Gameloft’s finest games always seem to begin and end with a Rayman title. It was, fittingly with its relationship with Ubisoft, Rayman that truly helped cement Gameloft in the wireless space. Although there have been countless movie licenses, more franchises from Ubisoft and even some of Gameloft’s in house creations, Rayman still holds a dear place in the Gamelot lineup. Raving Rabbids pits the iconic limbless hero against psychotic looking rabbits that are buck toothed and appear to have crawled out of some deranged cosmetic testing laboratory.
I had heard that Rayman has no limbs because it helped originally with the animation. There’s no doubt these rabbits are like this because it’s easy to dress them up to suit the different environments including a forest, beach and the rabid secret headquarters. They’re kind of like Lemmings from yesteryear. The designers really go all out in including pirate and cyborg outfits. Even the boss creatures are very creative in function and design.
In terms of gameplay, Raving Rabbids retains the classic side scrolling platform motif that we’ve grown accustomed to since Rayman’s first incarnation. The console and PC versions have since moved to 3D but I’ve always felt more comfortable with 2D. Old habits die hard I guess. Luckily, none of Rayman is old hat and newcomers to the game will find it easy to pick up.
Like Gameloft’s other platform titles, you start off with only a few skills and as you progress throughout levels, there are hints and tips on how to gain access to moves like the bungee jump or even a Sonic-like roll. Indeed, this edition of Rayman comes with a lot of hoops and loop-the-loop puzzles that I felt would have belonged more to Tropical Madness.
You’ll be encountering new moves and puzzles right up until the last level. Raving Rabbids has excellent pacing with some set pieces like riding a pig that help break up the monotony that typically plagues platform titles. The boss encounters are also cool. Beating them doesn’t involve button mashing but some clever thinking in figuring out their weak spot. Perhaps the greatest thing about Raving Rabbids is how it gets the difficulty curve just right so you aren’t retracing your steps or having to replay segments over and over again to get it right.
It feels like the game has enough energy to gone on for a few more levels, perhaps a dozen levels rather than the eight included and not lose any momentum or quality. With top notch visuals, charismatic characters, and a ‘je ne sais quoi’ exuberance to it, Raving Rabbids is a must have for wireless gamers.