The transformation of Rayman from a strange and mildly unsettling French kiddy game icon that most gamers outside of France never really got
(even ‘ver kids) into a quality and surprisingly daft flagship party game for Nintendo’s Wii continues unabated. I recently had a good first look and play around with a Rayman Raving Rabbids 2
multiplayer demo which was on show at the recent Ubidays event in (gay) Paris so read on for my first impressions of the game, which is set for release this coming winter. There’s also a DS version in the works, but more on that at a later date.
If you never saw or played the first Wii title then you might want to read SPOnG’s original Rayman Raving Rabbids review
from last December, when I was still in the full flush of my first month’s love for the new Nintendo Wii. Now that I've settled down into a longer term relationship with Nintendo’s new gen machine, will another helping of the limbless French one’s kerr-azzy minigames pique my interest as much as the first game?
The first thing to be noted about the game, before you even play it yourself, is that it is great fun just to watch other people play. Perhaps it’s just me but the fact of the matter is that I’ve spent far too much play-time alone in my lounge playing with my Wii (oo-er missus, etc), having caned Zelda
and then having nostalgically enjoyed most of the retro-fantastic Virtual Console offerings to date. But the bottom line, as most of Nintendo’s marketing campaigns continue to remind us, is that the playing with your Wii should not be a solitary pastime. Even typing that last sentence still manages to raise a slight giggle, but the ‘Wii want to play together’ message really does make sense when you watch four grown men play Rayman Raving Rabbids 2
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2
is a ‘Nintendo-exclusive’ which can really mean one of two things. Either the first game flopped badly when Ubi' ported it over to PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC or Nintendo has paid handsomely for the game Wii/DS duopoly. Whatever, the game makes no sense without the Wii Remote control and, until Sony and Microsoft devise ways of incorporating proper
motion control into their respective consoles, it’s a fruitless exercise for developers to make these kinds of games for 360 or PS3. Or for Xbox or PlayStation gamers to buy them.
So Rayman Raving Rabbids 2
is not a solitary pleasure. This is not to say you can't play the game alone, and Ubisoft assured me that there will be a significant single player element to the game called ‘Trip Mode’ – with some barking mad storyline based around the rabbids being in training to invade planet Earth or somesuch madcap scheme.
It’s kind of like playing WarioWare Smooth Moves
or Wii Sports Tennis
on your own, which are perfectly pleasant and acceptable ways to pass the time - as long as the neighbours don't catch you through the back window. But once you’ve had a taste of playing ‘proper’ Wii games (such as this is) against a real, live breathing human opponent, it’s hard to go back.
So, the focus here is heavily on multiplayer fun. A large portion of that helping of fun comes from laughing at the faces and actions of your competitors as they contort themselves around the Wii Remote and Nunchuck in order to make the rabbids perform some genuinely hilarious on-screen tasks in one of the sixty mini-games on offer.