Rayman Raving Rabbids - hands-on

We weren't entirely sure what to expect from Rayman's Wii debut, but after working up a considerable sweat during a lengthy hands-on with the game we can tell you that it's a light-hearted, minigame-style collection that pits the like-him-or-loathe-him character against the wonky-eyed rabbids. Was it worth suffering through all those damn rabbids videos? Hm... just maybe. In fact, if you're really down with Rayman, you can catch another videoright here.

The demo we sampled had four minigame themes to choose from - FPS, dance, trial and race - with each offering a variety of scenarios to play.

For example, one FPS game (the longest in duration of the minigame themes) took Rayman through a Wild West-style environment with Rayman moving on-rails through the level while firing plungers at incoming rabbids. The remote is used to aim crosshairs and you press A to hurl the questionably effective projectiles. Replenishing the stock of plungers was achieved by shaking the remote.

One of the trial-themed minigames saw Rayman desperately running to offload a bomb before it exploded in his face - the faster we moved both the nunchuk and remote controllers up and down, the faster Rayman dashed towards the goal.

The majority of the games we played required plenty of vigorous arm jiggling and Raving Rabbids seems to be pitched perfectly as a party game - we're pretty sure we wouldn't want to get quite so physical if we were just playing on our lonesome.

It's pleasantly easy on the eyes and is as cute and cartoony as you'd expect to suit the overall wacky approach to the minigames (it brought back memories of Namco's light-gun game, Point Blank). The controls are certainly some of the most accurate we've sampled so far on Wii, although the player is only ever really required to perform fairly simple - but sometimes exhausting - actions.

Of all the Wii games we've played to date, this is possibly one of the most instantly accessible, and Raving Rabbids certainly fits Nintendo's pick-up-and-play mantra. We have to wonder, however, whether there will be enough substance in Raving Rabbids to keep players hooked once the novelty of furious hand shaking has worn off.