Waba… Waba-ba… Wababa-ba-waaaaaaaaaa! Ok. That’s enough.
Rayman Raving Rabbids, released as one of the Wii’s launch titles last year, was successful, innovative, and had that great spark of humor that very few video games have. The Wii controls not only made the game unique but also truly fun and addictive. It was a great introduction to the Wii motion controls, and they actually worked well. All these aspects helped to build up the anticipation for the sequel, which was finally announced last May. It took a few months to complete the development, and a few of us who really enjoyed the first game were so eager with anticipation we thought it’d be more fun than even Mario Galaxy! But unfortunately we were wrong.
The crazy rabbids have invaded the whole world and sit at every corner of the planet, full of naughtiness and comical mischief. Rayman infiltrates within their secret agency hoping to bring calm and peace back to Earth. The single-player mode takes Rayman through several continents, each of them “packed” with nine mini-games. Each time you go on a trip you’ll only play five of them, which means you’ll have to unlock the rest later by taking that trip again. When you finish playing each continent, whether you did well or not, you’ll unlock those games in the multiplayer mode and a new continent will be available for single player action. Also, if you achieved high scores in any of the mini-games, you’ll unlock clothing and accessories to dress up the bunnies or Rayman. You’ll also obtain a new shooting challenge for the Arcade and a song to play in the Jukebox. You’ll start in the US and then go to Europe; later you’ll visit Asia, South America, and last but not least, the Tropics. The mini-games are quite easy, and only a few of them are truly fun to play. I really enjoyed American Football and The Office, amongst the rest. In American Football, you’ll just run all over the field with the football while the others try to steal the ball from you. If the ball gets stolen you’ll have to chase the one who’s carrying it and tackle at the right time with a quick Wii-mote motion. In The Office, you just have to shake the Wii-mote and the Nunchuk back and forth, making your character act stupid while the boss is gone. When you see any signs of the boss coming back, you must stop the fun or he’ll catch you in the act and discount points from your score. Snake Charmer was also fun to play: you hold the Wii-mote like a flute and press the keys prompted on the screen (A, 1, or 2). Even though there are a few mini-games that were well thought of, most of the mini-games in Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 are not very interesting or well made. I’d say they’d be more appealing just for kids than for the whole family.
As you can see, the new Rayman game is not nearly as good as last year’s installment. However, they made some great improvements that could have been very significant for the game; sadly, they weren’t enough to turn around the overall weak experience. In the main menu, one can choose to go on a Trip (only playing mini-games that belong to that trip), Free Play (where one can play the mini-games that are already unlocked), or Trip Customization. In this last one you can select the mini-games you enjoy the most and create your own trip. I thought this feature was nice, so you can avoid some of those games that just make your arms tired and don’t bring any challenge or entertainment to the table. You can have up to three customized trips. Whether you go on a Trip or lean towards Free Play, you’ll be able to choose between Solo and Multiplayer. Most of the mini-games can be played with up to four people simultaneously, so everyone can have fun at the same time. That’s a plus for RRR2, as I thought the first installment didn’t make a good party game and was more of a single-player experience. You can also submit your scores via Nintendo Wi-Fi and compare your performance with other gamers in the world. It’s a welcome addition to the title, and the least we could ask for when it comes to online features in Wii games. The game menus are definitely more self-explanatory and the choices are right on. If only the mini-games were up to par, this title would have gotten five stars!
The controls are not particularly well implemented. I saw blandness and lack of accuracy in many of the mini-games; some of them could have been really fun to play if the controls had been better. There was a lot of Wii-mote shaking going on, and many mini-games were too similar in gameplay, even if the scenario was completely different. When I saw the first screenshots of Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 months ago, there were a couple that stuck to my head: the swimming bunnies and the bunnies in the hospital. Neither one of these two games were as cool as I expected, even though they could have been. In the first one you just shake the Wii-mote and Nunchuk until your arms come out of socket, and in the second one you just hit the patient when he wants to wake up. And that’s it? I thought I’d be performing a mini-surgical operation in the style of Trauma Center or doing actual swimming motions with the Wii-mote! That’s just an example of what it could have been but wasn’t.
The game also comes with an arcade section that includes several shooting challenges. You’ll unlock different environments as you play the main game. It’s very innocent shooting though, so don’t fear for your little ones; the ammo is just toilet plungers, and the bunnies jump off the screen when they’re shot. The shooting is as precise as shooting with toilet plungers can be. After every five shots you have to reload with the A button; this makes the game slower and somewhat frustrating, even if it’s more true-to-life.
Two players can play against each other, trying to up their score; if you prefer it, you can just play alone. The Jukebox lets you play the songs you’ve played at the end of each trip. They’re sung by the bunnies with their funny bunny-voice, but you should recognize at least some, as they’re part of everyone’s pop culture. Both of these features, the arcade and the jukebox, are located in The Plaza. The character customization is there as well. There are five bunnies plus Rayman floating around the menu and you can select any of those and dress them up to your liking. You’ll unlock the outfits little by little, and you’ll be surprised to see how cute a gingerbread bunny can be, or a pirate, a ninja, and even Spider-Man! Rayman’s suits are funny as well. He can be a hippie, a punk, and much more. The bunnies’ wardrobe is much bigger though, and that’s where the fun is at. You can select any of these characters when you’re ready for some Free Play.
Even though the gameplay is rather weak, the look of the game has improved, expanding its scope to include locations all around the world. Since the bunnies have invaded the Earth, you’ll find them singing in the rain in the USA, serving “burgerritos” in South America, doing laundry in Japan, or charming a snake in a subway station downtown Paris. The lower resolution of the Wii compared to the other next-gen platforms doesn’t allow for the smooth and sharp graphics we’re getting used to admiring in every other game. Even with all the details they threw into these worldwide scenarios, the visuals are a bit blocky in general. The animations are quite well-made however. There are many funny scenes that will make you laugh, just like in the first game. The colorful scenes and cartoonish bunny figures are still there, but now they look funnier than ever with the multitude of garments they’ll wear plus their spontaneous and wacky facial expressions.
The sound of the game is not really top-notch. The soundtrack is there but is not very noticeable. The sound effects are loud, quirky, and a bit primitive in some cases. The Waba-bawaba-ba-waaaaaa sound the bunnies make is repeated throughout the game; it’s unrelenting, repetitive, and it gets to be obnoxious after a while. It should have been used more strategically, like in the first game; instead, it’s a constant part of the game’s soundtrack and it loses its comical effect. I wouldn’t mind hearing the bunnies telling real jokes once in a while, since the game is based on wit and laughter.
The cutscenes that introduce each mini-game are hilarious in most occasions, even if the bunny sounds are mostly unbearable. The game wouldn’t be as popular if it wasn’t for the comical aspect of it. I think they might as well make a cartoon out of this and leave it at that unless they can design fun and challenging mini-games that make the next game absolutely fun to play! At this point I’m not sure there will be a next one, and I wouldn’t vote for it unless they promised to pack it with great multiplayer fun.
Rent it, play it with your friends, and see what you think. I’m not saying you can’t have fun with Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 if you’re in good company, but you’ll probably agree with me in that the mini-games are a little weak. The game includes 60 new games, so there’s some fun to be had the first time around, but that’s about it. I give this game three crazy rabbids out of five! How about you?
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.8 Graphics
The game design is pretty good in general but it doesn’t show off as much as it could. The game looks a bit blocky instead of sharp and smooth. 3.0 Control
Most mini-games are rather boring to play, even with friends. I felt lack of control in multiple occasions. They should have been refined or even remade! 3.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The waba-ba-waba-ba-waaa!! became repetitive and even obnoxious. The music goes unnoticed… I liked the few songs you can play in the music challenges performed by the bunnies with their bunny voice. 3.0
As fun as the first game was, this one lowered all expectations. I don’t think people will have a whole lot of fun playing this title.
3.1 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.