STAFF REVIEW of Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking (Xbox 360)

Monday, January 16, 2012.
by Adam Dileva

Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking Box art Whats a Rabbid you ask? My best answer is a hyper rabbit on crack. They came about in the old Rayman series, but have since made their own spinoff games (like this one) due to their popularity, humor, and viral videos. The rabbids are generally quite hyperactive and enjoy causing mischief anywhere they can. While they may not speak a language, they are known for their constant shouting of BWH!!!! whenever they become excited. After a short time interacting with the rabbids, their impossible to not love, as theyll constantly be making you smile with their senseless antics.

Normally about now I would go in depth about the story and plot, but lets not fool ourselves here. This is solely based on mini-games and thats it. Theres some opening video about the rabbids trying to clone themselves with a cow, and it works, to the point of overflowing the city with rabbids. Now with rabbids popping up all over the city, Im assuming playing these mini-games is your way of stopping it from happening, but theres no storyline to tie in all the games in any manner. Its simply you playing mini-games repeatedly, not that thats a bad thing, as long as you know what you signed up for.

Much like any other Kinect specific title, youll be flailing your arms, kicking, jumping and ducking, and moving all around your living room, provided you have the space of course. I had a hard time playing with two people due to my space constraints so I couldnt even imagine the four player simultaneous games. Youll have access to around 30 different mini-games from the start to play in any order you wish. While there are a lot of different games to play, I really only enjoyed a handful of them, as quite a few are shallow and dull and seems to be there just because.

Firstly, you will run into some tracking issues on some of the games with a single person and with multiple. For example, theres a muscleman game where you need to mimic the pose for your balloon-mans muscles to inflate. The more accurate you mimic the pose, the faster you inflate. I was doing it properly but Kinect thought differently obviously and I didnt score very well. The same goes for the shower silhouette game where you need to fill in a shadow to scare off the oncoming rabbids. Id mimic the pose but nothing, other times it worked no problem. Some of the games seem very hit or miss with the detection without rhyme or reason. To a smaller child, this might become very frustrating as it never explains what you arent doing properly.

Just like any other great Kinect party game, your picture will be taken many times throughout playing. It will capture you in weird positions that you can view and then share online with others if you wish. I wish there was an integrated way to send the snaps to my Xbox Live friends, but you have to upload them to the website and share it that way instead. Be aware if youre a shy Kinect player, each game usually takes about three pictures of the hilarity.

The first option in the main menu is My Raving Rabbid mode. This is an augmented reality section that takes the view Kinect sees and places a rabbid for you to interact with. Theres no real objective here other than simply having fun with a rabbid running around your living room. Youre able to dress up your rabbid with unlocked items and then take a picture of you two in a pose to share online if you wish. If you have played other augmented reality games before, like EyePet, youll know exactly what this is all about. There may not be much here to do other than slap and kick the rabbid for fun then take goofy pictures, but kids will enjoy this small section.

Party Games allow three to sixteen people (granted its not 16 at once, but I commend the option being there as many games dont allow this) play in a slew of different games and styles. Each player steps up to the Kinect to take a picture, then records their voice to save their profile. During tournaments, the game will match up players and show who is playing whom rather than just having people memorize what player they are. All of these profiles can be saved for a later time also if youll be having guests that regularly play with you.

Forfeit mode has you facing off against your friends in a succession of mini-games. Losing a game means they have to perform a forfeit: some kind of crazy action which the other players will vote on if they did it properly. If so they get points, if not, their points go down and players are eliminated when it gets to 0. The Kitty mode has each player going from game to game accumulating points. If you fail you have to do the event again. The player at the end with the most points win.

Carrot juice mode makes players spin a wheel to pick a game. When a player loses the game, they have to drink a glass of his carrot juice. Drink all of your glasses and youre out of the game. Last player to have a glass wins. You can just see the possibilities of this for a tied-in real drinking game to go along with it (if youre of age obviously).

Quickplay will allow one to four players select a random or specific game. With around thirty games to choose from, there are lots to try out and see what you enjoy. Oddly, the last batch of mini-games near the bottom differ from the others as theyre animated cartoon style games rather than the 3D models or augmented reality games you mostly play. These ones seem to be very quick games that give you one shot at whatever youre supposed to do. The issue is that theres no quick retry, so youll have to wait till it calculates your score, then click retry and wait for it to load to try again if you want to beat your old score.

As I stated above, a good portion of the games are pretty unforgettable, but there are some that I kept playing over and over again. My favorite is easily Guitar Zero. Yup, its you playing an AR guitar in your hand as the notes come down the screen, just like in Guitar Hero. Its nowhere near in depth as the original game, and theres only three notes to play that you have to move your arm down the neck and strum to in time, but I kept playing it even though there was only five or six songs (which werent even that good).

I probably enjoyed the next one because its childish and has to do with snot. You have a long snot hanging out of your nose with a rabbid hanging onto the end of it. The goal is to swirl the rabbid around as fast as you can by only moving your torso and head and then cut the snot at the appropriate time to send him flying out the window for maximum distance. Its stupid, but a fun take on discus. The other I played multiple times has one where youre guiding a blindfolded rabbid with only the sound of your voice. The point though is to guide him into danger by making him step on rakes, nails and hitting other objects. You need to move around the room and shout at him to guide him that direction. Not much to it, but it was entertaining calling for the rabbid to come here! while running around my living room. Another one that I think kids will enjoy. As you finish the games youll earn TP Dollarz that can be used to purchase and unlock items for the My Raving Rabbid mode. Not much incentive to keep playing, but at least its something.

The biggest issue I had with the game is the lack of instructions per mini-game. There will be quick little pop-ups that will kind of tell you what youre supposed to be doing, but it doesnt tell you exactly how youll need to move your body to complete them. The best example of this is the fireman pong-style game that took me two tries to figure out how I was supposed to win. Im not sure why there wasnt a tutorial included before each game (skippable of course) as many of the games youll be playing two or three times just to learn what to do. I have a feeling kids might be asking their parents how theyre supposed to get the game to work because of this oversight. Secondly, youre going to need quite a bit of space if you want to play some of these games properly. I had a hard time hiding to the far side of the screen to avoid lasers because of my living room setup.

To me it was a little unfortunate that there was no reason youre playing other than playing the mini-games repeatedly. I didnt really expect much of a story being its a Rabbids game, but tying in the mini-games to stop the rabbids population growth would have given a little incentive to keep playing. If you have kids or a bunch of friends that get together for gaming nights, its a decent party game that should entertain and embarrass. If youll mostly be playing alone, its not nearly as fun and gives little motivation to keep on playing after youve tried each game.

Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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