Raving Rabbids first made its debut on the Wii as a spinoff to the very long running Rayman series. I never quite understood what the Raving Rabbids had to do with Rayman, as I’d never seen them in any of the original Rayman games. Still, the Raving Rabbids had an undeniable charm to them: their big expressive faces, screaming and rudeness really appealed to me. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the first Raving Rabbids game on the Wii and I was so stoked when I heard that the game was also coming to Kinect! Now I had a chance to play it and I must say… I was pleasantly surprised!
It has been more than a year ago since Kinect launched and the editors and community of 123Kinect recently have had quite a bit of discussion on the fact that developers are still bringing out Kinect titles that have the same fundamental problems as the first generation of Kinect games. Ubisoft however did look at the Kinect games that came out in the past year and adopted a few of the elements that work well. Especially in the interface department things are actually very good now. I have often complained that a Kinect based user interface is slow, clunky, counter-intuitive or plain obstructive. Rabbids Alive & Kicking fortunately doesn’t suffer from any of these interface problems because they simply copied and slightly improved the best Kinect interface out there: The Dance Central one! On top of that I think they made the very simple decision to allow players to grab the controller to go through menus where there are a lot of options. You might think that this goes the whole Kinect way of going about, but this is actually an extremely welcome feature! For those that have played Kinectimals and tried redecorating your house with the Kinect interface know that this can take ages and would be so much faster with a regular controller. Well Ubisoft learned and has implemented the best user interface in a Kinect game to date. Props to them for that!
Rabbids Alive & Kicking is essentially just another mini game collection, but one with a presentation and charm that sets it apart from the competition. The Rabbids are cute and funny and the mini-games are diverse and entertaining. There are 37 mini-games in total, of which some even have multiple stages: there is a ton of stuff to do. Some of the mini-games might feel familiar to the seasoned Kinect player as lots of good concepts from other Kinect mini-games are taken. There are mini games that closely resemble those of Kinect Adventures, while others take elements from Leedmees, Hole in the Wall or even Michael Phelps Push the Limit!
There are also some Kinect enhanced reincarnations of classic games. For instance: you can now play pong while using your body as a paddle: duck down for it to go down, or make yourself long for it to go up, fun and it works pretty well! I will not give your a rundown of all the games in Rabbids (that is for you to explore) but the games will have you do poses, run in place, test your hand coordination and multi-tasking skills, test your endurance or have you run all around your room trying to dodge stuff. The diversity is just enormous!
While playing through the games my experience regarding the tracking were a bit mixed. With some of the games the tracking is flawless, while with others it glitches up occasionally. The most problems occurred with games in which you can jump: for some reason the game thought at times that I jumped, when I clearly didn’t! Overall I would say that the tracking is implemented pretty well, but it’s definitely not flawless and needs improvement in some areas.
Not a single player game
Even though there are a lot of different mini-games the question still remains whether this game is actually any fun. The answer to this is yes and no. When I first started testing this game I was alone, I went through a bunch of the mini-games and got quite bored quickly. It doesn’t help that the loading time of some of the mini-games is quite long and waiting alone standing in front of the TV is no joy.
When I got sick of this singleplayer I invited my girlfriend to play along and the dynamics of the game instantly changed! The mini-games became very engaging when played together, especially the ones where you will be challenging each other (some games are only cooperative, some are only versus and with some you can choose how you want to play them). Then, a few days later, I had a whole bunch of friends over and we decided to play Rabbids Alive & Kicking. This is where the game really starts to shine. Playing with a group of people is really the way to go with Rabbids: it’s fun, it’s competitive, it sparks conversation and it engages people to play along!
Does it stay fun?
Rabbids Alive & Kicking is a game that might suffer a bit from limited replay value. In fact, the game will probably become extremely dull very quickly when playing in single player (as explained in the previous paragraph). When playing the game with two players it gets a lot more fun, but when you have gone through all of the mini-games once or twice I don’t think you’ll want to come back for more. However, I do seriously think the game will stay fun as a party game for a long time! I think that every time I’ll have friends over and we feel like playing some Kinect, Rabbids Alive & Kicking will be the first game we’ll go for.
If you are a completionist you might also get a bit more value out of Raving Rabbids, because after finishing a mini-game you’ll be rewarded with a cash value based on your performance. This cash can be spent in the “My Rabbids” mode where you are presented with an augmented reality sandbox where you can play around with one of the Rabbids. The cash can be spent on numerous items that allow for interaction, decoration and customizable apparel of the Rabbids. If you want to buy all of these items you’ll be playing Rabbids Alive & Kicking for quite some time!
Rabbids Alive & Kicking is a very complete mini-game collection that has quite a lot of content and an impeccable presentation that heavily relies on the comical extravagant Rabbids. Ubisoft had a good look at existing Kinect games and as a result the interface is near perfect. The game uses the best concepts of other Kinect games and translates those to short but fun mini-games. However these mini-games are not very entertaining when played in singleplayer and only really start to shine when played with a big group of people. If you are planning to buy this game just for the singleplayer I would strongly recommend against it. If you are however looking for a game to play with a group of friends this is your game! Even though it suffers from some tracking problems you’ll be laughing those off and what remains is a fun and diverse experience that will provide you and your friends with solid entertainment and hilarious moments!
This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Rabbids: Alive & Kicking
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