Players: 1+ Player Game | Genre: Party
Release Date: 11/15/07
While a lot of the early Wii games people were looking forward to ultimately turned out to be a bust (yes, UbiSoft, I’m talking about Red Steel here), one of the big surprises early on turned out to be a game that few took very seriously – Rayman Raving Rabbids. Brushed off for being a collection of minigames on a system receiving hordes of minigame collections, many Wii owners quickly discovered that the title was loads of fun, and had a hilarious attitude that really made it a blast to play, especially when you had company over. Oh, sure, you’d pique a friend’s interest with Wii Sports, but Rayman Raving Rabbids was the game you’d use to sell them on the console.
The game was followed with ports to other platforms, but it quickly became obvious that the Wii was where it was at. Now, one year later, UbiSoft seeks to give the people what they want by focusing all of their efforts on a Wii-exclusive sequel, one which seeks to highlight the original game’s strengths and make it even easier to get players into the game.
Gone is the adventure mode of old. While you can still string together selected minigames in a sort of campaign, the folks at UbiSoft wisely decided not to keep players waiting if they just wanted to jump straight into the minigames. What’s more, every last minigame included here now supports four players, making Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 even more multiplayer-friendly than the original. Players can opt to either pick Rayman or one of the adorably insane Rabbids and deck them out in all sorts of costumes, with the stuff we saw including everything from fedoras and cowboy hats to weird hair and fake moustaches. At one point, the producer demonstrating the game opted to play as a zombie pirate Rabbid, which the laws of the universe demand must automatically add an extra point to this game’s level of awesomeness.
The game will be comprised of 60 minigames, including four “shooter” levels and six “music” levels (probably the two most popular types of levels from the original). The demo shown at E3 included five minigames – music, football, laundry, “office work sim” and swimming.
The music level was stylistically different than what we saw in the first game, and played a little differently too. Apparently parodying the popularity of the Guitar Hero games, the players are dropped into a garage band kind of scenario, with an on-screen indicator showing commands falling from top to bottom just as in that game. As before, players have to shake the remote and nunchuck to the timing of the beat as indicated by on-screen markers, although the gameplay occasionally switches to one of several different motions. In the demo, our four rabbids viciously tore up the stage as they performed Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water, complete with high-pitched vocals. Every time this game was played, the people in Ubi’s booth pumped up the volume so it could be heard throughout much of the convention’s hangar (undoubtedly much to the annoyance of the Activision folks demonstrating Guitar Hero III in the booth right next door). The game will feature six licensed tunes, although Ubi’s staying tight-lipped on the other five.
Football once again shows the game’s wonderful sense of humor (and possibly also the game’s European origins), as the Rabbids have absolutely no clue how to play the sport. Ultimately, their version of football works out to be a game of keep-away, as each Rabbid charges madly at the one holding the ball, hoping to bash his brains in and steal it for himself (with the winner being the one who holds the ball the longest). Players control the game by simply moving with the control stick and flinging the remote to tackle.
Laundry has the Rabbids washing their dirty underwear, moving the remote and nunchuck up and down to scrub and holding both up to check what they’re cleaning. The idea is to scrub the laundry clean without going at it too long and shredding it. The game ends with the winner cheering and gloating, and the losers passing out or dying from the stench of their own piles.
The “office work sim” is one of the more simple minigames, but probably the funniest one UbiSoft had to show. You see, for the Rabbids, office work involves goofing off as much as you can while the boss isn’t looking, so players have to shake their remote and numchuck around to get in as much play time as possible until the boss pops in, at which time they need to get back in their chair and shut up so they don’t get caught.
Finally, there was the swimming minigame, which required the player to mimic one of various remote/nunchuck motions as fast as possible to be the first to swim a few laps. Quite frankly, this one was a frustrating workout, and even the guy demoing the game seemed to treat it with a degree of dread at the amount of effort it required. Oh well, I guess even the best minigame collection is bound to have a few stinkers.
Graphically, the game looks… well, much like the first one – funny and cartoony, but nothing impressive. However, it’s obvious that that’s not what the game is aiming for, and it’s hard to fault the game for going back to the successful formula of the first title. This is a game aiming to be the ultimate minigame collection on the Wii, a platform that has become infamous for minigame collections. And while it may have its work cut out for it, it’s well on track to achieving that goal.
They've nailed the humor down once again, and the multiplayer options look promising. Now let's just hope all the minigames are as engaging as they were in the first game.