Review: Rayman Raving Rabbids (Mac)

RaymanRavingRabbidsMac.jpg It is always tricky reviewing a port of a port of a game that was never designed to be controlled with a keyboard & mouse in the first place. Do I look at the Mac game I played alone, or do I consider it in the context of the PC game that was released last year, and what do I do with my knowledge of the Wii game this is all based off? Well, since it isn’t a port from the Xbox 360 I certainly can’t just plug in my wireless controller and look at it that way, so the only thing to do is forget everything I know and get to playing!

Rayman Raving Rabbids is centered around the famous character Rayman having a nice picnic and getting taken hostage after a bunch of strange looking bunnies pop out of the ground and then a huge monster rabbit (er, or should I say ‘rabbid’) scoops him up and carries him off. He is then forced to endure a series of challenges in a gladiator-style arena.

Despite that ambitious introduction, let me get straight to the point: while Rayman Raving Rabbids was wonderful on the Wii, it has lost nearly all of its’ charm coming to the Mac. The only positive thing I can say is that it plays better than the PC version which gave some folks fits in terms of compatibility issues and crashes. Perhaps that is yet another benefit of Apple controlling the hardware side of the house nearly as tightly as a console maker!

Further, before I say anything specific about the Mac release, if you have a Wii then grab the game for that system, as the fun it offers is so tightly integrated with the experience that console offers that it cannot help but suffer when played elsewhere.

Rayman Raving Rabbids is basically a series of mini-games wrapped around the aforementioned kidnapping plot. You engage in more than 70 (!) mini-games over the course of the game, unlocking each one as you proceed. As it is tied to the plot of being imprisoned, you close out each day being put back into a cell and staring wistfully at the barred windows. At that point you can also replay any of the mini-games you’ve unlocked in either single player or multiplayer modes.

The audio is one of the big highlights of the game, but also shows the limitations. You hear great songs and sound effects and noises throughout that underscore the craziness of the situations and the humor of the game designers. Graphically the game definitely has been sharpened up in transition to the Mac, but honestly you won’t care much since it is a cartoon-style game designed for the low-resolution Wii and not a title that gains much from enhanced visuals. Still, it is nice that they took the time and effort to make the game look as good as possible on the Mac.

The controls are simple and intuitive – you are generally using the mouse and/or a small set of keys. For example, the very first challenge has you racing to deliver a package. You can either move the mouse back and forth or pedal with the arrow keys, whichever works best for you. Or you can choose one and then go back later and try to beat your time with the other – this is how I discovered I was better with the keyboard (but wasn’t surprised). Overall it is the best possible control scheme I could imagine Ubisoft offering.

But that is the basic problem – the whole game reeks of ‘the best they could do’. And it does so because the core game is so innately tied into the ‘Wii Experience’: as you play you really want to be jumping around with your Wii-mote next to friends and family laughing along with the fun. There is something dreary playing through this sitting at a keyboard alone.

Even joining in multiplayer with another person to work through unlocked mini-games loses much of the spirit of shared fun. Especially since you need to have unlocked these games in solo play before they are available to share. That is unfortunate because this sort of game really wants to be shared with others. Barring that it just isn’t worth playing.

Another problem is a familiar one for Mac gamers – how long it took to arrive. Sometimes that doesn’t matter, but with time-sensitive releases like this it does. It has been over two years since the PC game arrived just after the Wii release, and the world of mini-games has evolved and moved on to the point where this becomes like playing a part of history. A part that has no business being played anywhere but on a Wii.

SkipIt.jpg

Pros:
+ Tons of mini-games
+ Simple and addictive gameplay
+ Budget price

Cons:
– Loses TONS in translation from Wii
– Have to unlock games alone to play in multiplayer

Game Info:
Platform: Mac
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft
Release Date: Q1 2009
Genre: Party
ESRB Rating: E
Players: 1-2

About the Author

I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!