Rayman Raving Rabbids 2

The tale of Rayman is a sad one. Whereas he was once France's most popular gaming export, with his sophisticated cravat and cute detached hands and feet, the Rayman-series games of recent years have largely ignored the brand's eponymous star and instead focused on a bunch of loony rabbits.

In fact, in this latest Rayman arrival, Rayman himself doesn't even make it onto the front cover. He does feature on the back of the box, but no one's fooling us – it's a token gesture at best. We feel for the limbless guy.

Alongside this rabbit revolution, the series has slid increasingly into casual territory from what was once very solid platform gaming. Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 continues the trend, offering up a selection of mini-games very loosely tied into a story about following the raving rabbids (or rabbits) around the globe.

These mini-games reside in the middle ground, somewhere between standard action games and those that would be quite at home nestled within a brain training title. As such, tasks range from keeping one of the rabbids balanced on a log, to tracing the outline of one of the barking bunnies using the stylus and touchscreen. From the outset, it's clear the gameplay is aimed at the younger gamer. Proof lies in unlockable picture rewards that you can colour in at your leisure.

There are 16 mini-games in total, and in the main Story mode these are split into levels set in various countries around the world. Each of these levels contain six different game events, meaning the mini-games start to repeat quickly.

In order to progress, not only do you have to complete each of the events, but also fill a point meter that requires at least a couple of plays at each event. The justification for the point meter lies in the story: you're collecting evidence on the raving rabbids before moving on around the globe. As story links go, it's a fairly tenuous one, so don't come to Raving Rabbids 2 expecting an engaging plot.

Instead, the game's bullet point-grasping special feature is the use of 3D scenes that accompany each mini-game. To make the most of this, you can customise your rabbit avatar, who features in each 3D sequence, by changing its clothes and accessories, or even soaking the furry critter in blood. Each of these 3D segments is similarly soaked in a sort of loud wackiness that attracts and repels in equal measure. But unless you've managed to remain ignorant to the bleating weirdness of the rabbids by avoiding previous Rayman Rabbid games, this should come as no surprise.

Unfortunately, the visual spruce-up doesn't make up for the lack of challenge in the game. As already covered, it's aimed at the younger player – which is fine – but the mini-games on show could have offered a much longer and more satisfying experience if they featured a proper learning curve. As is, even weekend gamers will find themselves acing the majority of the games on their first attempt.

The globe-trotting structure may keep you hanging on throughout the Story mode, but it can be completed within a pitifully small amount of hours. After this, you only have the Score mode and multi-player left to busy yourself with. Score offers nothing genuinely new and uses the same map and games as the Story option. All that's different is it remembers your top scores rather than just congratulating you after each game.

Rayman Raving Rabbids 2, then, is perhaps best represented by its characteristic flimsiness. Most of the mini-games are enjoyable in small quantities, but played in this way the title's only likely to offer a handful of hours of play. Meanwhile, the game's supposed strong point – the visuals – don't stand up to criticism, either. The 3D sequences are pleasant enough, but the rest of the presentation is lacking, with a bog-standard interface and style-free in-game graphics that reveal this as a title seemingly lacking the loving touch.

In this manic pre-Christmas gaming season, Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 is unlikely to be the last game deserving of the great big 'must try harder' stamp that we'll see over the next month or so. Seasoned gamers will suck it dry of its gaming juice within very few hours, so we can only recommend it for the most casual of gamers; and then only very tentatively.

Rayman Raving Rabbids 2

Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 tries to seduce you with its quirky 3D visuals, but at its core this is just a bare-bones mini-game collection that can only sustain the briefest of relationships