Nov 26, 2007
When we last saw the Raving Rabbids on the Nintendo DS, Rayman was tossed into a decent (but ugly) platformer that recalled the titular protagonist's roots, but deviated wildly from the well-received waggle-based minigame collection prepared for the Wii. Rather than retaining that formula in the DS sequel, Ubisoft has selected to recreate the full-sized game this time. The result is a multiplayer minigame mash-up that combines ideas seen in the great Wii version of Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 with stylus controls and winning customization tools that enhance the experience. Just be sure to have friends around.
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 packs 36 stylus and/or microphone-controlled minigames, and while some concepts are repeated with slight variations, there's enough variety here to keep your stylus tapping and dragging for hours. Particularly noteworthy is the rhythm minigame, which utilizes classic 70's tracks "Funkytown" and "Smoke on the Water" for an enjoyable tapfest, as well as a boxing game that plays somewhat similarly to rhythm action games like Elite Beat Agents. Even Cooking Mama vets will find a bit of familiarity with the veggie and meat cutting game.
Little effort was put into developing a compelling single-player campaign, as Raving Rabbids 2 simply cobbles together sets of six minigames with zero fanfare, forcing players to earn a predetermined amount of points to unlock the next set (and so on and so forth). The only real annoyance comes with later sets, in which the amount of needed points requires players to play each of the six games several times to move on to the next area, but the minigames are so short and generally well-constructed that it's not especially painful.
Clothing and accessories unlocked in the single-player adventure and score modes can be applied to a custom Rabbid that will appear in the menus and minigames. Such customization options might not excite hardcore or well-versed gamers, but it's a sure bet that children will be into recording voice clips and painting their own personal Rabbid. While its jagged 3D character models leave a bit to be desired, the colorful settings and amusing animations in Raving Rabbids 2 compensate for the otherwise rudimentary menus and presentation.
As with the Wii version, multiplayer is ultimately the best way to experience the game, though the included single-card download play is extremely limited, allowing access to only three of the minigames. If you can convince a trio of friends to nab Raving Rabbids 2 as well, multi-card play is undoubtedly the way to go, though true Wi-Fi play would have just been easier all around.