Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (Nintendo DS) Review

The Rayman Raving Rabbids series first launched alongside the Wii just over a year ago. The first game in the series was an attempt to showcase some of the Wii Remote’s potential for unique gameplay experiences by presenting a series of quick-fire mini-games. The game went on to receive mostly average to above-average reviews from critics and the gaming population at large. A Nintendo DS version soon followed, but was not received quite so favourably. Nevertheless, Ubisoft has chosen to continue the franchise with a sequel – Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 - for each of the aforementioned platforms. You can now read on for a full review of the Nintendo DS instalment.

Alright, let’s get the obligatory scene-setting guff out the way before we begin. Just as its predecessor did, Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 focuses on the loveable/nauseating Rabbids, an excitable rabbit-like race of creatures from the Rayman universe. In this instalment the Rabbids have discovered Earth and are causing havoc here, there and everywhere. As such, Rayman – who you never really see in the game itself – takes it upon himself to monitor the little rascals and report on their wrongdoings. Players must proceed to explore six continents and expose the shenanigans therein. These, funnily enough, take the form of mini-games and create the bulk of the game. But are they worth your time?

The short answer is “barely.” Each continent features six mini-games, making for a total of 36 mini-games (you can do the math for yourself if you don’t believe us), but not all of these are entirely unique. For example, the final mini-game for each area is a simplistic rhythm-based, Elite Beat Agents-esque affair. The format of each of these is the same: a band of Rabbids attempt to cover an old ‘classic’, such as the infinitely catchy ‘Funkytown’ and you must tap the screen at appropriate moments to help them do so. Only the song changes with each round, which sort of knocks our previous tally of mini-games down by five before we even get started. Thankfully, it’s one of the more entertaining endeavours you will be exposed to, so we can’t really complain.

The rest of the mini-games range from piss-poor right through to mildly enjoyable, but none really manage to push any further. The less enjoyable events mostly fall into two categories: spasm-inducing touch-screen scrawling and microphone-reliant shouting matches. The former challenges players to drag their stylus across the screen at ridiculous speeds, often resulting in painful cramps, whilst the second challenges them to scream at the DS, often resulting in a soar throat. Whilst the latter can be avoided with a healthy dose of blowing, it’s still not fun, and it’s certainly not something you’re going to want to try in public, nor is it something you will probably want to repeat. Most of the other mini-games are less offensive, but they still feel uninspired. If you’ve played Project Rub, Wario Ware and/or the recent Mario Party DS, you will have already experienced most of what’s on offer here, just without the wacky Rabbids screaming at you.

In terms of presentation, Raving Rabbids 2 sets the bar somewhat higher than its predecessor. The visuals won’t blow your mind, but they won’t burn your eyes either. 3D character models and environments are decent enough, and the variety of locations and objects keeps things visually interesting. Indeed, the entire game is soaked in the aura of the Rabbids – it’s brash, over the top, and downright wacky. The aforementioned Rabbid cover-songs and their Chipmunk-esque vocals are the perfect example of that. But, for all its craziness, the game itself feels surprisingly mundane. Whilst some of the scenarios are interesting and often funny – for example, having to create as much noise as possible in a cinema by using the microphone and tapping cell-phone buttons on the touch screen – the end result – having to exhale until you’re blue in the face and mindlessly tapping away – leaves rather a lot to be desired.

In terms of extras, Ubisoft offers a few different ways to approach the various mini-games. We’ve already discussed the core solo campaign, but there is also a score mode, which offers bronze, silver and gold medals to players who can beat certain scores. Those who are able to obtain these can unlock additional items – such as clothes and accessories - to customise their Rabbid with. These customisations then appear in-game, and allow players to differentiate between their own Rabbid and any others on screen. Whilst it’s not a feature that will appeal to most gamers over the age of ten, it does help separate on-screen personas in the multiplayer mode, which we will discuss now. You see, Raving Rabbids 2 does support both single- and multi-card play, but unfortunately the former is completely crippled by a lacklustre mini-game selection and appalling loading times. And whilst the latter does make certain games more enjoyable – particularly those that have been clearly designed with multiplayer in mind – it can’t make the worst mini-games any less dull than they already are.

Gameplay

Despite the wacky and unique set-ups for each mini-game, most end up feeling uninspired and dull. With so many mini-game collections already on the market, there just aren’t enough new ideas here.

Graphics

The 3D models and environments are sufficiently decent, and the various in-game locations and objects help create an atmosphere that it is both varied and consistent with the craziness of the Rabbids.

Sound

Lots of Rabbid screaming and a series of bold tunes that, although fitting, can become quite tiresome after a while. You just can’t say no to a Chipmunk-esque rendition of Funkytown, though. Or can you?

Value

It won’t take you long to play through each mini-game, and the artificial point requirements for progression will only hold you back for so long. Unless you particularly enjoy playing boring mini-games over and over again in order to attain high scores, there isn’t much to keep you coming back either.

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Mediocre

About this score

Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 is, if nothing else, a sign that mini-game collections are starting to wear a bit thin. Whilst some of the examples included here are enjoyable, they very rarely feel exciting or refreshing. The crazy, Rabbid-filled settings may be new, but the tried-and-tested gameplay mechanics certainly are not. By now you’ve probably experienced most of what this game has to offer without ever having to pick it up for yourself. At the end of the day, the monotonous mini-games far outweigh any sparks of innovation that you might come across, and with so many more enjoyable alternatives already on the market, we just cannot recommend this game to anyone.

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30.12.2007

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Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Party

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (2 Votes)

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Fuck me that second picture of Cheggers is terrifying. Doesn't sound a patch on Smarty Pants, but I am intrigued by the use of Cheggers, the 'wonderful' man that he is.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

Cheggers is the Messiah.

Lol, this game looks rubbish. Cheggers looks weird as well. :D

I don't really know who Cheggers is.

It's going to be shit and you jolly well know it.

HEATHENS!

Google Keith Chegwin and bask in the glory. He was a bit like a poor man's Noel Edmunds I guess, which isn't saying much when Noel himself is an annoying sproggit.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

Ah so he's one of those people who hasn't been around much in about 20 years but everyone pretends to be really familiar with.

It's going to be shit and you jolly well know it.

That second picture is gonna give me nightmares.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Wasn't the first Raving Rabbids on DS a nice little platformer? It's a shame they didn't do the same with this. Mini-game-games are so overdone on DS.

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

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