|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Paris / 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: Nov. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
June 10, 2008 - If you're like many Wii owners, the Raving Rabbid franchise is one you hold dear to your heart. It's the only truly successful third party series that has become exclusive to the console, and features great party-style gameplay as well as plenty of offbeat humor.
So, it comes as no surprise that people are excited about the third iteration of the Wii exclusive series. It promises more of the same type of mini-game and party-friendly gameplay that has been the series' hallmark. As you might imagine, this time around the subject of the game will come from the wide world of television. The Rabbids will be parodying several familiar television formats and even the commercials that come between! But what is really going to be amazing about Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party is it will introduce gamers to a whole new way to play: with their backsides!
It may sound a little strange at first, but this title will be utilizing the Wii Balance Board. However, you won't be doing exercises, stretches, or yoga. In Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party you will be able to sit on your Balance Board, and control the game by moving your behind literally!
One specific mini-game that utilizes this feature is Beestie Boarding, which allows you to ride a wildebeest-looking creature down a snowy slope. You are able to steer the creature by sitting on the Balance Board and leaning in your chosen direction. You can perform special moves and speed bonuses by successfully completing a mid-game micro-game using the Wii-mote and Nunchuk. The whole mini-game looks to be very fun and seems to incorporate the Wii-mote and Nunchuk well into the Balance Board gameplay.
It is unclear if you will be able to turn off the balance board games (similar to the way you could turn off the Nunchuk mini-games in Mario party), or if you will be required to have a balance board to play this title. Since the development team has said about 1/3 of the mini-games utilize the Balance Board peripheral, it seems like turning this feature off would severely limit play value. Hopefully, when the game gets closer to release, there will be some way to purchase a standalone Balance Board peripheral, or perhaps a bundled package.
Of course, there will still be mini-games that don't utilize the Balance Board. One such game will be a direct parody of television dancing shows, and it will aptly be titled "Dancing with Dweebs." This title uses the Wii-mote and Nunchuk and involves mimicking certain dancing moves the Rabbids show you on-screen. While we've seen this kind of gameplay in titles like Boogie before, I'm sure the Rabbids will have some unique twist to make it distinctive.
In addition to the more than 65 games planned for the final release, there will also be quite a few micro-games reminiscent of the Wario Ware series. In keeping with the game's overall television theme, these micro-games will take the form of little commercials in between the standard TV show mini-games and will probably feature some very short and crazy gameplay.
As far as visual aesthetics go, this title looks to keep up the Rayman Raving Rabbids' trend of being cute and colorful. Of course, the Rabbids themselves still sport a smooth, almost ceramic-type finish, and early screenshots look like they'll have the same 2-D cartoonish-style as previous iterations with some minor upgrades.
In this Raving Rabbids outing, you will be able to customize your Rabbid avatar with different features and accessories. There will also be some community features that will allow you to take your Rabbid's photograph and send it to your friends online!
Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party looks like it is going to be a great title and will be another successful entry in this already-successful franchise. It will retain the series' trademark party platform and will step up the humor and satire to take on the world of television. It sounds great, and the ability to use the Balance Board to control mini-games with your backside is pretty innovative. Since this title has just been announced, we have yet to see a firm release date, but the folks at Ubisoft have set a 2008 release window, so hopefully you'll be able to get your TV Party on later this year!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer