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Raving Rabbids Travel in Time

Score: 72%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer:
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Party/ Action/ Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Raving Rabbids Travel in Time is cute and colorful, and sets just the right tone for the wacky Rabbids. There could have been a bit more detail in some areas, though. For example, it's hard to tell whether the Rabbid's weapon of choice is a toilet brush or a duster, though the distinction isn't that important in the end. Some of the games, however, have a lot going on, and the details do matter in this case. Most of the games tend to zoom out really far from the Rabbids and the action, which can make things hard to follow.

The Rabbids and their wacky expressions and movement are also a great deal of what matter here, and they are done very well. It's entertaining to just bring them up to the foreground and make them yell just to see their faces. If you leave them alone, they start doing all manner of rude, funny, and cute things like dancing the robot and acting out whatever costume they may be wearing.

The music is somewhat familiar from the other games in the series. It's serious at times, but with some sort of silly sound effect or undertone going on in the background. Of course, the trademark Rabbid scream is alive and well in this game, as well as plenty of other Rabbid happy grunts, quizzical sounds, and other silliness.


Gameplay:

Raving Rabbids Travel in Time follows the nonsensical adventures of the Rabbids, silly and lovable rabbit creatures that were originally introduced in the Rayman Raving Rabbids game that came out at the Wii's launch. Rabbids speak their own crazy yelling language, they love to dress up, and they love to dance. In this game, they're set loose in a museum, and get ideas for places to visit in the past. They then use their washing machine (high efficiency front loader, of course) time machine to travel in the past and alter history. The famed Hollywood sign can get changed to a Bollywood sign, for one example.

The Rabbids games have always been about sickly humorous games like plunger shooting, underwear washing, and a sadistic choir-boy slapping game, to name a few. They've never really had to make sense, they were just so wrong, and so funny. But the variety and creativity seems to be missing from the games in this Raving Rabbids iteration. The games here all boil down to being either a shooter, a platformer, or a flying game. There are different thematic variations: you run around gathering boxes, you run around gathering paint, etc. But really, there are only these types of games available. Well, you also get fishing games, but these are only available if you have the MotionPlus accessory. It's a far cry from the first game in the series that had games that were as entertaining for the onlookers as they were for the players. I mean really, we've gone from fighting back waves of mad rabbits with a carrot juice hose to just breaking colored bricks?

One problem with this game is that non-gamers may have a hard time, well, finding games to play. While anyone who plays video games regularly will probably not have a problem navigating the museum and finding things to do, I fear that non-gamers will probably get confused at the "museum as a menu" concept. It's not a huge deal: run around with your Rabbid long enough and you'll find the games eventually. But there's lots of side rooms for options, outfits, side-game puzzles, and all other manner of distractions besides the mini-games that make up this game. And even if you know where to go, you have to travel, fly or somehow make your way to the paintings that hold the games. You can use the Up arrow to get a quick select screen for the different game categories, but you still just end up being dumped into that part of the museum, having to do the same sort of searching when you get there.

One thing this Rabbids game has going for it is the online play system. You can easily jump into an online game to compete with people at any time. I say this with hesitation though, because you could just as easily end up with 3 people who want to go in 3 different directions and end up not choosing a game to play for 10 minutes. Since you need a consensus to go anywhere or start playing a game, well this can get tiring when you can't talk to the people on the other side most of the time. There are more focused versions of online play like the Tournament mode, where you pick the games and the number of times you want to play, so it's not all complete chaos. There are also community features like leaderboards, adding a bit more replay value to the game.


Difficulty:

Raving Rabbids Travel in Time is not really a game with a goal, so it's not really a game with difficulty, per se. Most of the mini-games that make up the game are short and simple, and the competition is usually a friend. If you do decide to go solo, however, the CPU could be described as ruthless or dull, depending on which game you're playing. For example, they seem to be pretty bad at platformer games, but really good at the running and gathering games. It sometimes seems like they're all working against you, which really doesn't seem fair in the kind of "every man for himself" games you have here.

Overall, this Rabbids game isn't difficult if you master each category like platforming or flying. Of course, if any one category gives you trouble, you'll have trouble with all the dozens of games in that category. You can always practice in the museum without worrying about a "score." Each "menu" area will give you similar things to do as you will have to do in the games for that area. The flying area, for example, will give you a big solar system model to fly around in to your heart's content with no real pressure to do anything or make points.


Game Mechanics:

Some of the Raving Rabbids Travel in Time mini-games make good use of the Wii control options in creative ways. There's a flying game, in particular, that really makes intuitive use of the Nunchuk and the Wii-mote. You basically use each controller as a separate wing on your Rabbid. You can easily get the hang of banking, climbing, all the basic flight maneuvers, but it takes a bit of practice to really get good at it. Again, this isn't good news for your non-gamer friends, but it's the kind of controls that are really satisfying to master.

The flying category is a bit of an exception in the creative controls department, however. Something seems to have been lost here, as if the developers forgot they made one of the most popular launch titles for the Wii. Running and jumping don't require anything but an analog stick and a few buttons, and don't really shine on the Wii, though they don't sink because of it either. I can't help but thinking that this series is trying to cater to the non-motion control platforms out there more than the Wii now. Unfortunately, that's diluted the experience here.

Raving Rabbids Travel in Time has lots of games, but they all feel pretty similar. It's got lots of funny bits, but it seems to have lost a bit of its completely over-the-top hilarity. If you haven't played any of the Rabbid's games, I'd recommend the original Rayman version before this one. But if you need a booster after you finally make your way through all the subsequent games, then certainly pick this up.


-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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