Those crazy Rabbids have been around since Rayman Raving Rabbids back on Wii and having long since ditched the Rayman tag, have grown in stature over the subsequent years into one of the most popular franchises Ubisoft has created in the past decade. Fuelled predominantly by wacky mini-games and total mayhem, the critters are back, this time at the launch of Nintendo's Wii U, in Rabbids Land.
What do Rabbids do best? Cause chaos! At the Nintendo 3DS launch, Rabbids 3D proved to be a good 2D platform alternative and now anyone looking for some mini-game fun can jump on-board the crazy ride that is Rabbids Land. With the absence of a WarioWare game early on in the lifespan of Wii U, and Game & Wario not due until sometime in 2013, Ubisoft's attempt at building up a board game experience filled with mini-games that make great use of the GamePad features is a great substitute.
There is the chance to eventually play individual mini-games in one- or two-player mode, but working through the main Trophy Race Board Game with up to four players is the main focus at first. Here it is a race to become the winner of as many trophies as possible by working around the board using die throws and taking part in general knowledge quizzes and all manner of weird and wacky mini-games, hoping to beat the competitors every time. Hold the GamePad horizontally and use it as a steering wheel to dodge incoming fireballs, hold it in front and physically spin around the room to locate penguins before blowing on the microphone to launch them at the opposition, quickly spin a wheel around using the stylus on the touch screen to locate people not buckled into a ride properly and tap on them before they get thrown off, or even hold the GamePad like a tray and roll balls around by gently tilting in all directions. The variety is impressive indeed.
During the menu sequences there is also a news bar that runs along the bottom providing intriguing, often humorous titbits of knowledge, such as how more than 250 mini-games have been created since the very first Raving Rabbids game was launched! It may seem pointless, but it is a nice little touch and shows the development team was keen to make this more than just a throwaway product. Another pleasing aspect is the videos and music that can be unlocked, adding a small incentive for plugging away at the game.
Ultimately, though, it is the great line-up of mini-games and their inventive use of the sublime piece of kit that is the GamePad that keeps the fun factor high for the most part. Unfortunately, however, solo players will definitely not get quite as much out of Rabbids Land purely because of the fact that, as with any board game, it is a lonely experience when alone! As a replacement for the absent Game & Wario, Ubisoft's effort is nonetheless a good filler for those wanting more mini-game fun with family and friends.
Ubisoft has made some great use of the GamePad's functionality, which definitely bodes well for future games with the Rabbids as stars.
A definite step up from the Wii outings, and looking good in general, with solid characters and colourful settings, as well as some very amusing CG video clips.
Amusing japery from the Rabbids with lots of screeching and crazy sound effects, all layered over a perfunctory set of background tunes.
Great fun with three friends along for the ride, but short-lived for solo players after the initial thrill of trying all separate games.
It is hard to dislike the comical Rabbids, and the antics of Rabbids Land goes to show that there is still plenty of fun to be had with crazy mini-games that can be played with a few friends. It may not have the same level of longevity as something like Nintendo Land but it does indeed prove to be a great time consumer for anyone hoping for an enjoyable experience that makes great use of the Wii U GamePad.