Rayman Raving Rabbids Review

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Remember the Wii? Of course you do? Remember all those waggly mini-games? Yeah, me too. The thing is, while they are now looked upon with a level of disdain usually reserved for free to play mobile games, they did once (albeit briefly) feel like the future of video games. That feeling obviously waned rather quickly, but with ‘waggle’ controls now a thing of the past (with the exception of the surprisingly fantastic, Arms), it’s surprising just how fun going back to one of the very first waggle mini-game collections actually is.

Of course, at the time, any fun had was largely ruined by an over-exposure to waggle-based mini-games and the mountain of dodgy shovelware that slowly but surely buried the Wii, but returning to Wii launch title Rayman Raving Rabbids proves an oddly enjoyable experience. It’s far from brilliant, and the fun is somewhat short lived, but as a brief return to a very specific time and place within the industry, it proves a welcome reminder that, while the motion control revolution ultimately came a cropper, there was (and still is) fun to be had with the technology when utilised and implemented successfully.

Rayman Raving Rabbids was always one of the better examples of the genre, and while its place as a launch title ensures that much of it is rather quaint by today’s standards, the fundamental experience is still an enjoyable one when experienced under the right circumstances…..even if Rayman looks weird as hell.

And yeah, that’s something you’ll need to get over – beyond the simple fact that this is a visually low-res and somewhat muddy looking video game (something that many Wii games were guilty of), the Rayman you get here is very much of the original 90s persuasion. This isn’t the fantastic 2D-styled reinvention that we have come to know and love over the past few years, this is the unironically sunglass-wearing console mascot that always looked a wee bit pants.

Still, rubbish looking or not, this game is all about the ridiculous mini-games and the rather absurd, Rabbids. Sure, some people find them annoying, but they have a certain absurdist charm (there is a reason that they are showing up in a game with Mario later this month).

While Raving Rabbid’s surprisingly decent selection of mini games, (ones that include everything from fast-paced first person shooting and rhythm mini-games to warthog racing and, well, a rather enjoyable mini game in which you are tasked to draw food for what appears to be a masturbating Rabbid), are inevitably at their best when played with friends, what this game has over most party games of the time is a decidedly solid single player offering.

It’s hardly The Witcher 3, but by giving Rayman a reasonable excuse to partake in these mini-games, it feels like a more fleshed-out experience than one might have imagined – it’s certainly a major step up from the like of 1-2-Switch. After having been jailed by the rabbids (for some reason or another), Rayman must entertain the masses by completing daily challenges. These challenges are of course little more than the standard mini-games, but the sense of progression (you can win over the crowd and have your cell improved if you do well), does give the game a solid structure that makes for a largely enjoyable experience. Some mini games are better than others of course, but it’s surprising just how high the hit rate remains here. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but it’s all solid stuff and certainly a step up from your average mini game collection.

It’s more than a decade old at this point (how the hell did that happen!?) and from an era that many gamers look back on with a certain sense of disdain, but despite its rough edges and low-res visuals, Rayman Raving Rabbids remains one of the better party games of the generation and a solid reminder of why we enjoyed the Wii so much in the first place. It might be little more than a mini-game collection, but the ones here are of a surprisingly high standard. It’s short lived fun without friends, but unlike the vast majority of mini-game collections, is still totally playable on your own. Perhaps it’s the passage of time and the lack of many games of its ilk in 2017, but going back to this Wii launch title proved a far more enjoyable experience than I was expecting.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Wii U code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to press@4gn.co.uk.

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