Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party Hands-On
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare your tushies for the next Raving Rabbids game from Ubisoft.
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They've done it. Wrap it up, game designers throughout the world. No need to continue innovating, fellas, because 2008 will be remembered as the year that the medium reached its artistic, intellectual, and, indeed, emotional peak. We've seen the future and, frankly, anything that comes afterward will simply be cheap thrills, pale imitations of the future we've experienced. What's the source of our unfettered enthusiasm for the future of gaming? Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party, a game that you--at least partially--control with your butt.
Essentially a collection of minigames, TV Party was featured at the Nintendo Fall Press Summit last week with three separate events. The first was a dance party that parodied shows such as American Idol, with Rabbids serving as stand-ins for Randy, Paula, and Simon, judging you on your ability to bust a move. Your dance moves come courtesy of a funky tune--in our demo it was Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Boogie"--and a side-scrolling list of moves that feature various combinations of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, held in various directions that often evoke cheesy disco moves. You're judged based on your ability to stick these funky moves, and the player with the highest score is declared the winner.
The second event in the TV Party demo was a flying game in which you control a Rabbid on a sky board and navigate it through a series of rings suspended in midair. You control the sky board with the Wii Balance Board, moving left and right to turn, as well as forward and backward to adjust your speed. In true Rabbids fashion, bouncing slightly on the board will cause your onboard Rabbid to let loose with a methane blast from its posterior, which will give you a brief speed boost. The stage we played in this demo let you choose between "easy" and "hard" branches of the level, with the "hard" path featuring trickier ring placement and more obstacles that you can crash into. You're judged on your speed in terms of making it through the level, as well as how many rings you can pass through during the race.
The final event, and the one that inspired the purple prose in our intro, is the so-called Beestie Board event. Here, your Rabbid rides an upturned wildebeest down a snowy slalom slope. The goal here is to wind your Rabbid through trickily placed slalom flags while taking jumps and doing tricks by moving your Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Remember the part about the game being controlled with your butt? Beestie Board is that part of the game. Instead of standing on the Wii Balance Board, you sit on it, moving left and right with your butt to steer your wildebeest along the slope. If you have a moderately agile rear end--like ours--you can manage to make your way through a flag or two but, based on our time with the game, we tend to doubt that even Jenna Jameson could get 100 percent completion in Beestie Board.
OK, so maybe we overreacted up there when we called Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party the most innovative game of the young century. Perhaps we were a bit rushed in calling this game the intellectual peak of gameplay achievement. We apologize for that. Regardless, if you're looking for a game that requires a nimble tush--come on, you can admit it--then maybe Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party is your game. Prepare yourselves, and your bottoms, for the game's arrival on November 11.