Rayman Raving Rabbids for the Wii

Resident Evil Five was released this last week, on Friday the thirteenth, a day that I suppose the marketers deemed sufficiently evil. I was at the game store on release day, but not to get Resident Evil Five. I was there to pick up a couple of older games. I ended up hauling home three, while my middle son got a few more. I wanted active games, by which I mean games that take full advantage of the capabilities of the Wiimote. I ended up picking out WarioWare Smooth Moves* and two Raving Rabbids games; the original Rayman Raving Rabbids and the new Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party, which utilizes the balance board from my Wii Fit.

Rayman Raving Rabbids can be run in two modes, story and score. Story tells the story of Rayman's life, in chronological order, and is the only way to unlock new games for the score mode. Rayman is busy having a nice picnic with his friends the baby Globoxes when the Rabbids (crazy looking creatures that remind me of rabid, zombie rabbits) leap up from the ground, carry everyone off, and throw them in a stark prison. Rayman is periodically dragged out and thrust into a giant arena where he performs for the entertainment of hordes of screaming, armed rabbids. I know that doesn't sound like much fun, but weirdly it is.

Each day Rayman must solve four puzzles or tests. Once he's accomplished those he moves on to a bigger test and if he passes that he wins a plunger and gets tossed back into his cell. He also wins new outfits (I dressed him as a gangster granny for one set of battles) and music. The mini games are loads of fun and quite mad. In the first couple of days you'll learn how to spin a cow over your head and chuck it as far as possible, you'll race a warthog, and you'll trap the rabbids in their outhouses, keeping them from leaving for a specified period of time. (The sound effects for that last mini game are terribly amusing if you happen to be in elementary school.)

I'm going to pass along a couple of tips my two younger sons gave me. The warthog race was my first experience racing on the Wii platform and I did horribly on my first try. In fact I ended up running backwards several times. Now that's partly because I'm a buffoon, but also because I didn't understand how to use the joystick on the nunchuck, which I find clunky. Instead of trying to steer it as I would a joystick on an arcade game, my youngest son suggested I just tap the joystick, nudging my warthog in the direction I wanted him to go. That worked much better and I was able to stay on the path for long stretches.

There's one game that repeats quite a few times. It's a dancing rabbids game where you need to flick your controllers as the rabbids cross the podium on either side of Rayman, who is in the middle of an extravagant disco floor. Sometimes the rabbids come one by one and sometimes they come two at a time. I did spectacularly poorly at this at first, ending each round with scores of two or six and ending up with zero points for the entire game. I realized I was keeping time with my hands – so when a single rabbid came to the podium I was moving both my hands, ticking off the beats like a metronome with the hand that wasn't trying to catch the rabbids, which meant I was making a mistake every time I succeeded in getting one. Obviously that's a bad idea. Make sure each hand only moves for a corresponding bunny.

When Rayman is back in his cell he has a couple of options. There is a jukebox where he can change his theme song; picking out different music that he wins as he progresses through the game. There is a wardrobe where the clothes he earns are stored and he can mix and match them. There is a toilet where he can sit and daydream, reliving his day's accomplishments, which means you can replay any mini games he's already conquered. This is especially nice if you're trying to play some of the games that wear out your arms. You can build endurance while perfecting your rabbid battling skills.

I'm proud to say that on one of my rescue missions, the one where you go on a movie set and shoot every bunny in sight so you can rescue your pal, I was told that I'm a better player than an oyster. I find that deeply satisfying.

Unfortunately I ran out of time and didn't get to take Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party for a spin this week but I will and I'll be sure to let you know what I think of it.

*If you're interested in my comments about WarioWare Smooth Moves you can read them here. Short story – loads of fun and your can play it with your kids or parents, but be prepared to be beaten soundly by anyone younger than yourself.)

One-Paragraph Review
This week's one-paragraph review is from MnM who comments on a new television show that debuted this week, saying, "Better off Ted is very cute and funny. Crazy people work in an office doing stuff like freezing people and growing exploding pumpkins. I'll tune in to see what they explode next week." Do you have a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me for consideration. You can reach me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com.