Rayman: Raving Rabbids
The Wii and mini-games - it’s a combination many have said would be all the console would be good for. As narrow-minded as that sounds, I wouldn’t doubt such a statement and this is because mini-games provide good party-gaming fun. I mean, look at Buzz and Guitar Heroes, ‘mainstream’ gaming that is open to anyone who wants something more than just shouting at the TV contestant about how stupid they are, or air-guitaring around the living room to their favourite music. Seemingly simple, interactive gaming fun where the number of people in a room and enjoyment are directly proportional. In this respect Rayman: Raving Rabbids does at times stand up well against the rest.
From what I gather from the final video (I skipped the intro video), Rayman was having a picnic before he got pounced on by a load of rabbits and dragged away to a Gladiatorial sandpit ring, surrounded by rabbits cheering for his death. His death by failing mini-games, that is. Played out over a number of ‘days’, each of which provides four mini-games and concludes with a final game (usually an on-the-rails FPS), and after those five games it’s onto the next ‘day’ of puzzles. At the end of each day, you get a chance to play some unlocked music tracks, dress Rayman in a number of combinations of attire, and reply the day’s games (humorously represented by a toilet upon which Rayman sits and daydreams). Every time you finish a day, Rayman wins a plunger (for some unknown reason it’s the comical item in this game, and quite comical is its use throughout) and is used as a means of escape.
And that’s the Story game. Really, there’s nothing much more here to see. There’s also a Score mode - essentially all the mini-games you’ve played - which provides quite a bulk of gaming pleasure and playing through the games open up locked bonuses. Within the mode itself, certain games cannot be played until you’ve tallied up a target number of points (from other Score-mode mini-games). But with the majority of the 70-plus mini-games already opened and playable in multiplayer mode, you’re allowed to get stuck in straight away (although, actually, I’m not sure if you have to open them up first with a play through in single-player mode - mind, playing the single player with friends is just as good, where everyone gets to play something different). There are a variety of games: hammer-throwing a cow; launching Super-Bunnies as far as gravity will take them; bowling down bunny pins; dancing to the music beat; marble mazing in a bunny’s brain, and much more general whacking-the-crap-out-of-bunnies.
Unfortunately, the majority of the multiplayer games are one-after-another games meaning that your friends will have to sit and wait their turn. There is a tally of won games, which is nice but not quite qualifying as a substitution.
But that’s not all bad because watching Raving Rabbids can (nearly) be as fun as playing. Playing with my brother and sister - the former having not seen the game being played before - we randomly selected the Simon-Says style game (memorise and repeat the sequence). A lengthy sequence that I can’t quite remember makes me hit the wrong rabbit (oh, you really have to hear the noises that they make - absolutely fantastically comical), and at that very instance the bunnies burst out loudly, yelling and laughing at my uselessness. And milliseconds later, loud ecstatic laughter comes from my siblings and myself, and I know what happens when it goes wrong.
And that’s the magic of Rayman: Raving Rabbids. Even though it’s all mini-games, and as much as you may hate the association of Wii and kiddy-esque mini-games, the humour is something that everyone can enjoy. It should be not be considered as the game’s saving grace away from being labelled as a kid’s game, but as a justifiable reason for you (yes, you of older than teenager age) to play Raving Rabbids. Okay, yes, there are actually repeat mini-games (with slight variations to make it slightly more difficult), and there are only a limited number of innovative uses/movements for the Wiimote and nunchuck (albeit done well), and not all of the mini-games are instant hits. But each and every one has one slice of humour, big or small, that will put a smile on your face, if not make you laugh-out loud.
What I said about the Wii being a novelty? I admit, it’s still on the cards. But for what Nintendo want out of the console, being a device of collective fun for everyone, Raving Rabbids successfully puts that firmly in place.
Six out of ten