Story: The limb-less French wonder, Rayman, has been kidnapped by psychotic rabbits while out on a picnic. He is forced into becoming a gladiator and must fight his way through an arena of wacky, rabbit-filled mini-games each day in order to win a plunger. Enough plungers and he might be able to organise an unlikely escape... (Oh, seriously, why do I bother?)
Gameplay: Fifteen rounds of five mini-games. The first three games in each round are short, fairground entertainment: pump the wiimote and nunchuk up and down to milk a cow; tilt the wiimote to get a ball through a maze; move the wiimote on a horizontal plane and press A in order to whack rabbids on the head; that kind of thing. The fourth game in the round is always a rhythm game where you must help Rayman disco by drumming with the wiimote and nunchuk in time to the music. The final game is occasionally a race but usually an on-rails shooter. You must point and fire with the wiimote like a lightgun game (except in most lightgun games you're not usually firing plungers at psycho rabbits).
Save System: The game saves only after you successfully complete all the games in each round. This means that if you have to switch off for any reason you might lose twenty minutes progress. Grrr.
Comments: The Wii has had an amazingly successful launch. This is particularly astonishing considering that the major launch title was a GameCube port, the console's name is particularly unfortunate and that playing one frequently results in minor injury to pets and small children. Despite these disadvantages, Nintendo is selling the machine left, right and centre to people who, until recently, thought all games were played on an X-Station Thingy and that they still looked a bit like Pac-Man. The reason for this success is, of course, the bundled Wii Sports selection of games. Suddenly grannies can pick up a controller, flail it about and be trouncing their bemused progeny within minutes. Everyone wants a shot. Give them some bowling, a game of tennis and then follow it up with some shooting on Wii Play, and they're convinced. Everyone wants a Wii.
Christmas is over now, though. Granny's gone home, Twilight Princess is almost finished and downloadable Virtual Console games are too expensive. What are we going to play on our Wiis?
Rayman: Raving Rabbids is fun for an hour or so but quickly becomes repetitive and frustrating. Some mini-games use the Wii functionality in a meaningful way (usually where you have to point) but others have you shaking the nunchuk for the sake of it when pressing a button would work just as well. Some, like dagger throwing, don't work and others have you wishing you could just use the analogue stick for tighter control. A few are amusing; most are teeth-grindingly annoying. You have to complete all of them to progress and there's a good chance that at some point you'll get stuck and give up. If you lack rhythm then you're particularly stuffed.
Everything gives the impression of being rushed: poor graphics, long loads, awkward navigation, annoying structure and 'whatever sticks' gameplay.
EyeToy on PlayStation had a similar initial success to Wii but then no one seemed to know what to do with it. We ended up with various collections of mini-games, and interest waned. To avoid becoming a dusty novelty, the Wii needs proper games. We have Wii Sports, Wii Play and WarioWare. Mario Party 27 can't be far away. That's enough comedy multiplayer arm-waving to last us all beyond next Christmas. Don't bother with this sub-standard effort.
Graphics: Looks like a GameCube game.