contents of a fruit bowl to be thrown across the garden in a rage…

There’s more issues like that, such as a ball rolling game (you know, guide it through a maze, don’t have it fall in the holes) that has a difficult time limit mostly because of the unresponsiveness of these controls. It just reacts so sluggishly, it works too much against you to be fun.

The unlocking story – you need to beat these challenges to be released by the bunnies – is a nice excuse, though it feels a bit unnecessary, with its restrictions getting in the way (as mentioned above).

Once the game gets it right, though, it really gets going. The bunnies are ridiculous and act so over the top, you just can’t help but smile. It’s brilliant to see what their next antic is, and especially the shooter levels have so many touches and smaller designs that it’s lovely and great fun, making it a star game for that alone. The mini games are mostly quite creative, making good use of the many options of control offered by the Wiimote (you will want to avoid the PS2 version for this reason). The sounds and visuals are brilliant. It’s just a shame you have to go through so much of the difficult games before you can.

The graphics themselves are a bit middling at time, though. While they work well in most of the mini games, the arena fly by has very obvious Rabbid sprites that look blurry and just a bit too wrong, making for a bit of a disappointment when you first see it. You get the feeling they ignored this semi-hub a bit too much, and while they focus the story on it, it would actually have been better if they’d used a simple menu here – it’d be less disappointing, would make it more clear what you’re doing and pull you out of the game less. Here you can really notice both that this game was designed with the previous generation of consoles in mind as well as the implication this has on the capabilities of this then-new console. In later games things are improved somewhat in terms of graphics whilst the gimic remains pretty much the same.

It sounds like later games improved these issues, while featuring lesser mini games, but overall, from the anticipation we built up (both in looks and gameplay) it’s been a bit of a disappointment. It’s mostly fun enough with the mini games (if you can resist getting too upset at the remaining ones), but don’t expect to have another game for your at-home multiplayer fun.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes great fun and sometimes remarkably gruesome Raving Rabbids is by no means a game that everyone will enjoy. It’s utterly ridiculous and the quality of the mini-games varies from amazing to utterly useless. Still, for a bunch of mates it can be a lot of fun… just remember to unlock them all first!