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Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party
Platform: Nintendo Wii
The Christmas/New Year holiday is the time of year when you feel glad to have a Wii. With mates and relatives around there's suddenly a good reason to get Nintendo's little box hooked up again, replace the batteries in the remotes, and have a little fun. But what do you do if you're tired of Wii Sports, bored with Wii Play and not keen on the sound of Wii Music? Is there another game out there that might keep you and your guests entertained?
Well, if there's anything the Wii has no shortage of, it's party games. Unfortunately, the vast majority just aren't any good, being personality-free mini-game collections which play like the video-gaming equivalent of a tin of cheap Christmas chocolates: for every tasty morcel there's another that gums up your teeth or makes you grimace with mild disgust. Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party, however, has a lot more to recommend it than most entries in the genre. First, it's a follow-up to one of the original Wii party games, and so has a certain amount of pedigree. Secondly, it's actually playable as a single-player game, meaning you won't necessarily put it away as soon as January 1st rolls around. Thirdly, it has its own distinctive style and quirky character. Fourth - and this is going to be one of its biggest selling points for a lot of Wii owners - it's one of the few games out there that makes use of the Wii Fit Balance Board (you know, that thing that's been under your bed since the middle of May).
Forget what semblance there is of a plotline; all you need to know is that the Rabbids have now taken over TV, and that the single-player mode is all about working your way through a week of Rabbid-related TV madness, choosing a different channel - and so a different mini-game - for each of the timeslots in a day. Fill up enough of the timeslots and you unlock a new day, and so a new set of programmes and mini-games. Really, that's all there is to it.
But then, what more do you need? As long as the mini-games come thick and fast and provide enough entertainment, that's really all you ask for from a game in this genre. Well, as with any party game, the mini-games are a bit of a mixed bunch, but generally the strike rate is much higher than your average compilation. We get a few duffers, with a series of mini-games reliant on rapidly drawing lines and symbols on the screen being particularly irritating, but also a few crackers. The shooting gallery games have always been highpoints of the series, and the ones included here are probably the best the Raving Rabbids have thrown up. New dancing and rhythm action games also work well, the latter involving some hectic waving of remote and nunchuk to simulate the moves being shown onscreen, and being probably as much fun to watch as humiliating to play.