When the Rabbids busted their crazy way onto the screen last year, the Nintendo DS took a different approach to the fuzzy invaders. Instead of the minigame collection seen on every other system, the DS got a more classic style Rayman platformer. It was ugly as sin, but it was fun and different. So it's disappointing to see that Ubisoft Casablanca turned Rayman Raving Rabbids 2
into the less fun little brother of the Nintendo Wii version of the same game. Like we needed another minigame collection.
From what little plot we're given, it would seem the Rabbids have come to Earth and are... doing stuff. Bad stuff supposedly. Honestly beside some minor graffiti and painful karaoke, the Rabbids just seem eccentric. Regardless, Rayman has taken it upon himself to be the buzzkill, and follows the Rabbids around to take pictures and warn the planet.
It sounds like Rayman is the main character of the game, but, surprise, he's actually barely in it at all. We were a little confused, since, well, Rayman is the first name in the freaking title. Players actually take control of a Rabbid, whom they can customize with unlockable outfits and even by drawing on them.
The whole style of the game is pretty cool. The Rabbids are great characters. It certainly looks a lot better than the prequel, and the 3D work is not too shabby. The customization options give the player the sense that the Rabbid on screen isn't just a nameless minion, but rather the same crazy bunny that's been causing havoc everywhere.
- They're definitely wacky still.
Players take their customized Rabbids through about 35 minigames across six levels based around territories. Most of the games are pretty general touch screen based affairs. One has the player flick chilies into the Rabbid's mouth as fast as possible. Another game involves drawing shapes. It's pretty basic. A lot of them are fun, and they all have a funny Rabbid vibe, but there's not much here that hasn't been done in the myriad of other minigame collections.
Like many minigame collections, Raving Rabbids 2 has a few games that repeat themselves. Each level has a rhythm game minigame to play. There are six different songs, but that doesn't really make it six different minigames. Just like the food ordering game isn't two games just because in one area the bunny wants a hot dog and in one area he wants sushi. The similar games make the game feel repetitive. even though the minigames were fun the first time, doesn't mean playing then two more times with sprite changes is a good idea.
Raving Rabbids 2 also has the problem of some of these minigames just plain sucking. Pretty much every game that involved the microphone in any capacity was totally worthless. If players want to collect all the customization pieces for their Rabbids they'll have to suffer through these shoddy games, getting increasingly more lightheaded from blowing like a lunatic into the DS.
Luckily for the general public's brain cells, the motivation to get everything in the game is very low. Enough options are unlocked just by casually playing the game to give players enough choices.
Plus, the physical progression of the game has nothing to do with actual scores on individual games, but rather a cumulative score from playing the games repeatedly. Which means even if we did perfectly on every minigame in the area, we still had to play upwards of 12 more games to finish the area. Boy oh boy, nothing makes an already basic minigame more fun than to play it repeatedly for no reason other than "you have to." Even the best minigames are not worth playing repeatedly, and having to listen to the Rabbids sing a high-pitched version of Funkytown or do techno remixes of public-domain songs over and over will likely drive the player insane.
Even with the forced repetition of the minigames, the entire storyline is over in under three hours. That really is a blessing though because the game gets progressively less fun as it continues. It would have been a mildly amusing, short title, but instead it's a repetitive, painfully drawn out game.
Despite the game touting itself as the "craziest party game ever," there isn't much to do. If friends have their own copies of the game, then most minigames can be played. However the single-card play has a very limited selection, and some rather long download times for each one.
Can we just put a ban on minigame collections on the DS for a while? There are more of them than first-party titles. At the very least, don't use minigames as a cop out for making a legitimate game. Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 has a few pretty good minigames, a lot of mediocre ones, and a couple terrible ones. Add on to that a forced repetition system and a story that is insultingly glossed over and the title resembles something that the Rabbids themselves may have developed.