The Raving Rabbids are real - or so we are led to believe - and they're invading our living rooms, via the Xbox 360 and Kinect - it’s up to you to fight them off.
In Rabbids - Alive & Kicking, augmented reality pulls the Rabbids into the real world, placing the Rabbids in your very own living room - a rather intimidating thought for anyone familiar with the hyperactive trouble makers, who have previously starred in bizarre party titles like the Wii's Rayman Raving Rabbids.
The Rabbids are particularly hilarious looking bunny-like abominations, who clearly have some kind of world domination plan at the centre of their madness. In Rabbids - Alive & Kicking, which is largely being touted as a party game, it’s up to you to beat the Rabbids in a range of mini-games clearly focused at the party happy social gamer - rather than the run of the mill couch potato.
Rabbids - Alive & Kicking had us bouncing around the living room more than we care to remember, and injuries are certainly not a foreign concept, as is inevitably the case when you have four players all bouncing around the room.
Four I hear you say? Yep, four.
Alive & Kicking is one of the first Kinect titles to utilise the Kinect fully and allow up to four players to join in on the party games. We’ve proudly been showing off our carpet burns and bruised feet - though if your brain cells are of value to you we’d suggest skipping the head-banging mini-game.
There is such a big range of individual games in Alive & Kicking that we found ourselves stumbling across new ones even after many hours of play. Some of the games are significantly shorter than others, but all are fairly unique, and most functioned quite well on the Kinect.
There are far too many to detail in this review, but some of our favourites were a whack-a-mole style game where Rabbids pop through your floor and you have to jump on them. Another had us slapping Rabbids in the face as they poked their heads out of a passing train, or shooting the little buggers with a pump-style goo gun.
The game also had us dodging a security spotlight as it scanned the room for us, having to put up some poses which would have been more suited to Deepak Chopra. The one that had us all in stitches was a game-ette which forced us to take on poses behind a shower curtain in order to scare the Rabbids as they snuck towards us.
Having four people crouching and bending around the living room is definitely a sight, and Rabbids - Alive & Kicking takes snap shots throughout the game which left us rolling on the floor in laughter. This aspect was a real highlight and would definitely do a lot for a Kinect party.
What was less enjoyable, particularly in a party environment, were the incessant loading screens between mini-games, and the endless score taking which consumed at times more minutes than we spent actually playing the game.
It felt as though, if the party was relying on Rabbids - Alive & Kicking, people would have long drifted off while waiting for their turn to come around. That you can bring up to 16 people into a game just seems like a logistical nightmare - especially in light of the fact that with just four of you, there's significant downtime as other players jump around. Although, considering how knackered we got while playing... this may have been intentional on the developer's part!
A further niggle is the near total lack of explanation that the games include. With so many mini-games at your fingertips, the game really would benefit from some level of instructions prior to starting - but here, by the time the on screen prompts direct you to what you need to be doing, the game is already in full swing. Chances are you'll be too busy dodging swings from your play partner as they flail around the room, trying to meet whatever criteria the game sets, to glean anything from the directions.
The Kinect, though a truly great piece of technology, has some real issues at times with identifying body parts in some of the mini-games, which made some of the games more luck than anything (though this appears to be very lighting dependent, get ready to darken the lounge and don’t expect to play in full sunlight).
The play area that is required is also significantly larger than other Kinect titles might require, so get ready to move some furniture - or maybe do some remodelling - but if you already have a spacious lounge it shouldn’t be a great concern.
The ability to jump into the game without much introduction though is certainly appealing, and many of the games are relatively easy to get the hang of. This makes Rabbids - Alive & Kicking an appealing distraction from many of the other titles around, and the humour that it presents also doesn’t go unnoticed - both laughing at the Rabbids but also other players as they shake and dance around the room.
The relatively low price tag makes Alive & Kicking an attractive title, and for the money it provides an entertaining distraction. For anyone used to the Wii version, this Rabbids title is an entirely different experience, as on the Kinect this title has taken a very different - but also entertaining - direction.
It's not without its problems but is still worth a look for certain types of gamers.