Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party for Nintendo Wii

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Should've Taken That Left Turn At Albuquerque

Jul 10, 2008 (Updated Jul 10, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Wacky, fast-paced gross-out mini-games.

Cons:Some games have sloppy controls or are impossible to beat.

The Bottom Line: The Bottom Line made it to Pismo Beach and all the clams you can eat.


Normally I think of rabbits (well, bunnies) as cute, fluffy little creatures, suitable for cuddling or feeding mini-carrots to. Imagine my horror, then, at being confronted with the gigantic-headed, gap-toothed, wild-eyed blobs that pass for rabbits in Rayman Raving Rabbids for Wii. Luckily, although there’s nothing cute about these furry freaks, they’re still pretty darn fun to play with… for hours, and hours, and hours.

I dithered about purchasing this game for a while because based on what I’d read, I was confused about the format and gameplay. I had some vague idea about a main story-based platformer where you unlocked mini-games as you went, but that’s not how it works at all. The “story,” insofar as there is one, involves Rayman’s cute little frog friends being kidnapped and replaced with psychotic, deformed rabbits, led by some evil mecha-rabbit robot machine. Or something. I don’t know, it doesn’t matter. Evidently it’s a spinoff of the Rayman series, but Rayman himself doesn’t really appear much in this game.

There are two modes: story mode and score mode. Score mode is just a multiplayer party mode with mini-games, so I’ll discuss the story mode here. It has all the same games plus the plot, such as it is.

What you actually do is play through levels of mini-games, with a mini-game “boss” stage at the end of each level. Supposedly you’re thrown into a gladiator-type ring, and must win 3 of the 4 mini-games to access the boss stage, which is a shooting-gallery type game or a stupid, horrible, annoyingly hard warthog race game. I cannot express my disdain for the warthog race (and specifically its horrible, sloppy controls) strongly enough. Once you beat a level, you’ll be thrown back in your cell for the night, where you can access the game’s extras and your bonus items before heading to the next level.

Anyway, there’s a rotating set of mini-games that you’ll see in each level, with quirky names describing them. The mini-games make good use of the Wiimote and nunchuk’s functionality, whether you’re twirling it like a lasso to shot-put a cow, tracing outlines of food onscreen to feed a starving rabbid, or alternating pushing up and down on the Wiimote and nunchuk to simulate pushing a mining cart. My favorite game (and probably many other people’s) is the rhythm dance game, where rabbids approach a left and right podium in time with the music. Your job is to shake your Wiimote or nunchuk just as they twirl onto the podium, and specially colored bunnies earn you bonus points. Inevitably, some of the games resemble each other or require similar motions, but there’s enough variety to keep it interesting, especially since you don’t have to finish all four games to complete a level.

Some of the games, though, are either incredibly physically difficult or have such poorly-done controls that you just can’t win. For example, one game called “Bunnies can’t close doors” involves slamming the doors shut on a row of occupied outhouses. If the door swings all the way open, they’ll see you, panic, and shoot you with a plunger; the goal is to stay alive for a certain amount of time. However, the door-slamming motion is so sloppy and hard to use that it’s impossible to beat; after a certain point, the game just doesn’t recognize your slamming motions and you can’t possibly keep up. Other games require vigorous yet coordinated motion with both hands for extended periods of time (i.e. shaking back and forth with your left hand and aiming with your right), which could be challenging or impossible for some users. I’m pretty sore the next day after playing for a few hours.

There are a few little extras here and there. By beating all four games in a level, you unlock songs that you can play on your “jukebox” in your cell between levels. You also have some ability to customize your character with wigs, outfits, shoes, and the like, and you unlock additional costumes as you beat levels, too. The options are pretty limited and it doesn’t really matter since you don’t see your character when you’re playing mini-games, but it’s something to do.

The graphics are decent – what you’d expect from the Wii, basically. They repeat a lot of the same graphics and backdrops, so you’ll get awfully tired of seeing, say, the gladiatorial ring, with the same clip of screaming, booing bunnies filling the stands. But the bunnies are amusingly hideous and have funny spit-take reactions, and make some cute gibberish noises. The sound isn’t anything special; there are songs for the rhythm games, but usually not in the other mini-games, other than some sound effects for gameplay (like popping-plunger noises when you shoot bunnies).

I personally like the game’s sick sense of humor and gross-out factor, though this sort of thing might be a turn-off for parents. There isn’t really any actual violence, but dozens of bunnies do get plugged with plungers during the shooting-gallery game, and there are some slightly quease-inducing graphics (like a rolling-marble maze constructed with brains and intestines). As I said before, this isn’t a game for those looking for cute bunnies to cuddle, or even kids at all, necessarily. I consider this a good group/party game for several (coordinated) adults, because it’s exclusively mini-games that play quickly (all are under two minutes) and there’s enough of a variety for everyone to find something they enjoy.

This is a somewhat older game, so it’s now available for $20 from various stores, making it one of the most affordable Wii games out there. There’s definitely enough replay value and multiplayer party-game enjoyment to make it worth buying at that price. If your guests need a palate refresher between marathon Guitar Hero sessions, consider slinging a few ugly bunnies at them at your next party.


Recommend this product? Yes

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