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The psychotic rabbitlike creatures from “Rayman Raving Rabbids” were among the most popular characters to accompany the Wii’s launch last year.

They imprisoned poor Rayman — an odd birdlike creature with unattached hands and feet — but ended up taking the brunt of the abuse in the title’s many mini-games. They were pounded with hammers, shot with plungers, flung into the air, doused with carrot juice, slapped, kicked and more. It was terribly cruel — and terrifically fun.

This year, Ubisoft delivers a second batch of Rabbids. This time, they’re visiting Earth to learn about humans and their many cultures. As a result, the mini-games are spread among a number of international trips that highlight the activities common in different lands. For example, they eat refried beans with explosive results in Mexico and dig around in a zombie-infested graveyard in the “Tropics.”

Few of the games seem as cruel as those in last year’s edition — perhaps People for the Ethical Treatment of Video Critters got on their case. No one gets whacked on the head repeatedly with a hammer or spiked club. However, there’s still a lot of ornery slapstick humor. Keep Rabbids quiet on a long trip by slapping them on the mouth. Use a baseball bat to knock a Rabbid out of the park. And plaster scores of Rabbids with plungers in the shooting games.

Other games are just ornery. Rabbid wash dirty laundry, plunge toilets, spit in other Rabbids’ drinks and throw paper wads behind a teacher’s back.

All of these activities require a suitable gesture from the Wii remote and/or Nunchuck. The developers have done an excellent job of matching gestures to activities, including refining a few from last year’s editions to make them a little easier to nail. For example, the “dancing Rabbids” events are now “musical Rabbids” events that play a lot like a simplified version of “Guitar Hero.” Pick an instrument and shake the remote or Nunchuck when the falling icons hit the right spot.

Last year’s edition was actually a single- player game whose multi-player action seemed to be tacked on as an afterthought. This year, the multi-player action is the primary focus. Up to four people can customize their own Rabbid avatars and play head-to-head. Virtually every mini-game is a lot of fun to play with others. In fact, many of the games don’t have much spark when played solo.

The Wii has a very strong selection of party games, but “Rabbids 2” earns a spot at the top.

Platform: WiiOn the


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