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February 13, 2015

RABBIDS MONTH: Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (DS)

Rayman Raving Rabbids - Bottom 12 / Top 12 Minigames
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 DS - Bottom 12 / Top 12 Minigames
Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 Wii - Bottom 12 / Top 12 Minigames
Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party - Bottom 12 - Top 13 Minigames

Oh noes! The Rabbids have invaded the real world! Sure, that now gives an explanation on why so much real-life stuff appeared in Rayman's world all of a sudden in the previous game, but still... The real world! Humans are in danger! Rayman has to save them! However, they do say that knowing is half the battle, so Rayman decides that while he stops the Rabbids from doing too much harm, he can also study them to understand what they're up to. After all, such idiots can't possibly keep their plan a secret, right? Never mind the fact that they speak gibberish...

Welcome to this review of the Nintendo DS port of Rayman Raving Rabbids 2! Get ready for hijinks, minigames, slapstick, and more! But less of all that than there is in the Wii games. After all, it's not a secret, there's less space in DS cartridges and all...

Starting with the second Raving Rabbids game, there's a theme for each new installment of the series. RRR2 has the theme of traveling (since the minigames are based on practices in other countries), TV Party spoofs TV shows and movies, Rabbids In Time mocks the many eras of mankind, Alive And Kicking plays with the idea of Rabbids invading the real world for real thanks to the Kinect... RRR2 takes place in major continents or countries of the world, with lots of jokes making fun of the culture and way of life in these places.

Yes, I know, it's in French. I couldn't find
the English version.
Now, in each location, Rayman has to fill 1 or more rolls of pictures. Guess he didn't have the money for a digital camera. Anyway, he fills rolls as you beat minigames. One minigame beaten = 15 pictures maximum (if you fill the minigame bar completely – I'll go back on this later). Each location has only 6 minigames, for a total of 90 pictures. And yet, for some odd reason, he feels the need to take twice as many pictures in Europe and Japan, even if it's illogical. That means you'll have to beat each minigame once more in Story Mode in those two places. I sincerely question the need for that. It's obviously padding, since the game would be too short if you had to beat every minigame only once. I mean, 36 minigames? Gee, that's small! “We need to pad this even further... How about... In the last two locations (Asia and South American, AKA Latina), Rayman feels the need to fill 3 rolls, so the player will have to beat the minigames in the last two locations about three times each! Oh, we're so brilliant!”

I've seen less padding in Stephen King books.

Some kind of school...
As for the minigames themselves, here are a few examples.
-In the USA, Rabbids ride mechanical bulls.
-In Oceania, we get a few minigames based around a beach, and then some.
-In Europe, Rabbids get hot cakes and speak on their cellphones in theaters.
-In Japan, Rabbids go to school or slam themselves in windows.
-In South America (Latina), we pick pictures of Rabbids, and we make them play archaeologist.
-In Asia, Rabbids belch, are lobotomized, or take pictures of themselves.

And now I realize that those examples have little to do with the location they're put in. Kinda weird, isn't it?

The first three locations (USA, Oceania, Europe) are available from the start. Once you fill up a roll of pictures in any continent, you unlock the next location, in this order: Japan, Asia, South America.

The minigames are diverse, and their gameplay uses pretty much only the Nintendo DS's touch screen and microphone. In Story Mode, each minigame has a bar that fills up as you get points. It goes with an icon of a Rabbid that gets more and more excited as you reach the end of the bar. Once the minigame is over, if you've filled the entire bar, the roll used by Rayman to collect pictures of the Rabbids will increase by 15, but if you didn't fill the bar entirely, the number of pictures taken will be smaller. Don't ask why, I have no idea. Oh, also, if you fill the minigame's score bar entirely, a Rabbid will sing a happy tune for you. Cute!

Rabbids love to dress up!
Also, every time you fill completely the minigame's score bar (and thus, beat a minigame), you gain a piece of clothing or an accessory for your personal Rabbid.... Wait. Rayman has a personal Rabbid? ...Oh no, wait, I think I get it. You customize the Rabbid you use in the minigames by dressing him up! I'll go back on this a little later. But then, doesn't that mean that Rayman's always spying on the same Rabbid? And thus, that he doesn't do his spying job right??

Over the course of the story, Rayman realizes that the Rabbids are too stupid to understand how the human world works. In fact, they mimic what they see... but since their understanding of human behavior is limited, when they try to copy it with whatever they think they understood, itturns out ridiculous, inappropriate and/or hilarious. Confident in his discoveries, Rayman tries to explain this to the inhabitants of Earth, so that the Rabbids will stop being a threat. Heck, if Rabbids Invasion is any indication, the humans have just accepted the presence of these weird bunnies around them and, for the most part, have stopped giving a damn. (Well, there are two scientists who experiment on the Rabbids, but the results aren't too good.)

So, once you've played a minigame in Story Mode, you can move on to Score Mode. In that mode, forget the score bar. However, the game will still calculate your score. There are three high scores on the top screen; beat the third one and you get a Bronze trophy. Beat the second one and you get a Silver trophy. Beat the first one and you get a Gold trophy. In Score Mode, in order to get a new item for your Rabbid, you need to beat the highest score. For the most part, the minigames remain unchanged. The big difference is that they don't stop unless you lose or run out of time. Or if it's a minigame with a set length, like the musical one in each location.

Or stripes. That works too.
So, now, you may have completed a few minigames, maybe you've earned a few Gold trophies. How about we dress our Rabbid up? In Bunny mode, there are four options: A brush, a T-shirt, a house and a mallet. First off, the Brush lets you paint over your Rabbid. Make him all black, all blue, painted like a Na'vi, give him a creepy scar or birthmarks or whatever. The only thing that kinda sucks is that you can only decorate the Rabbid's front. And yet, when you use the paint bucket to color him in a single color, his back becomes that color as well. Then, there's the house. There, you can paint an environment for your Rabbid, or select among 5 unlockable environments that you can then paint at your leisure.

After which it's the T-Shirt section. In there, you have a large selection of hats and clothes to put on your Rabbid, and items that he can hold. You can earn 63 different pieces like this during the game. Most items come in groups; one hat, one costume and one item usually form a full attire. As an example, by playing the minigames in the USA section, you unlock a wig full of curlers, a pink nightgown with a piece of cucumber, and a rolling pin, which gives you the full “stereotypical crazy wife” attire. You can dress the Rabbid like a footballer, a clown, a Japanese schoolgirl... Or you can dress it up with random pieces, which will give the impression that the Rabbid should be in an asylum.

Why... so... silly?

Last but not least is the Mallet section. In there, you can use 4 items with your Rabbid. The first is a pair of boxing gloves. Oh, and he stays in place while you punch him good with the stylus. The second is a microphone. Speak in the Nintendo DS's microphone and he'll repeat what you say. Not in Rabbid voice, oddly enough. The third is a hand... to relentlessly tickle the Rabbid. And the fourth and final thingamajig is a drum set that brings you to another screen, on which you can tap buttons to make the Rabbid play drums. You can unlock more of those buttons over time.

One of the few minigames you can play
in Multiplayer when the others don't
have the cartridge. A bad oneé
So, that's done... Now, the Multi Mode, where you can play with friends! Or... can you? Well, you could play with friends... if they have other copies of Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 DS. In such a case, you would have access to all the minigames. However, if your friends don't have this game, it's still possible to play with up to 4 players... but only 3 minigames are available. 3 out of 36! Three minigames a big party doesn't make! Plus, of the three minigames, one of them is among my Bottom 12 minigames of RRR2DS. Lucky me. No doubt there would be a lot more minigames if you teamed up with someone else who has the game, but once again, I must ask the question: What are the odds of that happening? And you know what's even sadder? A lot of minigames should have been easy to adapt so that you can play with other people who don't have the cartridge. Heck, if Mario Party DS could do it with almost the entirety of itself, why couldn't RRR2DS? To force other people to buy the game? Urgh.

Final part, the options. You can increase or decrease the volume of the sounds or music, you can increase the power of the microphone, you can also select a language for the game (between English, Espanol, and Français), and finally you can tap the trash can to erase your save file.

I guess it's time for me to finish this review.

Rabbids are still guh-roo-vee!
First off, I have to say that the music in this game is pretty good (I like 5 out of the 6 songs in the music minigames). As for the graphics, it's kind of silly to say, but I think the Rabbids here are very cute. They yell a lot, sure, but many minigames manage to show off their cuteness, in a way or another. The happy customer Rabbids from the minigames “MC Bunnies” and “Drive-Thru”; the four Rabbids in “Simon”; the two from “Bunny Fighters”; the archaeologist Rabbid in “Cleanup”, or the one who's having a picture taken of himself in “Look At Me”. Even the four ones who are on the stage in the “Rabbid Bands” music minigames. And the one in Bunny Mode, too! Heck, they are cute even if the quality of the CGI has decreased! Although that's kinda normal, considering DS cartridges have less space than home console disks. Oh well. I like the way this game looks anyway.

On to the gameplay: 36 minigames is not a lot, but at least you have to beat them in Story Mode and then in Score Mode. In Score Mode, it can be difficult to beat the highest score, but in most cases it's not too extreme. Let's say it's never gonna be as extreme as in RRR1 on the Wii. With a bit of practice, all the scores can be beaten (though a few of those are a lot more difficult because of glitches; I'll go back on that in my Bottom 12 list). Also, most minigames are simple, which makes them enjoyable by almost anyone. My only points of criticism is that many minigames are placed in certain locations (due to the game's theme being “Rabbids around the world”), even though they don't really correspond to that place's customs. Maybe those minigames were put there just to fill a blank space. Oh well. The whole “Rabbids around the world” idea was done much better in the Wii version of RRR2, which we'll see next Friday. Also, I'll talk about the minigames in more depth this Monday with my “Top 12/Bottom 12” minigames of RRR2DS, as usual we got some disgusting minigames, others that have annoying mechanics, and then some that are just uncreative or boring. Is it the majority? No, for when I made my list, I noticed the list of minigames I liked was longer than the list of minigames I disliked. That's usually a good sign, isn't it? Also, I really like the Bunny mode in this, not only because most items are funny, but also because you can paint the Rabbid's body, give him a background, or play with him thanks to gadgets.

Another point of criticism I have for this game is the Story Mode. I can understand if it's a bit different from the Wii version's, but here, we don't even have actual cutscenes. 2D pictures with text to be read. What's more, the cutscene you see when you fill a roll of pictures in Story Mode is the same for the first 5 locations you complete. No, seriously, there's no difference whatsoever. The only different cutscenes are the intro, and the ending in which Rayman reveals the results of his research to the population of Earth. That's it. This reeks of laziness, but then again, I don't think RRR2DS was made with a plot in mind; I guess they just adapted the one from the Wii version like they could... Without Rayman participating in the minigames this time around, probably once again because of space restraints. Also of notice is that the minigames don't have intros, like it was the case in RRR1Wii. You just jump into the minigame, without having a laugh first. Oh well.

Outside of that, this game is a lot of fun. I enjoy it. My point still stands that it's a poorer Rabbids game due to containing barely 36 minigames and having a lackluster multiplayer option, so even if I do like it, in the end it doesn't hold a candle to the next Rabbids games for the Wii that I'll review soon. Finally, while there are many minigames I like, there's a few I dislike... And that's perfectly normal. So, tune in Monday, as I'll be listing my 12 least favorite, and then my 12 favorite minigames in Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 DS!