Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking Review

By Darryl Kaye on November 9, 2011

After appearing as a spin-off from the Rayman franchise, the crazy critters that Ubisoft dubbed Rabbids have really blossomed into their own beast. Their first appearances were as party-game material, but they've since spawned serious games. However, with Rabbids: Alive & Kicking being for Microsoft's Kinect peripheral, they've gone back to their roots and are in the party spirit once again - it's just a shame the game loses its appeal unless you're actually in a party environment.

Plot has never been a strong point in any Rabbids game and it's safe to say that with Rabbids: Alive & Kicking, that mantra stays true. There is a plot there, it's just about some weird stuff like cows, cloning and the Rabbids causing as much mayhem as possible. In other words, it's pretty standard practice.

There are over 30 mini-games to try out in this package and they all strut their stuff with varying results. Quite often, the games will challenge you in ways that haven't been seen before in this type of collection and it's nice to see that the developers weren't keen to rest on their laurels.

A shining example of this would be the aptly named Udder Nonsense. The purpose here is to strike poses for the camera and you'll be judge according to the accuracy of the pose you make. The twist is that it's a two player game and only one of you has to pose for the camera - they just can't see what pose they need to do. The other person serves as a guide, informing the "poser" of the strange position they need to take up. It becomes... utter nonsense as you're both trying to work together to get the pose down, but it's surprisingly difficult to figure out some of them when you're laughing at what your friend is attempting to do.

Whack a Rabbid is also a fantastic little game which takes a snapshot of your environment and makes Rabbids appear from almost everywhere - only for you to smack them down.

These are shining examples of how a mini-game should be done using the Kinect, but there are far more examples of how they shouldn't be done. It's also a bit frustrating that Kinect is the reason for the faults, especially when the game has been designed to make use exclusively of the peripheral.

Sometimes the camera will just fail to pick up motions even when moving slowly and if you speed up a little, it can just lose track of what's going on completely. This is true for both two and four player games and it saps the fun out of the experience. What's the point of playing some games for a bit of competitive fun if the score at the end isn't reflective of what actually happened during the game?

Moving away from mini-games that just don't work properly, there are also some that are rather boring in their own right and given the high standards of the Rabbids games on the Nintendo Wii, it's a tad disappointing that this is the case.

The issue gets compounded further by the fact that the majority of the games become rather arduous if there aren't multiple people playing - something which also wasn't the case as much in previous Rabbids titles.

It's a shame, because there are some genuinely fun mini-game experiences to be found within this collection. The aforementioned Udder Nonsense and Whack a Rabbid, as well as others like Big Brother. These games all deserve genuine praise.

Rabbids: Alive & Kicking has an adorable graphical style and in typical Rabbids fashion, it's rather evident that it doesn't take itself too seriously. This aspect of the game is nailed, with it being able to appeal to almost any audience, young or old. It's just a shame that Kinect's performance hinders the experience a bit and makes the presentation falter somewhat. Sound is also of a high quality - there's something oddly memorable about those strange Rabbid noises.

With the story only being a loose element, the game's replay value will depend solely on the company you keep as the single-player component isn't the most exciting of affairs. If you're always in good company, then Rabbids: Alive & Kicking could be a good game to crack out, but otherwise its lasting appeal won't be too great.

Final Thoughts

Rabbids: Alive & Kicking has some fantastic games that serve as a great example of what Kinect is capable of. It's just a shame that there aren't more of these games. Between the mini-games that are poor because of Kinect's own performance issues and other mini-games that are just plain boring, Alive & Kicking quickly deteriorates from a fun, original collection of mini-games, to a rather average one that won't have much lasting appeal.

Some of the games are fantastic.
The Rabbids appear with their classic charm.
When the game works, it works really well.
Kinect ruins some of the games.
There are quite a lot of games that just aren't fun.
Not a great experience if you're alone.
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