Rayman Raving Rabbids
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2006-12-18 Wii Mini-games E (Everyone) Ubisoft

Although Rayman is known for his 3D platform adventures, this time Ubisoft has placed the limbless character into a series of mini-games so crazy that you will blink in disbelief at some of the ideas, shortly before bursting into laughter.

The story begins as Rayman and his froggy friends are having a picnic. Crazed rabbits interrupt the idyllic scene, abducting all the froggies and then Rayman shortly after.

These shrieking demented bunnies toss Rayman in a dungeon, allowing him to come out only to an arena to perform certain tasks for their amusement. It's a bit like being a Gladiator, but doing things that many times make no sense and usually involve plungers, all for the Rabbids amusement. It's also the way the game uses to introduce the mini-games into the single-player mode.

Each time Rayman visits the arena, there are four games available. You don't really know what they are until you walk though the respective archway to begin one. Out of the four trials, you only need to complete three of them to open the main gate and the last task, which gives you as a prize a plunger. Collect three of them and you'll figure out why Rayman needs them: in his cell, there is a small window way up high (and a bird that insists on pooping on his face if he dares looking up). To reach the window you will need a series of plungers to create a pseudo-ladder.

The order in which you complete the trials doesn't really matter, as long as you beat three. Beat all four trials and you get a special unlockable bonus (songs for the jukebox, for example).

So what kind of mini-games do the Rabbids like to play?

I'll start with my favorite so far, Cow Toss. Cow Toss makes you swing the remote around over your head (like a lasso) to pick up speed. To throw the cow, you release the A button and away it goes! The goal is usually to beat a certain distance. The fun part is actually watching and listening to the cow as it goes. Once I managed to control my laughing, I got pretty good at it.

Another of my favorites is the rhythm game where you shake both the remote and nunchuk depending on which platform the Rabbids step on during the dance. They come from both sides of the screen. If one steps on the left platform, you shake the nunchuk; if one steps on the right platform, you shake the remote. It's a lot of fun, but I found that the nunchuk doesn't register the movements as well as the remote. The songs range from disco to rap, and you even get to hear a Rabbids-remix of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

A game called "Bunnies Like to Stuff Themselves" has you drawing the shape of whatever food the bunny is about to eat by using the remote and pressing the A button to draw lines. There's a time limit to achieve a certain score.

There is one game that is as tough as it is funny, yet somewhat disturbing. Bunnies are relieving themselves in toilet stalls (complete with sounds of straining) and the doors randomly open. The purpose is to slap the doors shut and keep the bunnies inside for nearly one minute. You aim with the remote and shake the nunchuk to smack the doors. Take too long closing the stalls and you get screaming Rabbids and a plunger or three on the face.

In "Bunnies are Addicted to Carrot Juice" you are placed behind a bar on the beach. Snorkeling Rabbids will emerge from the water and walk towards you. You have to fill their masks with orange juice and survive for a set amount of time. You aim with the remote and constantly shake the nunchuk to keep pumping the juice.

Another funny game, much like cow tossing, is "Bunnies Can't Fly". Here, you move the nunchuk and remote alternatively to make a wagon go faster and faster and launch the Superbunny as far as you can. You can give them an extra distance boost by exploding the dynamite charges on him.

The plunger-shooting levels are great. Think House of the Dead, where your character moves in a pre-set path, stopping and looking at certain key points where the action occurs. You get a six-plunger gun (there's those plungers again!), aim with the remote, shoot with A, and reload by shaking the nunchuk. It's a ton of fun, especially when you throw a chain out to grab an adventurous bunny that decided to get too close: you get to use it as ammo. In the shooting levels, you get to save an imprisoned froggy at the end.

Other funny and insane activities include pulling worms out of a rabbit's teeth, running with a bomb (you quickly move the nunchuk and remote up and down alternatively), milking cows, warthog racing, smacking choir rabbits, gather pigs into a pen while flying, a brain maze and a few others.

As you complete trials, they will become available in the multiplayer mode. Unfortunately, most of them force you to take turns with your friends, and only a few of them actually allow for more than one player simultaneously.

The character design and animations are very well done, except on those occasions at the beginning of each day when Rayman enters the arena and you see the crowd of bunnies cheering. They look so jagged and choppy that it's hard to believe it belongs to the same game.

Soundwise, I can't praise it enough. All the sound effects are what make the game, and not just with the toilet stalls or flying cows. But in the rhythm games,the screaming and cheering of the bunnies got in the way of hearing the music properly.

The fact that there is only an autosave feature every time you go to your cell really disappointed me. You can't save anywhere in the arena, and there are no checkpoints either, so if you get frustrated with a game (because some are strangely easy and others painfully hard) and decide to turn the console off, your progress is lost. You must go through the trials and get a plunger to end the day and return to the cell.

Other than these downfalls, Rayman Raving Rabbids offers tons of creative ways to use the remote and nunchuk, and greatly shows how versatile the Wii can be in terms of motion sensor controls. It's quirky, hilarious and makes us look like dorks while playing it, which is even more fun!

Special thanks to Allison Guillen, Nintendo and Ubisoft for providing a copy of this title.