Sometimes, you just have to bust out the mini-games, and for the money, functionality, and appeal to both core and casual gamers, you usually can’t go wrong with a Raving Rabbids adventure. The latest offering, Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time is no different, serving up some zany and scatterbrained fun that’s appropriate for the whole family. They may not be boosting the genre to new heights, but they will “BWAAH!” their way into your heart.
This time around, the lackadaisical lagomorphs have gotten their paws on a washing machine that also travels through time. It’s not as cool as Day of the Tentacle’s Chron-A-John, but it’ll do. A regal museum set in the year 2012 acts as the connecting point between the multiple time periods the Rabbids travel to (and frequently meddle with) and acts as an interactive hub world. You’ll navigate the museum after creating a profile complete with a toddling Rabbid and toilet paper roll. It’s a hilarious sight, but also has its own function when it comes to multiplayer efforts, keeping multiple players on the same screen and from traipsing too far away from the others. I found that often these little touches put a smile on my face more often than some of the triple-A titles I’ve tackled. It’s all about the details.
In the museum, you’ll find five doors, each one leading to separate time zones the Rabbid will wreak havoc on and they’re all similarly-named with clever twists on the mini-game types housed inside: the Flyarium, Hookarium, Runarium, Shootarium, and Bouncearium. Hidden within these five areas is a mix of 23 different mini-games awaiting players’ flails, flicks, and itchy trigger fingers. The Shootarium houses several different gun-oriented adventures, everywhere from Egypt to the Wild West. Rabbids aim and fire to complete objectives — my personal favorite entailed shooting at boulders while careening through on a runaway mine cart. These were the most action-oriented games, and seemed to work the best with the Wii remote and nunchuk,
But it’s not all about satisfying the urge to shoot something. If you’re looking for something a little less touchy, you can check out the Bouncearium, a haven for platforming mini-games, the Flyarium, which deals primarily in motion-controlled flight excursions (a little less responsive than I would have liked), or the Runarium to compete in events revolving around its root word: running. The Hookarium gave me the most grief, however, littered with Rabbids adventures that are essentially fishing games. You’re tasked with taking a Rabbid on a rod, using the Wii remote to “fish,” flinging the zany bunny toward objects in the distance and grabbing them.
The nunchuk comes into play as well, acting as the reel to the Wii remote’s rod. Unfortunately, it became a hassle simply moving the Rabbids around, as is typical with most motion-control dependent mechanics, though since I did not utilize the Motion Plus, I can only comment on the standard vanilla remote/nunchuk combo. I found that this unresponsiveness was not only localized to the Hookarium, but plagued the Flyarium as well. The activities are playable, but are nowhere near as accessible and easy to manipulate as the other selections.
Navigating each of the five different rooms yields varied and entertaining mini-games, but these separate locations aren’t the only places to house quick bites of fun. Found scattered throughout the museum are several different mini-games, running the gamut from a Just Dance clone to a Guitar Hero-esque Rabbid “bwaahing” music game, you and your friends making that nonsensical noise together in a cacophony of chaos. It’s just obnoxious enough that you can’t help but laugh. If you find yourself stumbling around in the museum with nothing to do and no desire to play in the five rooms, you may categorize the “separate” games by pressing the up button on the Wii remote, organizing the free-for-all activities into an easy to navigate list.
Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time is packed full of personality — take the infectious insanity of the chaotic rabbits to the quick scenes that accompany each mini-game scenario to inject a touch of story to what’s otherwise a playground for one player or a few. You’ll watch the ravenous Rabbids come face to face with momentous historical occasions, such as Neil Armstrong’s sojourn to the moon, the fateful voyage of the Titanic, and several other points throughout history. Mr. Armstrong can’t quite get out of the spaceship thanks to the doing of the Rabbids, and similar pitfalls happen in other points in time. These scenes are devoid of dialogue, yet manage to be frequently laugh-out-loud funny. Coupled with the bold, colorful art style unique to the Rabbids games and the voices of the bunnies themselves, this mini-game collection boasts a vivid environment. It doesn’t break any new ground, but excels and revels in its silliness.
Multiplayer is obviously where Raving Rabbids: Travel in Time shines, even with a solid single-player offering. The toilet paper roll as previously mentioned was a clever way to keep track of players, and switching off works quite well, as you would imagine. The only real dangers here are running into each other during an intense play session.
It’s easy to write off this game as another high-priced collection of mini-games, but it’s at its best when experienced with friends, as it is a whirlwind of party-perfect adventures. The Rabbids have established themselves as veritable gaming icons in the casual sphere. Their frenzied faces, catchphrases, and ridiculous adventures may grate on the nerves for some, but for a formidable collection of simple-to-learn and difficult to mater mini-games, you could do a lot worse.