|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montpellier||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Q4 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Tony Capri
April 20, 2009 - Hitching a ride on Rayman's namesake, the Raving Rabbids have become a new video game fixture. After using Michel Ancel's limbless platformer as a stepping stone to mini-game stardom, the Rabbids are now stealing the show entirely with Ubisoft's latest Wii adventure, Rabbids Go Home.
The first thing you should know about Rabbids Go Home is that it is not a mini-game collection. As a matter of fact, the game perhaps has more in common with the Grand Theft Auto series than it does with previous entries in the Raving Rabbids franchise. A sort of open-world hub, along with a mission-based adventure, brings this series into a completely new realm of Rabbid wackiness.
Ubisoft is promoting Rabbids Go Home as a comedy adventure, and it's their intention to offer a game that is, above all else, chocked-full of laughs. Considering the plot, we're willing to take them on their word. As the title implies, the Rabbids long to go home, and using their nonsensical reasoning, they've decided the moon will do nicely. Rather than hijack a spaceship or devise some sort of teleportation device, however, the Rabbids plan to use a more practical approach: A giant mountain of trash.
Thus your quest to accumulate "stuff" gets underway, and you'll control two Rabbids in order to collect various items to add to your moon-bound heap. Throughout the adventure, you'll be required to control one Rabbid who pushes a shopping cart, and another who rides shotgun, hording anything that is or isn't nailed down along the way. Movement of your cart-pushing Rabbid is handled with the analog stick on the Nunchuk, while executing the Rabbid's signature "Bwah!" scream is done with a shake of the Wii Remote.
In Rabbids Go Home, screaming is used both as an attack, as well as to nab specific items. Due to their extreme fear of the Rabbids, humans play your main adversaries throughout the game. A good "Bwah!" can literally scare the pants off people, and you can then add their clothes to the piled pathway toward your new home. In addition to gathering things to add to your "moonheap," certain items will power up your Rabbids, providing them with new abilities.
With much of the game's focus on the shopping cart, it's no surprise to see many of the power-ups geared toward altering its functionality. You'll come across items that allow your cart to surf on water or zip through environments at super-sonic speed. Power-ups will also be incorporated into some of the game's platforming activities, and you'll often have to utilize these items in order to progress the game.
Though the premise of collecting junk for your path to the moon may seem simple enough, navigating the human world will prove to be quite challenging. The humans consider your Rabbids to be a vermin outbreak and will use whatever means possible to dispatch you and your furry brethren. From robots and traps, to hounds who aim to hunt you down, the world is full of obstacles you'll need to be mindful of.
The missions promise to offer quite a bit of variety for players, including driving, timed events, and even the occasional boss encounter. There's also an option to play cooperatively with a friend, though for the time being, Ubisoft is keeping quiet on the exact specifics of this aspect of the game.
As for the visuals in Rabbids Go Home, the Rabbids themselves retain the same basic look as before, but the world and overall polish of this particular game exhibit a very noticeable improvement over other titles in the Raving Rabbids series. Though there isn't a ton of detail in either the character models or environments, the style and visual fidelity make this one of the better-looking games on Wii. All of the buildings and people have a caricaturized quality to them, and it's a style that seems especially well-suited to the very quirky Rabbids universe.
Ubisoft has achieved this stunning visual quality on Wii with the use of their touted graphics engine, LyN. They liken the tool to what's used for the production of many of the Pixar animated movies, and Rabbids Go Home definitely comes close to that same caliber of visual presentation - no small feat on a system that is technically dwarfed alongside its other current-gen counterparts.
Though it's still a ways off and the Rabbids have yet to prove themselves outside of being laughable mascots for the now-fading Rayman franchise, our curiosity is greatly aroused by this latest comedic undertaking by Ubisoft. With close to three years in development, Rabbids Go Home is definitely no slapped-together mini-game compilation, and we very much look forward to seeing how the adventure unfolds. Will the Raving Rabbids ever find a place to call "home," or are they destined to remain in the cold world of party game hell? Find out when Rabbids Go Home releases later this year.
CCC Freelance Writer