The rabbids were first introduced alongside Rayman in the 2006 release of Rayman Raving Rabbids and their origins are due to an attempt by Ubisoft to create Rayman’s next major archenemy. The result was hordes of madcap Rabbids hell bent on an invasion.
Ubisoft seem to manage to do wacky really well, with the release of Rayman Origins earlier this year proving to be an excellent example of this. It was with this experience and the promise of earlier Rabbids titles that I had a certain hope and expectation that this could be another surprise hit of the highest quality. Suffice to say this proved to be a notion as silly and long lived as the Rabbids themselves.
Rabbids Alive and Kicking simply does not deliver the fun and craziness that it alludes to and is yet another disappointing Kinect title. Besides the general disappointment however there is still some fun to be had.
The opening sequence sets the scene as to how these Rabbids happen to invade your home and it’s simply hilarious. Living underneath the city, the Rabbids devise a plan to multiply rapidly to aid their invasion and randomly decide to combine Rabbids with cows. This has the required effect and soon Rabbids start popping up all over the city. At this point the game cleverly makes use of augmented reality and zooms from a panned view of the city to a room within a building that looks exactly like the one you are standing in. It provides a “cool” moment and serves to make you feel part of the game world.
But as far as a story goes that’s really it. The Rabbid invasion is really just a hook on which to hang a whole bunch of mini-games; some of which are fun to a small extent. The games can be confusing at times, with the one liner descriptions proving to be inadequate, often requiring multiple attempts before the objective of the game is understood.
My biggest criticism of the mini-games is that the load time between games is too long; often-times being longer than some of the games themselves.
Some games only last a few seconds and unless you suffer from a short attention span, it’s just too short to be enjoyable. The longer spanning games are the best of the bunch but unfortunately there are only a handful in the 30+ that are available.
There are a few gems which include variations of Guitar Hero and Lemmings. These provide a glimpse of how good Rabbids Alive and Kicking could have been, had the same care and thought been given to all the games.
There are 2 game mode variations for the mini-games. Quick play allows you to play mini games individually by selecting your favourites or by having random mini games thrown your way. The best way to play however is the party games, which combines the various mini-games into 3 game types and allows up to 16 players to join in the fun.
The best party games are Forfeit and Carrot Juice, and both pit you against other players. In Forfeit a loss against your opponent requires you to perform some strange task like singing the national anthem with your mouth closed. This is followed by a vote from the remaining players on their satisfaction with your effort, which involves players standing on either side of a thumbs up or thumbs down sign. With limited time available to cast your vote even this menial task becomes frantic fun.
In Carrot Juice a wheel is spun determining the type of mini-game that will be played, varying from individual to competitive to cooperative. Failure to complete a mini game successfully or losing against your opponent results in you drinking one of your virtual glasses of carrot juice. Run out of carrot juice and you are out of the game.
The Kitty is the last of the party games, and is by far the weakest. Instead of competing simultaneously with other players, every mini-game is a single player variant only, with the aim to fill your kitty in the style of the popular TV quiz show The Weakest Link. Points can be banked as you win a round or carried over to the next round for even greater winnings. The problem is that in a round of 12 games the same game is often repeated multiple times. All in all a mode that fails as a party game as it is simply not engaging enough for all participants.
Regardless of the game mode played the successful completion of a mini-game comes with the reward of in-game currency aka TP DollarZ. This currency can be used in the My Raving Rabbid portion of the game where you get to interact with your very own Rabbid. Buy outfits to dress up your rabbid or props to pull sadistic pranks. In all honesty this is a total waste of time and is nothing more than a 5 minute novelty.
Graphically, Rabbids is quite bland with environments that do little to inspire excitement. The inclusion of augmented reality in certain games detracts from the visuals even further. The music is not memorable and the constant cries of “bwaaah” soon grow old.
Menu navigation via the Kinect for the most part worked well but failed miserably in others. In the My Raving Rabbid portion of the game the Kinect struggled to recognise my actions, leading to great frustration and forcing me to revert to the use of the Xbox controller. Apart from the navigational issues, I experienced no problems with the in-game actions required to play the mini-games. Controls were generally responsive and accurate and did not impede my ability to complete a task.
There is no mistaking that Rabbids will provide hours of entertainment for little ones during the holidays but eventually this title will be forgotten. Rabbids Alive and Kicking shows glimpses of its potential but ultimately is not worth your time or money. After experiencing the excellence of Rayman Origins one can’t help but feel that the Rabbids, despite their promising start years ago alongside the off-the-wall Rayman have now overstayed their welcome.Forum discussion