Review: Bunnies blackmailed me into writing this review.
With the recent release of Nintendo's Wii, many people have wondered just how exactly their controller will ?revolutionize? certain game genres by making designers think outside the box. Of these, the one genre that will change little is the mini-game genre. In fact, it's probably going to be one of the most represented genres on the system.
That brings us to perhaps one of the strongest launch titles on the Wii: Rayman Raving Rabbids. From Ubisoft's creative use of the Wiimote and Nunchuck to its quirky humor (like plunging rabbits in the face), this game has it all. While it's a departure from the typical Rayman platformer, this installment is guaranteed to appeal to both series fans and new ones alike.
Plot-wise, the game stars the lovable limbless hero Rayman as he's forced into being a Gladiator in the rabbits' arena. Instead of your normal sword fights, death-defying feats, and men with short skirts, Rayman goes through a series of trials in order to win the magical item of the day: the plunger.
Each level consists of five unique challenges that range from various activities such as rhythmic bunny dancing to a cow tossing level that would make your everyday redneck squeal with delight. For a game that specializes in being a party-game, the single-player mode is surprisingly addictive and fun as a result of over 70 different mini-games to play. With that much variety, there's bound to be a mini-game that will appeal to the inner, demented bunny killer in you. My personal favorites included slapping choir boys upside their head, pulling worms out of bunnies' teeth, and drowning them with carrot juice.
Perhaps the most fun in the game is found in the first-person shooter (FPS) style mini-games in which you have to shoot a plunger at a bunny. Not only is it the Wii's best first-person shooter, but also you'll actually feel like you accomplished something when your score reads ?Best Player in the World!?
With all of the activities in the game, be forewarned: this game will give your arms a workout. Literally. A large majority of the mini-games involve some of the most strenuous movements you'll ever experience in a game, so taking a break between sittings is highly recommended. That is unless you're 6'5, 240 pounds and loaded with muscle?but in that case, what are you doing playing this game in the first place?
For a game that's counted as part of the Rayman series, Rayman takes a backseat to the main stars of the game, the ?rabbids.? Not only are they absolutely hilarious, but Ubisoft did a fantastic job of rendering them in order to show off the Wii's graphical capabilities. Although it's not in the same league as anything on the Xbox 360 or PS3, it shows that the Wii is more than capable of some pleasing graphics if the game has the right artistic team. Although the game's environments are beyond anything that the current-gen is capable of, the lack of progressive scan hurts the game for those lucky enough to actually own component cables.
Audibly, the game is awesome. From its rich and diverse sound effects to hilarious soundtrack, including Bunny-fied renditions of ?Girls Just Want to Have Fun? and ?La Bamba? the game's audio is absolutely beautiful in the Wii's Dolby Pro Logic II. Bringing the bunnies to life are hilarious squeals, yells, and bunny talk that will have you cracking up every time you hear it. One of the most interesting uses of sound is the mini-game where you actually have to hold the Wiimote to your ear and listen to audio clues from a pig. While it's a good idea in theory, the sound coming out of the speaker often sounds muffled and distorted.
Players who are planning on making this game the centerpiece to their multiplayer party gatherings should be aware that, with some exceptions, most of the multiplayer games in Rayman consist of taking turns to see who gets the highest score rather than simultaneous group action.