Rayman Raving Rabbids (Wii)
(possible spoilers...if you care about knowing what mini-games you'll see)
Funniest game ever. That completely sums up the latest Rayman. Not every mini-game is great, but nearly every one makes you laugh your ass off. Whether you're throwing a cow, kicking a bunny, or pulling worms out of a rabbit's nasty mouth, you're going to be on the floor.
I played through this whole game with my older brother over the weeekend. So, yes, it is a little short, but I definitely see myself coming back to it. It's a lot like that box set of Arrested Development, or you're favorite cult movie. You've seen it a million times, but you want to show it to friends because you know they'll have a blast watching it. There were rarely any games that didn't make my brother and I laugh, and many of them made us laugh hard enough we couldn't play.
Not all of the games are winners, but that's something you'd expect out of a game with 75 mini games. I'd say maybe 5 of them frustrated me, and another 5 were too short or simple. Even some of the simple ones were made worthwhile just by comic value, though. The first jump-roping game is good because the bunnies pop out of the side of the screen to scream while you try to jump. It's a pretty good distraction. The few games that you play by shaking the nunchuk and remote are fun because it is hilarious to see someone drumming away at the controllers like a maniac. There is no way to do it without looking ridiculous. The main offender as far as frustrating games go was the second jump-roping round, and the game where I was leading a pig to safety I'm fairly sure I just got through on luck.
Aside from the ten or so less-than-perfect games the mini-games are a blast. My favorite of the level mini games was probably Bunnies Have Slow Reaction time, a game that's a lot like the little labyrinth boards with the marble. You tilt the table with the remote and guide the marble to the end. This game starts with one bunny hitting another, and then the camera zooming into the hit bunny's brain. You guide a marble around past the holes by tilting the remote, and when you get to the end the bunny that was hit finally reacts, giving it a 30-40 second reaction time. But for shear hilarity value Bunnies Have a Great Ear for Music is definitely the best. In this one you find the bunny that's singing out of tune (read: singing like it's insane) and slap it. I lost this the first time because I was laughing too hard. For the record the game isn't exactly politically correct. If that wasn't bad enough, there is a gangsta costume, that when put on Rayman turns his face black.
The best mini games are the last of the round. In each level there are 3 small games, 1 dance game, and then the boss level, which is either boar racing or a shooting level. The dance mini-games are definitely the best parts of the game. All you do is shake the nunchuck to time with bunnies on the left, and shake the remote for the bunnies on the right, but it is insanely fun. I found myself wishing it was a full fledged game. If you aren't playing it you can watch the bunnies dance in the background, which is once again hilarious. Unfortunately, there are only seven songs for the dance level, with six of them repeating once, and one of them repeating twice. Of the songs, the generic rock and rap songs are no good, but the rest of them match perfectly. Girls just want to have fun is especially fitting.
As far as the boss levels go the shooting game is better than the boar racing. Once again I was hoping a full game would be made of it. It was executed really well: aim with the remote, shoot with B, reload by shaking the nunchuk, and grab nearby bunnies with Z. The controls always worked flawlessly, and it showed me the Wii would be perfect for a House of the Dead game. Boar racing was alright, but not nearly as fun. I found myself hoping for shooting over racing whenever I went through the boss door. Fortunately, there are more shooting games then racing.
Just the little things in this game show a lot of effort on Ubisoft's part. Unlocking costumes is fun, and the bunny costume at the end is good for another laugh. It seems they flew through hoops to make you giggle. After the shooting levels the game gives you a tip. Most of them are tips like shoot the flying saucers, or find the radio to make bunnies dance in the level, but one of them was a tip about using a bit of thyme to make a nice stew. When you start out the game Rayman is in a jail cell and the bunnies hate him, but as you go on they start liking him, and the jail cell practically turns into a palace. Once they like you the bunnies sing for you when you leave for the next days games. It's the little touches like this that really impressed me.
Rayman is a great game for multiple people, even if you only have one controller like me. The games range from mildly funny to hilarious, and there are only a few duds. Bunny dancing is officially the best mini game ever, and the both that and the shooting game had me wishing they were their own games. Little bits of comedy thrown here and there show a lot of polish, and this was incredibly impressive for a third party launch game.
Graphics: 8.25/10- The animation on the bunnies is almost as funny as the noise they make, and while the graphics are simple, they are also smooth. It's the graphics you want from a Rayman game, and a little more.
Sound: 9/10- The music for the dance levels fits the game perfectly, aside from the two generic songs. In one of the shooting levels, a western level, my brother said the music came from an old western movie, which I did not recognize, but I feel it shows a lot of attention to detail. In some mini-games you may not even notice the music, but it is impossible to ignore bunnies singing Beethoven. The sound effects are perfect, and I'm fairly sure even without any music I would still have to give sound a 7 just for the bunnies yells.
Gameplay: 8.5/10- What's more important than this? If a game isn't fun, it will still be hilarious so you're always having a good time playing Raving Rabbids. There are a couple mini games that make you want to pull your hair out, and a couple that are a bit too simple. The dancing and shooting mini-games deserve their own games.
Replay Value: 9/10-Like I said earlier (if you actually read all this) I'm going to have to show this to all of my friends. The story mode lasted a decent amount of time, and I haven't even started the score mode. I don't think I'll ever stop coming back to this one.
Overall score: 8.75- This is the definitive Wii launch game after Zelda.