How the hell could this get a 72% average score on gamerankings? Seriously. How? Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party is a brilliant piece of interactive entertainment, and will now become my prime argument against Wii haters who refuse to even try games like these by default. Let me tell you, this is a damn sweet title, and one of the few that satisfy what my imagination had come up with when the Wii was announced and the Motion Control Hype was still going.
So I decided to give RRR TV Party a go, not having read much about it beforehand. And the game rocks my socks off.
There's not that much time wasted introducing you to the general narrative, or theme: By circumstances that I will not explain, the Rabbids are getting trapped in Raymans TV, and wreak havoc. Every movie and TV show is invaded by those little critters, and this is where you're given control, placing the shows you want to watch (play) on the available timeslots for each day, trying to give your best performances throughout the week. There is no subgame before you enter the minigames - Every day has different timeslots with different programmes available for you to chose. For example, you will find health and kids related spoofs in the early timeslots, might choose to play a bit of music mayhem during the day, and end it with sports or Zombie flicks. All of which, of course, are presented in brilliant little hand-drawn animations and themes, feature the typical anarchistic rabbid-humor and show a suprising diversity and originality.
There are so many things that surprised me.
A) They really tried to find great and fun and innovative ways of using the Wiimote and Nunchuck to make you do the most hilarious things
B) These controls actually work. That's right, they work. You do things and the game recognizes them correctly. Oh yes, you and your potential multiplayers will look ridiculous. But it's so awesome. Because it works.
C) They actually have some nice licenced songs which you can dance to, sing or play instruments, all done brilliantly.
The most astonishing feat that they pulled off is that the Single Player experience rocks just as much. This is the one thing that is missing from all the other Minigamegames: They shine in Multiplayer, but fail if you're alone. Somehow, the timeslot-mechanics of Rayman, with the Animations, the division into days (each new day being introduced by a short and amusing FMV about Raymans trials with his TV) and the overall presentation makes a quick round of RRR alone very attractive. Combine that with tons of always awesome pop culture references - which is a given with the "TV"-theme - and the little details such as the Rabbids "breaking the fourth wall" of your TV (think of Eternal Darkness), makes this very much enjoyable no matter how many people play.
Many of the games have balance board support, and this is the first time I wish I had one. The game is brilliant enough without it - But some games I imagine even more delightful with that horrible and expensive piece of plastic attachment. O well.
The other games I spend time with these days are Gears of War 2 and Mass Effect (again). Which is a totally different thing, of course, but in terms of sheer delight and entertainment, the Rabbid's motion controlled deconstruction of TV shows is easily on par, if not above that, with Alpha Team cutting itself through the innards of Riftworms, and Shepard scoring him- or herself some blue alien love. It's just that good.
I add this to the great list of 08/09 games for Wii owners who are actually trying to broaden their gaming horizon, and this is one of the few rare gems on the console that aren't good despite the motion controls, but because of them, and use them in fantastic ways.
If you have a Wii and you're not yet completely convinced that it sucks, I strongly, strongly advise you to give Rayman Raving Rabbids: TV Party a try, despite the stupid name and the fact that it's "just" a minigame collection.
It's got great gameplay, great visuals and sound, embedded in a well conceived style, a funny narrative frame, and is riddled with good ideas. And it's a motion control game that works. I mean, come on.