Rabbids: Alive & Kicking is the sixth game from Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids franchise, originally a spin off from the Rayman series of games (keep an eye on the site for our review of Rayman Origins, coming soon). This is the party game’s first Kinect title, a change from the Rabbids normal home: the Wii. Alive & Kicking is purely a collection of mini-games, you won’t even find the semblance of a story mode – although there is a very vague attempt at an introductory plot. This doesn’t really matter though as the main idea behind the title is just to have some stupid fun. And so I did!
I roped my housemate in to help me try out a variety of mini-games. The two main modes here are “Quick Play” and “Party Play”; the only difference between them is the latter gives you some sort of competitive goal to work towards — although you will need at least three players to give this ago. Got more than a few people over at your place? There’s support for up to 16 players in Party Play! There’s a nice variety of activities playable as a single player, 1v1, 1v1v1, as well as 2-player and 4-player co-operative, depending on the mini-game and your assortment of friends.
Most of the 20+ mini-games are able to explain what to do with only a short sentence. The beauty of Kinect is that you literally just have to act out what it wants you to do. The back cover of Rabbids indicates “activity level: active” and you should take note. Some of these have you frantically running, twisting, galloping and swimming with an intensity that I was surprised by! You will need a fair bit of room to crack out some of the mini-games: the space I have allocated for Kinect at the moment needed to be increased. You’ll also want to get rid of anything behind you; the games that have you playing on the floor do not interact well with couches, I found.
Although you can’t expect every game in one of these mini-game bonanzas to be brilliant, there’s some that had the potential to be good, but were just plain old broken by having to play them with Kinect. In the same sort of vein, I found the menu navigation difficult to use and was opting for the controller to navigate nine times out of ten.
The other game mode is “My Raving Rabbid” where a couple of people can interact with an augmented reality Rabbid who comes to life in your living room. Basically, you can smack it about a bit and buy some extra items using the in-game currency you’ve won from the mini-games. Honestly, I didn’t find it all that inspiring and suffered from perpective issues when trying to connect with the on-screen Rabbid.
Something that I thought would have been a given with this sort of game would be the ability to sign in more than one Xbox LIVE account. This is not the case however, with only one player allowed to rack up the achievements and game progress while everyone else participating is resigned to helping them out. As a gaming household, I found this pretty unforgivable. Also inexcusable are the waiting times at the start of each game. This is a party game, and I don’t want to be standing around waiting for 15 seconds to play a game that’s going to take me 20-30 to complete.
Regardless of the mini-games which are broken and/or annoying, there’s enough here to get a few hours of fun out of Rabbids: Alive & Kicking. I imagine that the whole thing would go down a lot better with a younger audience, and I’d recommend this as a party game for kids in a market that’s really lacking in decent titles — particularly for the Kinect.