Inside Pulse 12

Review: Rayman Raving Rabbids (Nintendo Wii)

Rayman: Raving Rabids
Publisher: Ubi-Soft
Genre: Party Games
Release Date: 11/20/2006

The Rayman series has quite a gameography at this point, starting way back in 1995 with the Atari Jaguar, PS1 and Sega Saturn. Now as a launch title for Nintendo Wii, Ubi Soft tries another Rayman party game attempt, this time making full use of the new style of controller with Nintendo Wii.

1. Story
Rayman is just having a relaxing afternoon having a picnic with the Baby Globoxes, and suddenly from under the ground, a massive amount of Rabbids come to crash the party and kidnap all of the babies. Rayman has to battle through all of the Rabbids in a giant area, taking tests of feat against various Rabbids to free his Globox friends.

It’s nice to see an established franchise reinvent itself with a totally new adversary. It opens up so much for the character to experience that feels different from other games in the series. Kudos to Ubi Soft for coming up with an engaging new world for Rayman to exist in.

Story Rating: 10/10

Graphics
The Rayman series has traditionally been graphically impressive, starting with gorgeous hand drawn 2D and moving into vibrant 3D worlds with sequels. Raving Rabbids continues the bright, colorful look and feel of the Rayman universe, but doesn’t make a graphical leap forward like one might expect with a new console (although you shouldn’t be expecting that out of Wii to begin with).

Rayman himself is a limbless, neckless fellow who is covered in red, yellow, purple and other colors. There are a bunch of other outfits that Rayman can wear as well, and those are colorful and fun as well.

The graphics on the Wii aren’t as impressive as other next generation systems, and this game looks arguably worse than Rayman 3 did on Gamecube. The game focuses mainly on the Rabbids in the minigames, as Rayman is often not seen on the screen. In the jail hub scenes, Rayman is controlled in a platform style to move from level to level, and he looks similar to the way he looked in Rayman 2.

The real stars of the game are the Rabbids, and they have the most graphical fun. Whereas Rayman is basically the same as in previous games, there are a variety of Rabbid designs, from small to large, all ridiculous and cute. They animate well and at times appear in great number on the screen at once.

The graphical style is charming and off-the-wall, and compliments the gameplay style extremely well. No support for Progressive Scan hurts a bit though.

Graphics Rating: 5/10

3. Sound
Rayman Raving Rabbids has a unique sound presentation that matches the graphics and gameplay very well. There is a variety of upbeat, cheery music that does a good job of making the game seem like a fantasy world. I noticed a few songs that must be covers, including La Bamba and Girls Just Want To Have Fun. There are a number of music-inspired mini games, most notably the Disco dancing.

The rabbids themselves have unique sounds for each type of Rabbid, and these do a great job of adding a layer of personality to the characters beyond the cute/scary graphical style. Rayman himself continues not to talk, and all dialogue in the game is done using text and gibberish sounds.

Sound Rating: 7/10

4. Control and Gameplay
Rayman Raving Rabbids is a collection of several dozen mini games, similar in nature to Mario Party, where Rayman battles against the Rabbids for his freedom. Each game makes a different use of the Wii control, sometimes using just the Wii Remote and other times also including the Nunchuk.

Each group of levels ends with a first-person shooting level, where instead of guns and bullets, Rayman has a weapon that fires up to 5 plungers. The movement in these levels is done automatically and on rails, so these seems most like old shooting arcade games like Lethal Enforcers. Hitting Rabbids with pinpoint control square in the face with a plunger is a satisfying experience each time around, and there are a number of hard to hit and hidden Rabbids that can be plucked with careful aim of the Wii Remote.

There are some on-rail racing levels that have the player shake the nunchuk and wii-mote to mimic running. This reminded me of the old Track and Field button mashing, but with furious arm motion that almost feels like a workout after repeated tries.

Some of the minigames are on the gross side, including one where Rayman is pulling worms out of the teeth of the Rabbids. If the worms aren’t plucked in time, they eat away at the teeth. Maybe there is some kind of subliminal dental hygiene message in there for kids!

The response of the Wii controllers is well executed overall, but there are a few hiccups. On the levels that use motions of both hands to register hits, there are sometimes false hits recorded by the nunchuk, seemingly having to do with the waving of the wire between the Wii remote and the nunchuk. You just have to make sure that the wire has plenty of give and isn’t constantly colliding with one of the controllers.

If any one game at the Wii launch does the best job of showing all the possibilities of what the Wii Control scheme can do, it’s Rayman Raving Rabbits. You get a taste of so many things, which make you wonder what developers will do taking fewer concepts and fleshing them out over a full game.

Control and Gameplay Rating: 8/10

5. Replayability
The single player mode brings Rayman through several dozen minigames, with only a few that are repeated regularly (the dancing, the end of level plunger shooter).

In addition there are a bunch of unlockables that extend the life of the game, mostly in the form of new outfits for Rayman to wear as he battles the Rabbids. These are earned by performing well in the minigames and completing all the minigames in the single player mode. Some of the unlockables are very amusing and fun, but none really add to the gameplay outside of a collection element.

The game really shines in multiplayer, with players lined up wildly waving their Wii remotes to milk a cow or slam the door on a Rabbid in an outhouse. The games are easy enough to play where anyone, including non-gamers, can get into them and compete at a reasonable level.

Replayability rating: 8/10

6. Balance
There are a large amount of unique mini games in Rayman Raving Rabbids, with each having a different level of difficulty.

As the game progresses through the various levels, each of which contain 4 minigames and a final challenge, the overall difficulty of the tests gets harder. However, within each level, there seems to be 1-2 very easy’ tests and then 2-3 much harder ones. Not sure if this was by design, but it does create a somewhat uneven progression through the game.

With that said, the balance within the minigames themselves is well done, and multiplayer games are balanced and well done.

Balance Rating: 6/10

7. Originality.
It’s great to see Ubi Soft try again with a Rayman party game after the last one (Rayman Arena) was dull and not fun to play. The Rabbids are an original new group of baddies, and the variety of Rabbids is impressive. There is the burly guard Rabbid, and the super smart one and the gigantic Rabbid that can trounce Rayman.

There is a great deal of personality in the game without much story or dialogue. The character designs are fresh and fun, and the gameplay fits in with the

Originality Rating: 10/10

8. Addictiveness
The mini games are varied and mostly fun, with a few clunkers (drag the Rabbid icon around a maze? Lame), but overall a solid lineup of craziness. A large part of the addictive quality of this game comes in the appeal of the Rabbids. If you like the Rabbids and are entertained by their ongoing antics, chances are you’ll come back to this game after every minigame has been unlocked.

With that said, the style and story could bring you to the party but the gameplay ease and fun will keep you coming back.

Addictiveness Rating: 8/10

9. Appeal Factor
With so many games at the Wii launch, it almost became hard to stand out. There are a large amount of movie-licensed games ported from the last generation, so despite having a similar look, Rayman stands out as original and fresh. The Rabbids are very appealing as enemy characters, and it would be surprising to see them in a spinoff game of their own. The large variety of minigames in Rayman Raving Rabbids also are of note, as some (like cow tossing) would hook any onlooker instantly.

Appeal Factor: 8/10

10. Miscellaneous
It’s great to see Ubi-soft so enthusiascally support Nintendo from the start for the Wii, although with the buzz and launch success I expect most other 3rd parties to follow suit. Rayman Raving Rabbids is perfectly tailored for the Wii, with a variety of uses for the Wii Remote in fun and unique situations. However, like many Wii launch titles, the game feels like a tech demo at times, with random gameplay strung together with a loose storyline, rather than a cohesive game. That small complaint aside, RRR is a good choice for early Wii owners.

The box is the typical white Wii case, with the zany RRR logo surrounded by Rabbids running from a smirking Rayman. The manual is unfortunately in black and white, which is a shame because it would have been nice to see some additional color artwork of the adorable Rabbids.

Miscellaneous Rating: 7/10

The Scores
Story: 10/10
Graphics: 5/10
Sound: 7/10
Control & Gameplay: 8/10
Replayability: 8/10
Balance: 6/10
Originality: 10/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Appeal Factor: 8/10
Miscellaneous: 7/10
Total Score 77/100
Final Score: 7.5

Short Attention Span Summary
Breaking out of the normal Rayman platforming formula, Rayman Raving Rabbids succeeds as a collection of fast paced minigames. It’s as if many if not all of these games were designed for play using the Wii Remote, which makes it interesting to see how they will play out on PS2 and Xbox 360. Despite a load of cartoony party-style games available at Wii Launch, Rayman Raving Rabbids rises above.