Bev Chen
25 Nov, 2011

Rabbids: Alive and Kicking Review

360 Review | How many friends do you have? Lots? Read on...
Fans of the classic platforming series Rayman probably shudder every time they hear about the Raving Rabbid series. Originally conceived as a Rayman spin-off series, the Rabbids have since cast a large shadow over their predecessor, finding a rather comfortable home on the shelves in the form of party and platform games. The latest game in the series, Rabbids: Alive and Kicking, sees the mischievous critters make their debut on the Xbox 360 for one very good reason: use of the Kinect. Alive and Kicking is, after all, another collection of minigames for a whole crowd of people to enjoy, and what better way to ensure a hilarious time than by making it compatible with Microsoft’s new peripheral?

And oh boy, are there a lot of minigames. There’s around 40 of them or so, and scrolling through them all is likely to take so long that once you’ve selected one you’ll feel like you’ve earned a rest. A lot of these use augmented reality so you can watch yourself as you play, while others take the more traditional “wiggle your arms and control your character” approach. Some of the minigames were surprisingly delightful to play, such as one that can be best described as Air Guitar Hero and another that had us running through and punching crowds of Rabbids. Others presented interesting scenarios to say the least, such as one where we played a fireman on a pole who had to play pong with a burning marshmallow, or the one that involved preventing Rabbids eating hot dogs. That’s another thing - Alive and Kicking hardly presents a cohesive storyline, preferring to let players draw answers from the opening cinematic instead. Completely understandable in this case – after all, if you’re going to play a collection of party games, who really cares about the story? The Rabbids are taking over an unnamed city with the help of giant robots, and that’s all you really need to know.

The use of augmented reality lets you play Whack-a-Mole with Rabbids. Satisfying.

The use of augmented reality lets you play Whack-a-Mole with Rabbids. Satisfying.
It was a bit disappointing to note however, that a lot of the games are very repetitive, although if the developers were able to create 40 completely unique minigames that would be a feat in itself. It was also unfortunate to note that much like almost every other Kinect game we’ve played to date, the controls left a lot to be desired. There were tracking issues a lot of the time, especially when we were playing with another person. Furthermore, not every action we performed translated to an action in-game, which made games such as the hot dog challenge (during which you need to swat Rabbids clinging to your body away) mentioned above a real nightmare to play. In addition, instructions often aren’t made clear at the beginning of each game - you’re just given a task and thrown into the fray. We can partly understand why this decision may have been made; it’s no fun to sit through unskippable tutorials. So why not just create skippable tutorials? Perhaps no tutorials were included to add more hilarity to party proceedings?

The other notable mode in Alive and Kicking is ‘My Rabbid’, which is hardly the virtual pet that the rather promising name seems to indicate. Instead, players are thrown into a little space with a Rabbid and encouraged to interact with it (read: abuse it). This is made even more fun by the fact that you can buy extra accessories for your ‘pet’ with the money you earn from how well you do during minigames. But Alive and Kicking seems to have a very interesting way of awarding cash (and achievements) and you don’t need to worry if you’re lousy at the games. Instead, you’re rewarded for pulling silly faces, striking strange poses or even just doing things you’re not supposed to. One stage, for example, sees you slapping Rabbids as they go by on trains. You’re not supposed to slap the cows in the carriages, but do so and you’ll promptly be awarded with an achievement.

That is the most bizarre elephant I have ever seen.

That is the most bizarre elephant I have ever seen.
While some stages such as a Lemmings-esque game seems to work better for one person, most others seem to be slightly awkward to play by yourself and can even put you at a significant disadvantage at times. Fair enough; when the development team sat down to design this game, it probably didn’t make much sense for them to add in single player bells and whistles that could end up affecting the number of minigames on offer or how the technology works. The game supports up to 16 participants, and although we didn’t have the opportunity to try it out with that many people, we’d wager that it’s an interesting experience all on its own.

Rabbids: Alive and Kicking is certainly an interesting little collection of party games, although the variety is a bit lacking. Unfortunately, it also seems to suffer from the same response issues that have plagued many Kinect games in the past. However, there will inevitably be a Kinect sequel which will hopefully fix all these problems. As of now though, it’s one to look at picking up if you plan on playing with others, but if not, only hardcore Rabbids fans need apply.
The Score
Rabbids: Alive and Kicking is a collection of party games that’s worth picking up if you plan on playing with others, but if not, only hardcore Rabbids fans need apply.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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