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    dumpster_fox's Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii)

    [January 26, 2008 05:08:07 PM]

    I decided to try some Rayman Raving Rabbids games with just two players this time, which opened up the option of the first-person co-op rail shooter. The shooter has the players moving together through varied environments with a toilet plunger launcher, firing at attacking rabbids. The players attempt to hit the rabbids with plungers before they get close enough to inflict damage and frequently enough to rack up a high score. This created gameplay that varied between conservative shot placement and wild firing which was very engaging. Playing it cooperatively with another player created a level of communication based on who was supposed to shoot which rabbid, and we would essentially take turns to chain together 'kills.'

    I also ran into some of the worse minigames of Raving Rabbids. Primarily marred by interface and control issues, these games tended to be frustrating and kill the mood the game was previously perpetuating. Difficult-to-control game characters and oddly timed pattern games were significantly less interesting and fun. The social aspect of the game, however, tended to salvage them somewhat, as other players would do as poorly as you had done, and it became a challenge not against the intended game mechanics but against the game itself.

    Narrative was not an aspect I deliberately chose to pursue with this game, as the single player portion served simply as a means to unlock the minigames for multiplayer accessibility. The games themselves, however, created some sense of narrative, with the different minigames connected in themes and locations. For example, in one game you attempt to launch a rabbid dressed as Superman out of a mine shaft and through the air as far as possible, at which point he becomes stuck face-down in the desert ground outside. Another game has you hovering above the desert landscape in a flying saucer, trying to rescue rabbids dressed as Superman who fly into the game area and become stuck face-first in the ground. These sort of narrative connections are present throughout many minigames, and suggest at a form of progression through the different levels.

    The social experience of the game is a major draw. Even with only two people the game creates a fiercely competitive or cooperative atmosphere. Bystanders also tend to get into the game, cheering for players or simply commenting on the demented nature of many of the various minigames. I get the feeling that Raving Rabbids would be not nearly as fun alone, as a major source of enjoyment comes from the other players themselves and the interactions you have with them. With that removed, the game would be much less attractive.


    This game makes heavy use of the unique nature of the Wii controller. Very few (if not none) of the minigames use a traditional control system, preferring to use the motion sensing and pointing capabilities of the Wiimote and Nunchuck instead. This requires that the player get physically involved with the game and gameplay, drawing them into the game to a higher degree. The game also uses the physical nature of the game to create a frenetic pace, with the player becoming physically exhausted by some of the challenges. The game successfully combines the hectic art style, fast gameplay, and unique control system to create a largely hysterical and frenetic game.

    The rail shooter games are an odd experience in themselves. The player is punished for allowing the rabbids to get close enough to inflict damage, but rewarded for chaining five consecutive hits together, creating gameplay that swings between wild and deliberate. In my experience, the players would take turns with shots when possible, communicating what they needed to rack up higher scores. Once a major offensive wave is launched by the rabbids, however, that tends to go out the window in favor of wild firing and fast-paced targeting. This creates a series of highs and lows in gameplay that are satisfying and contribute to an enjoyable pace.

    Not all of the minigames are as good as others, however. Some of the different dancing minigames (in which players essentially drum with the Wiimote and Nunchuck) could become very frustrating, as the drum patterns weren't necessarily in time to the beat of the song in any way. That combined with the manner in which the drum beats are presented to the player (rabbids slide in from opposite sides of the screen, making it difficult to track one side without losing track of the other) make for a jarring break in the mostly satisfying gameplay. Additionally, controls for other minigames (such as one where you are flying a pterodactyl) are oddly counterintuitive and clunky, requiring you to spend your time fighting them instead of the intended game mechanics. These minigames are massively outnumbered by well-implemented games, however, and can easily just be neglected.

    The game also suffers from a period of down-time between the end of one minigame and the start of another. Making the players agree on one minigame and getting into it causes a hitch in the flow, and an option where you simply play a random string of games was strangely absent. I am also unconvinced that the game has a great deal of replayability, as I found myself avoiding many of the minigames that I had already played. The game does make an attempt at adding longevity by including different levels of difficulty for some of the games, but by and large each one offers a very limited scope of play that once fully tapped does not offer a lot of draw.

    Rayman Raving Rabbids is best described as a very fun game. Every aspect of it has been engineered to make players laugh and throw themselves completely into the gameplay. The show-stealing rabbids are a welcome addition to the previously mediocre Rayman universe, and offer a whole new direction for the franchise. The game makes very worthy use of the unique control scheme of the Wii, and all of the elements of the game come together to create a frenetic and exciting style of play. The artistic direction of the game is wildly varied, well executed, and very memorable, and the minigames themselves make good use of the Wiimote control scheme to create a variety of unique experiences. All in all, Rayman Raving Rabbids is a very good game.
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    [January 23, 2008 05:15:12 AM]

    Rayman Raving Rabbids is primarily a party game for the Wii, although the minigames to be played as a group are unlocked via a story mode (which I decided to forgo in this case to get to the meat of the game). Players utilize the Wiimotes (and Nunchucks in several cases) to mime actions, point at the screen, and control their characters in order to obtain the highest score in that particular round. Minigames include shearing sheep, shooting streams of carrot juice at rabbids, skydiving through rings, playing a version of Simon Says on the exposed gray matter of a rabbit, and flinging a bovine projectile as far as possible. The minigames all generally consist of the player using some form of the Wiimote's motion sensing abilities to pantomime the necessary action, resulting in a frenetic pace and a high-energy atmosphere. All of this combined with the absurd art style of the game creates a gameplay experience that can best be described as "hilarious."


    The game is very easy to pick up, with rabbids demonstrating what the player needs to do with the Wiimote and Nunchuck to play the particular minigame before each one starts. Each one is self-contained, though they often seem to reference others through locales and themes. Individually, the games are fast-paced (due to the inclusion of a timer or some time-critical element in almost every minigame) and very fun to actually play. The sound and art have a large influence on this, with the rabbids serving as comedic relief any time they are on screen, punctuating their actions with their trademark wail. The frenetic pacing of the minigames provide near-instant feedback, and the challenges all seem to be unique enough that it would be worth playing each.

    The social aspect of this game is a major draw. It allows up to four people to participate in the minigames, either by taking turns or allowing them to all to play simultaneously. The competition between the players creates a generally mirthful atmosphere, with the short-term nature of the minigames mitigating the pains of defeat, as you tend to simply become more determined to win the next round. The fact that the minigames are also very easy to pick up and do decently at means that even against veteran players you feel like you have a genuine chance at winning. All in all, Rayman Raving Rabbids is a huge success as a party game, with the players generally having fun at almost all points and a high maintained by the pace and variety of the gameplay.

    All in all I enjoyed the game, but it seems a bit confined by its party-game style and status. I have a hard time imagining myself pulling this out and playing it by myself, and see it more as something that only comes out when you've got a group available. The gameplay seems a bit hampered by the lull in between minigames, as it takes a while for the group to select the next one to play, although I'll need to investigate the existence of a "random" button before I pass any real judgment on the issue, as it seems like that would solve the problem. I plan to try it with only one other person next and see how that changes the experience. For now, however, I highly recommend the game.
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    dumpster_fox's Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 23 January, 2008

    GameLog closed on: Saturday 2 February, 2008

    dumpster_fox's opinion and rating for this game

    Great party game with a very nice dose of humor.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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