Humor, smooth rabbid character animation, clever motion controls, fun mini-games, impressive online integration
Loading issues, vague tutorials and mini-game control explanations
Writing off Raving Rabbids Travel in Time as just another mini-game compilation from Ubisoft would be easy. It would be unjust and inaccurate, too.
The latest Wii game featuring the quirky, loud-mouthed rabbids proffers a pretty impressive multiplayer component (up to four players online and off) that’s perfect for the family. Yes, the title focuses on mini-games, but the hilarity, stylistic visuals, and time-traveling theme help the game establish its own identity.
The time-travel plot opens numerous doors for the developers’ creativity, as well as creates an intriguing experience for gamers. The rabbids jump in a washing machine (not a DeLorean) to go back in time to mess with famous historic events, such as Benjamin Franklin flying a kite in a thunderstorm. Most of the mini-games revolve around these events, and players have the option to alter history with rabbid– and humorous– mayhem.
A museum aptly serves as a hub for the various mini-games. The location sports some aesthetically pleasing visuals, with a simple, yet stylistic design choice. Everything looks polished and elegant, as the developers clearly understand the strengths of Wii. The main protagonists, the rabbids, also sport fantastic character animation. Players can tap a button to make the creatures let out garbled shouts that will make adults and children alike giggle.
What may leave the family less than pleased are the somewhat vague controls for the various mini-games. Raving Rabbids Travel is Time boasts 20-plus games and activities, but many may confound some gamers upon first glance and playthrough. For example, my girlfriend was a bit upset that I immediately understood a mini-game’s concept, while she was wondering what the heck was going on. This happens because the title fails to smoothly integrate tutorials and instead relies on trial-and-error. This aspect will not affect experienced gamers, but newcomers and casuals will definitely be a bit confused.
Once acquainted, though, everyone will be having a blast. The title utilizes the Wii Remote and Nunchuk in clever ways, such as flying. The remote acts as your left wing and the ‘chuk serves as the right wing, and players navigate by guiding their arms up and down to glide through the sky. The mechanic provides plenty of laughs but also works surprisingly well for some fun races. Another enjoyable mini-game revolves around two-player races, in which players are tied together via toilet paper. The competition demands teamwork between players and provides a good deal of fun. Like most mini-game compilations, there are a few duds but most are smooth and enjoyable enough.
Time spent between mini-games can be entertaining as well, thanks to various activities in the museum to occupy players’ time. Ubisoft throws in a comedic, rabbid-singing take on Guitar Hero and also offers up an equivalent dancing segment that pulls from the Just Dance phenomenon. The title also rewards users with an abundance of achievements for exploration and high-scores, which serves as an appetizing carrot to keep people playing.
The most impressive aspect of Raving Rabbids Travel in Time, though, revolves around the excellent online integration. Players may jump online with three other people at anytime or even buddy up with someone locally for Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection experience. Not only that, but the game features an online community where gamers may take part in ongoing weekly battles, upload screenshots to Facebook, and even start an online tournament. As icing on the cake: online high scores dynamically pop up while playing certain mini-games, daring gamers to keep aiming higher. This game’s online implementation makes even Nintendo’s best blush.
Unfortunately, the game falters a bit in regard to load times. The title constantly forces players to sit and wait for mini-games to load, even after playing. As such, Raving Rabbids Travel in Time features a lot of downtime, which does not gel well with the title’s focus on mini-games. This flaw breaks the flow of the title and serves as one of its biggest detriments.
The loading issues may plague the experience somewhat, but Raving Rabbids Travel in Time stands out on Wii in a crowded mini-game compilation field. The game works best as a family experience, aiming toward a younger demographic, but boasts some impressive online integration that even the most hardcore gamer will enjoy.