Rayman Raving Rabbids Party TVESRB:
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Developer: Ubisoft Paris
Wii Remote and Nunchuk Compatible
Steering Wheel Compatible
Balance Board Compatible
The Raving Rabbids series of games has a special place in my heart as I have been reviewing them since the Wii was released just over two years ago. It is a series that started and refined the whole mini-game concept on the Wii while offering some interesting characters and a great sense of humor. Ubisoft has released the third game in the series titled Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party. As one would assume this latest release of the franchise focuses on TV parodies. So how does this game stack up? Read on.
Visually speaking TV Party is a solid, but not over the top game. Gone are the pre-rendered backgrounds from the second game and in its place are 3D polygons. I found that this allowed the developers to be a lot more creative this time around and it allowed them to make some pretty interesting environments to play the mini-games in. The textures and whatnot are not overly ambitious, but then again they still look pretty good and the art style that they incorporate helps make the Raving Rabbids series unique.
Of course what would a Raving Rabbids game be without those mischievous characters themselves, and they are back with a vengeance. They are as solidly rendered as I can remember and they animate very well too. Add to this some very interesting costumes, or as they say in TV talk wardrobes, and you have a full meal deal. My favorite was the Zombie Rabbids with their buggy eyes, discolored skin and even some brains showing now and then. Kudos to Ubisoft Paris for the work they did.
Technically speaking the game had some really long load times which mystified me. The graphics do not seem to push the Wii’s abilities; however the game does take some long pauses to load between the menus and the mini-games. I was also a little disappointed by the fact that it is not true widescreen as there are black bars at the each side of the game which resulted in my TV’s real estate not being fully utilized. In this day and age when the more powerful consoles are true widescreen there is no excuse for such. Finally there are a few framerate issues now and then too. Overall, for a game that is on its third iteration, you’d expect issues like these to be non-existent.
The audio in TV Party is a great compliment to the graphics and gameplay. From the Rabbids senseless screams to the music of each mini-game, everything that is available makes for some great atmosphere. During any of the mini-games that you play, each one incorporates various reactions from the slew of Rabbids that you encounter. Their patented yells are front and center here and add to the frantic nature of many of the mini-games you play.
Music is also solid and varied and you will get a kick how each mini-game you play has some great atmosphere because of this. As with the graphics, my favorite was the Zombie stage with music that was creepy but yet frenzied and it really did compliment the on-screen action. However I also got a chuckle from the redneck like music that played during the tractor races as it suited the country theme quite well. Finally, the general sound effects are solid too. From the Rabbids feet hitting the ground as they run, wrestlers falling from the sky, to tractors racing across the countryside, there is noting to be disappointed with here.
The premise for TV Party has Rayman finding himself trapped by the Rabbids and forced to watch Rabbid TV. There is a week worth of programming based on the Rabbids world and you will find yourself watching some fine Rabbid takes on real world television programs. The programming is actually the stage for the 50 mini-games you end up playing in the game.
TV party offers both a solo campaign as well as some multiplayer mayhem.
In the solo campaign each mini-game is basically a stand alone TV program that when you complete it (fill your timeslot), you unlock a new batch of shows to play during the next hour of your stations feed. So effectively you are the stations director/program manager as you choose what mini-games (shows) you place into specific time slots (playing the mini-game). The various shows are categorized by channel each with its own theme such as reality TV, extreme sports, movies and music. I found that this aspect of the single player mode allowed you a lot of freedom during play as you actually pick which games you want to attempt as you open up more.
The actual mini-games themselves range from enjoyable to mundane, with the latter taking a backseat overall. I would expect some boring games as this is the third iteration of the Raving Rabbids series, so the fact that there are a few ‘junkers’ in the pile doesn’t really bother me. There are light gun sequences where you point the Wii Remote at the screen, there are driving sequences where you use the Wii Remote as a steering wheel, there are Wii Remote shaking sequences, and there are even the obligatory music/rhythm games where you shake the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in conjunction with scrolling icons. New to the series is the option to use the Wii balance board to add a bit more interactivity to some of the mini-games. This includes steering with your butt (try explaining that to your friends) to dancing using the balance board along with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The balance board is optional so don’t feel bad if you don’t have one to play this game with.
All in all there is some creativity to the mini-games, but my biggest fear is people will wonder what is really new. Beyond the addition of the option to use the balance board, a lot of the same has returned and many will feel they have been here done that before. However, I don’t necessarily think this ‘been there already’ feeling is that bad, as it allows many to feel familiar with the game while still allowing those true casual gamers, or non-gaming friends over for a night of fun, to pick up the game and play it with ease. And really that is what this game is about is it not? Speaking of which, this is a great time for me to talk about the multiplayer aspects of TV party.
Up to eight players can take to the airwaves of Raving Rabbids television. Of course the game is better played for up to four, but the option to allow eight players in two groups of four to play a turn based series of games adds a little more fun as more people get involved at one time or another. There is some customization in the multiplayer mode as well as you get to decide how the scoring is done as well as the number of days of programming (number of mini-games) you actually get to play through. An added incentive when playing is that the winner of a mini-game gets to decide what show all of those playing will do next. I found I enjoyed the gameplay of the multiplayer, and who wouldn’t as playing with friends is always fun. However there is some downtime while as screens or games load up, and other such tedious stuff takes place. I think that many should take these down times as a time to talk smack with your fellow gamers and laugh about how you just kicked their butt too.
If there is anything that the Raving Rabbids series is really known for, it is its sense of humor and wacky take on things, and TV party is no different. Giving the developers the premise of a TV studio has allowed for some pretty great stuff and there are some really darn creative and funny scenes to watch. From Zombie B-Movies, to over the top wrestling, to gardening with alien plants, there is a lot to enjoy in TV Party. Of course the Rabbids themselves are still the stars and their screams, mannerisms and costumes make for some really entertaining Rabbid TV. If there is one thing that you will really enjoy it is the production value and presentation that make up this Rabbid universe.
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