Ubisoft’s Rayman: Raving Rabbids was the surprise hit of Nintendo’s original Wii launch. The over-the-top spinoff resulted in a resurrection of the company’s mascot and still one of the Wii’s top-selling third-party titles.
When the Wii first came out, I bought two titles; The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Rayman: Raving Rabbids. The Rabbids game was so much fun it put my Zelda adventuring a couple of weeks behind despite my long wait for a return to Hyrule. It was that much fun.
Raving Rabbids was a perfect balance of an unusual premise, cute but entirely inappropriate enemies, tongue in cheek parody and a variety of mini-games. There were also rewards for imprisoned Rayman to be won along his quest for escape.
In a way, Ubisoft has been stuck in the unenviable position of trying to catch lightning in a bottle twice while trying to capitalize on their hit. While the Rabbids are certainly marketable, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing and the trail of sequels and spinoffs have made that plainly evident.
That brings us to Rabbids Land, again a launch game for a new Nintendo system. In Rabbids Land, the Rabbids have decided to take over an amusement park and have invaded all of the attractions. It’s just you and whatever friends you can talk into playing against a Rabbid army. The first in a list of problems is that the game’s name itself seems to offer itself as an alternative or parody of Nintendo’s own launch title, Nintendo Land. Unlike the first Rabbids game, Rabbids Land is offering itself up against a first party launch title and falls short.
Unlike Nintendo Land, which offers up to four-player simultaneous gameplay, Rabbids Land only supports two players at a time. That means, though you might have four people willing to play, a good amount of the time is spent sitting around and waiting. Even on the trivia tiles where the others can bet on your mental prowess, the Wiimote must be passed around.
The waiting is exponentially worse if you’re attempting Rabbids Land by yourself. Besides the Trophy Race party mode, the game does offer Free Play and a single-player Treasure Hunt mode. These additional two modes can only be unlocked by playing the Party mode, which requires you to watch the Rabbids play amongst themselves for more than half of the time.
Part of what made the first Rabbids game so entertaining was the variety. The quick pace of Raving Rabbids let the antics speak for themselves. Having to watch the Rabbids on the solitary game board, for such a long period of time, wears out the humor quickly.
The Trophy Race is either a Trivial Pursuit type race to either 10 or 20 trophies and return to the middle of the fairly nondescript board. Each player is a differently colored Rabbid who must hit a dice block to choose their path. This can be altered by moving bridges allowing players to choose the square on which they’d rather land.
The squares on the game board in Rabbids Land also offer very little variety. There are mini-games, which are two-player battles and trivia squares as well as prize and penalty squares. There are also power-ups that allow players to try to get a leg up. These perks offer a variety of bonuses like allowing you to steal trophies or reverse your direction.
Unfortunately, there is little remarkable about the board and what was funny in the first couple of minutes, isn’t funny after watching it for another 10 minutes.
Ubisoft found some interesting ways to use a combination of the Wiimote and the GamePad in Rabbids Land. Unfortunately, not all of them work that well. As much as we all criticize Mario Party for not evolving, Rabbids Land offers much less. From the character selection to the single game board that looks like Trivial Pursuit, everything about Rabbids Land seems second tier.
Add that to all of the waiting around that everyone will have to do and it’s too much for the Rabbids to overcome. As a fan of the scamps, it pains me to not be able recommend this game to anyone but the most diehard Rabbids fans.
Rabbids Land is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor, Mild Lyrics.