In what was originally a Wii party game series led by Rayman (Ubisoft’s unofficial mascot, who debuted in 1995), his fluffy, maniacal enemies have effectively taken over the games, becoming the Steve Urkels, Alex P. Keatons, and Fonzies of the franchise. And now, they’ve spun off their own game: Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time.
Rabbids are out-of-control bunnies who’ve acted as Rayman’s buck-toothed, googly-eyed punching bags in the Raving Rabbids collection. Their ingratiating zaniness has gathered such popularity that they’re now headlining their own, Rayman-less party game—and in this fourth edition, they’re traveling through time. Did you know that the Titanic’s captain was actually knocked out by a Rabbid’s bean-fueled fart? Silly Rabbids! Using their time-traveling washing machine, the critters skim the centuries, competing in mini-games set in prehistory, the American Old West, and more.
Each mini-game is set in a different time period and has a specific objective: collect more items than the other team, be the last man standing, etc. The mini-games are broken down into different categories: bouncing, shooting, flying, fishing, and racing. Each category utilizes the Wii remote and nunchuk in a different way: In the flying games, both the remote and nunchuk act as wings, and you’ll need to wave your arms in the air to achieve the right balance. In shooting, you’ll point the remote at the screen and move crosshairs about, indicating where you want to shoot. The mini-games are accessed in museum hub world that unlocks more areas as you progress in the game.
This is the kind of gameplay that represents what the Wii is all about. Or, at least, what it set out to do back in ’07: provide fun, accessible, and short challenges that the entire family can enjoy, regardless of game knowledge or skill level. And the Rabbids’ slapstick hijinks don’t exactly let your attention wander either. That being said, this is clearly the type of game that’s more fun with a crowd. Don’t be mistaken, you’ll still be given computer-controlled players to face off against solo—but like Mario Party and WarioWare, the multiplayer mode is where it’s at. We recommend playing with someone completely out of touch with gaming and/or the Cow and Chicken-like humor of the past couple of decades. Maybe your grandparents. It’ll be funny watching them navigate the Wii controls, as well as their reactions to an open-mouthed rabbit letting loose a green mist of flatulence and wincing with pleasure.
If you’ve played the other Raving Rabbids games, you’ll pretty much know what to expect: a cartoonish party game that makes good use of the Wii’s motion control, and that boils over with wackiness. It will unlikely go down as a hallmark title for this console generation, but it does what it sets out to do, and will likely find warm reception among the mini-game-loving crowd.