Ubisoft's goofy disembodied platform hero Rayman lit up the Wii launch last year with Raving Rabbids, an offbeat and occasionally disturbing take on the minigame genre. Next week, Xbox 360 owners will finally get to partake in that same unique brand of madness with their own version of Raving Rabbids. Ubi apparently abandoned the ambitious plans it had for an open-world platforming version of the game, which it detailed for us back at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Instead, you'll get what's looking like a by-the-numbers port of the Wii game, with a few extra minigames added and controls that are adapted to the 360. The original game was highly entertaining, though, so that's probably not such a bad thing.
It looks like all the minigames from the Wii are in here, so you'll be hurling cattle for points, pulling worms out of bunnies' teeth, picking up piglets while riding a pterodactyl, teaching bunnies how to dance in a rhythm game, and so on. Some of the minigames adapt to the 360 controller better than others, and they mostly use a combination of rapid trigger pulls, analog stick spinning, and other actions that vaguely approximate the motions that were used to control the Wii version. There will be a little bit of new content in the Xbox 360 version of Raving Rabbids, such as one minigame we found that's similar to the cow-hurling game. This one takes place on a basketball course, though, so instead of simply seeing how far you can fling old Bessie, you'll be trying to toss her into three different moving basketball hoops.
If you really need those motion controls from the Wii, you're (sort of) in luck: A number of the games in this port support the Xbox Live Vision camera, which will let you perform Wii-like motions with your bare hands (and look like a raving loon doing so). With the proper lighting, the camera will be able to pick up the outline of your hands, arms, and body, and you'll see these represented onscreen in an unobtrusive blue dot pattern that looks pretty cool. In the cow-hurling game, for instance, you move your right hand quickly around in a circle to spin the cow, and then you use your left hand to strike at the "toss" zone onscreen that will make Rayman let go of the cow and send it flying. We found the camera controls a little hard to use precisely, but then lighting may play a factor here. Besides, the controller works pretty well overall.
Raving Rabbids is definitely recognizable as a Wii port on the 360, since it's not quite up to the level of graphical flash you'd expect from games developed natively for the system. It does run in 720p, though, with what appear to be a few touch-ups on textures and such here and there, and the winning art style and the hilariously disturbing bunnies are in full effect. The game is due out on the 360 in the coming weeks (with a PS3 version said to be coming further down the line), so look for a full review in the near future.