As a launch title for the Wii, Rayman Raving Rabbids earned a spot in the hearts of many an early adopter of Nintendo’s newest system. Featuring a nifty mix of waggle-based mingames, cutesy-yet-deranged rabbits, and a limbless protagonist with a penchant for dressing up as a granny (among other things), Rabbids was universally regarded as a fun and friendly “new-gen” experience. Parents and kids across the land spent hours besting each other at dozens of rabbit-centric, hand-flailing comedic good times such dance contests, cow tossing competitions, and shooting missions featuring plungers as ammo.
Fast forward six months, and that same charming, whimsical title appears on... the Xbox 360. Yes, the console whose library is heavy on first-person-shooters, blood-soaked explodaganzas, and other decidedly non-child-friendly fare (exception granted for Viva Pinata) now hosts this movement-based wave-fest. How, you may ask, does it translate to this oh-so standard controller-based system? The answer (evidently) lies in making liberal use of the Xbox Live Vision Camera.
Some, but not all, of the seventy-ish minigames let you stand in front of your TV flailing your arms around like a maniac using the Xbox’s answer to the Eye Toy. Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to make them work well, and even when that happens, it’s not nearly as intuitive or fun as with the Wiimote and Nunchuk. Children will cry, parents will curse, and chances are that something somewhere is going to get broken.
Luckily, each of the games can also be played using the buttons, triggers, and sticks of the regular ol’ controller. To Ubisoft’s credit, these events are dripping with good humor, silliness, and some occasional potty humor (literally – one of them has you desperately shutting bathroom doors on bunnies who are trying to take care of their private business in peace). Some of the whimsy is lost, however, as the competitions lose their sense of inventiveness when you take out the Wii version's gesture-based controls, such as pumping your arms or spinning your hands over your head, and replace them with normal controller fingery. Even when you use the camera, it’s more gimmicky than innovative.
One of the benefits you’d assume to get with a 360 version of the game would be online multiplayer. Alas, that’s not included – curious, indeed. Even stranger is the lack of Live leaderboards. Only Achievements serve as a real differentiator between the two console versions, and though we’re admitted Gamerscore junkies, it’s not good enough to make us switch from our Wii copy.
We’re still fans of the game, as the humor and style are welcome departures from the typical oh-so-serious titles we see on Microsoft’s machine. However, given the choice, we’ll stick with the waggle offered on Wii. Slicker graphics and a couple of exclusive minigames just aren’t enough to make us put down the Wiimote and turn on the Camera.