Rayman Raving Rabbids

Reviewed by Cliff Bakehorn, Posted on 2006-11-26


Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: November 19, 2006 Also On: None

Look up the word ďfrivolousĒ and youíll see that one of its definitions is ďa lack of seriousness.Ē I donít think thereís another word that better describes Michael Ansel and Ubisoft Montpellierís Rayman Raving Rabbids. Raving Rabbids is the most ridiculous and hilarious game Iíve ever played in my life. Essentially a collection of 70 mini-games, Rayman Raving Rabbids isnít a platformer of the Rayman norm, but itís still worth checking out for all of its own reasons.

Rayman Raving Rabbids begins with a quick introduction to Raymanís situation; heís on a picnic with some Globox buddies and suddenly a pack of Rabbids appear and abduct Rayman and his friends. Rayman is then thrust into an arena and forced every day to entertain the Rabbids by taking part in mini-games. Every day Rayman is awarded a plunger for his efforts, and eventually he figures out that these plungers will help him escape his imprisonment and the Rabbids.

The storyline is hilarious in this game, but everything is. The Rabbids are a ridiculous bunch; theyíre not the least bit intelligent and their sole purpose seems to be running around like lemmings, causing problems for themselves and beating the crap out of each other with clubs and frying pans. Most of the minis have you going against them in some way; and though some of the minis are similar, theyíre all a lot of fun for the most part.

Iíll go into detail about a few of the repeating minis, but I wonít ruin some of the surprises for you. That would take away a lot from the entertainment value found here. My favorites seemed to be the deeper minis, minis that I could honestly enjoy if they were transformed into fully-featured games. The first one is the on-rails shooter. In each of these minis, which usually last a few minutes each, youíre armed with a plunger-shooting gun (brings back memories of the awful South Park video game). You shoot Rabbids with this gun, and some of them are tricky; youíll even run into Rabbids wearing Sam Fisherís fancy headgear.

Another great one is the three-lap warthog race. Youíll hold on for dear life as you race around different levels on the back of a warthog, and you can whip the warthog to pick up speed and get ahead of the pack. Despite the lack of power-ups, the races are a lot of fun. My favorite mini, and possibly the most common, is the rhythm-based disco mini. Youíll stand in the middle of a stage while Rabbids swarm from the left and the right, and as they line up in rhythm on a circular spot on the ground, you flick the nunchuck or Wii remote to hit the beat. I can really only name a few minis I didnít enjoy, and surprisingly enough one of them was the cow-toss mini. All of the rest of them are fun to play and the Wii remote and nunchuck control them smoothly.

Rayman Raving Rabbids is as creative with its visuals as it is with its gameplay. Itís got the funniest and most absurd art direction Iíve ever seen in a game. The Rabbids are a disgusting bunch of creatures, with mouths so vile that pigs would seem cleaner. The interesting Rayman world isnít opened up as much as Iíd have liked it to be, leaving you with only your cell and the arena to explore, but thatís an argument that pertains more to the game being a collection of minis rather than a platformer. The sound effects are well-delivered, and the music is a treatĖI especially enjoyed hearing some of the songs in the rhythm games, like ďPump It,Ē and ďLa Bamba.Ē

Rayman Raving Rabbids is a mixed bag in terms of replay value. While the 70 minis are fun to play, and can be enjoyed multiple times, I would have liked to see Ubisoft create some sort of incentive to play them over and over and over until theyíre perfected. Bronze, silver, and gold medals are a great example of something that could have been put in place to secure a few more hours of replay. Still, multiplayer and some of the better minis will keep you playing long after youíve completed the game.

A word of caution before playing this game; Rayman Raving Rabbids will wear and tear on your arm muscles much like a prolonged Dance Dance Revolution session will give you the sweaty cardiovascular workout of a lifetime. I highly advise that gamers playing this game on the Nintendo Wii use the Wii remoteís wrist strap, and secure it tightly. Also, the overlooked warning of taking a break during gaming sessions is something I highly recommend against. I played this game for several hours straight and paid dearly in the form of sore arms and wrists for hours. I donít care if youíre the most muscular hunk out there, youíre going to be in pain if you canít put this game down for a few minutes.

Rayman Raving Rabbids, out of all of the Nintendo Wii launch titles, is the funniest and most obscure. Though the thrills wonít last forever, the laughs will. Every time one of those Rabbids lets out a scream, I still laugh. Iíd love to see Ubisoft flesh out these little guys, and Iíd be completely happy with a full-featured shooter, warthog racer, or rhythm-based game starring them. Rayman Raving Rabbids should have a spot in your Wii collection with Legend of Zelda and some of the other great Wii launch titles.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 8.6
Written by Cliff Review Guide

Reviewed by Cliff Bakehorn