Rayman Raving RabbidsESRB:
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Developer – Ubisoft Montpellier (France)
Publisher - Ubisoft
Anyone who knows Ubisoft knows that Rayman is one of their franchise characters. And anyone who has been following the development of the Wii knows that Ubisoft has been on board almost since day one. Well put Rayman and the Wii in the same mix and you get one crazy game that makes a great addition to the Wii library of games.
Many critics of the Wii are quick to point out how underpowered the machine is compared to the Xbox 360 and PS3 as it is about 2x the power of the GameCube. That is still powerful enough to make some great looking games, but as the Wii is early in its lifecycle it maybe sometime before we get some really good looking games from the Wii. That being said, Rayman Raving Rabbids is a pretty good looking game, if not so much for it being true next-gen, but for at least being stylish and artistic. The bunnies in the game are very well designed, each having a specific look to it. The backdrops for each level are also well designed and have a very specific look to them. I would have to say that a lot of effort went into giving this game a very particular style, and it works very well. The game supports 16:9 widescreen, but there is some debate as to whether or not it runs in progressive scan. Regardless the game is colourful and there are very few anomolies to be found during gameplay. I can’t wait to see what future iterations of this game will do on the Wii as developers realize that there is more power in the white box. Overall people should be happy with the on screen visuals as they fully suit the game.
Sound is another area where style continues to take over. Although the music is remixed versions of other songs (e.g. La Bamba) they are done utilizing the voice talent of all the bunnies. As corny as this sounds it all makes sense in this game and further adds to the atmosphere of the game. There is a compliment of other bunny sound effects too, such as bunny cries, laughs, yells and even belches. The sounds found in Rayman Raving Rabbids is a further extension of the originality of this game and helps make a good overall package even better.
Rayman fans have become quite accustomed to great platforming in any previous versions of this game. Those that buy the Wii version are in for a very big surprise, there is no platforming going on this time around. The Wii exclusive Rayman Raving Rabbids is a series of mini-games that are playable both in single player and multiplayer play. There is a story in this latest version of Rayman, but this time around to advance you play a series of mini-games to venture further into the game. The crux of the story is such that Rayman is kidnapped by a group of bunnies who are very focused on taking over the world. Rayman is forced into the bunnies prison where he is forced to compete in a series of games all for the enjoyment of said bunnies. He needs to win more and more of these games in order to gain the trust of the bunnies who will eventually assist in his endeavour to get out of their world.
The total number of mini-games totals around 70. Compared to other types of games this is a pretty large number, but what makes this even more interesting is that many of the games seems to have some level of depth and entertainment to them. During the single player game your central hub is a coliseum in the game where you can take part in four challenges in a virtual game day. You have to complete the first three in order to open up the fourth, which is basically a boss-like battle. Make your way through each level in an effort to get your Rayman butt out of bunnyville. There are varying types of mini-games too but something that caught my attention what that some later mini-games are based on previous ones before it. Regardless of some of the repetitiveness the available mini-games are, for the most part, enjoyable and quite innovative. From such things as DDR style games to on-rails sequences, you’ll find a lot here to take pleasure in. Some of the games do seem shorter then others, and like many different types of mini-game titles, you’ll learn to love some of these mini-games while just liking others. Of course each game utilizes the Wii-mote in innovative ways, and very much like Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, this game suits the Wii’s controller abilities.
The multiplayer aspect of Rayman Raving Rabbids takes the mini-games a bit further and allows for split screen mayhem. However I should point out that not all of the available 70 mini-games during single player are available for play at the same time. Some of the games have players taking turns to get the highest score. As well, not all games are available for 4 player simultaneous play as some are limited to two player. I found that this game was not as intuitive for casual players as say, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz was. However, with time and effort some of those casual or non-gamers got a grip on the mini-games.
The big draw in the overall game is the bunnies themselves and a somewhat sick sense of humor found during the single play experience. Each bunny seems to have some sort of personality to it, and this was quite refreshing to see in a game with so many secondary characters. As for the somewhat sick sense of humor, well once you play the game you will know exactly what I am talking about. For example, one mini-game has you shutting the doors of outhouses while various bunnies try to do their business. Overall the creativity that went into each bunny and the various humourous situations is very well done indeed.
Rayman Raving Rabbids is not the platform game many will expect as it leans on mini-games to further the story along. With innovative use of the Wii-mote and some pretty stylish graphics and sound, this game is definitely worth the price of admission. The addition of multiplayer is an added bonus too.