Hands on with Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 on DS

The sequels are multiplying as fast as rabbids

Hands on with Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 on DS

In the long wait for a true Rayman platform game, Ubisoft intends to tide us over with the craziness of more rabbids. Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 may be more a chance to pack a Nintendo DS cartridge with a load of mini-games than a platform for promoting the titular hero but, pleasingly, our latest hands on time has given us a positive outlook on this kooky game.

Raving Rabbids 2 documents the invasion of our planet by the hilarious rabbids (see the Rabbids 2 trailer we posted earlier). Commencing their zany takeover at a shopping mall, the rabbids quickly move to the four corners of the globe. Their annexation of the human world involves a slate of 36 different mini-games, most of them remixed from the Wii version launching simultaneously in November this year.

A few mini-games are being directly ported, but most have understandably been redesigned with the touchscreen in mind. We had the opportunity to play three of the games: 'McRabbid', 'Weird Mood', and a rhythm-based challenge.

The first of these, McRabbid, follows the rabbids on a trip to a fast food joint, where they order sustenance on the top display and you have to select the proper item on the touchscreen. Four choices are given, with a tap from the stylus selecting your answer. As the mini-game progresses, the orders are pixelated to make identification difficult, and then completely blacked out. It isn't terribly hard but it is entertaining, nonetheless.

Weird Mood proved considerably more challenging. The mini-game features a rabbid sitting behind an X-ray machine and being examined by another rabbid pretending to be a doctor. Conducting the neural biopsy involves dragging coloured icons into the rabbid's brain using the stylus; for each colour shown, you have to drag five like-coloured shapes into the brain. After a few easy iterations, the shapes start moving faster and capturing them becomes quite difficult.

Finally, the rhythm-based mini-game we tried (one of many such challenges expected in Raving Rabbids 2) consists of four circles displayed on the touchscreen which are to be tapped to the beat of the music as icons fall through them. Hardly taxing stuff, but we suspect it's mainly just meant to be entertaining. Intending to drive home that point, Ubisoft promised us a small slate of licensed songs falling in the rock, pop, and disco genres.

All the work done across the game's slew of mini-games won't go unrewarded, of course, with a tonne of unlockable items for customizing your own rabbid. For each area the rabbids successfully invade, a set of items become available for you to use on the rabbids – expect sunglasses to T-shirts to funky wigs. Additionally, you have the option of actually drawing on your rabbid using the touchscreen.

Customizing a rabbid will definitely be the way to go since you can send them to other players via wi-fi (transferring a personalized rabbid is done through the postcard system, which has you drawing an electronic postcard on the touchscreen). Better than this, though, the game supports an international ranking system that enables you to upload your high scores to the game's leaderboards.

Granted, Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 is unlikely to be the deepest game to hit Nintendo DS this year, but it definitely looks fun. A lot of effort is being made to ensure it isn't a mindless collection of mini-games lacking staying power. In particular, we came away specifically interested in trying out the online features, which we believe could differentiate it from other mini-game collections.

Click 'Track It!' to automatically follow our coverage until the game's November release.

Tracy Erickson
Tracy Erickson
Manning our editorial outpost in America, Tracy comes with years of expertise at mashing a keyboard. When he's not out painting the town red, he jets across the home of the brave, covering press events under the Pocket Gamer banner.