Kinect and party games to go together like peaches and cream, if you believe the word of game developers. The latest, Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking, is no exception; in fact it is probably the most fun party game I have dabbled in – dabbled being the operative word.
The game does introduce a few new twists on the genre; the games are humorous and offer plenty of variety, from posing behind a shower curtain to strumming an invisible air guitar. They also vary in the amount of players that are able to take part, so solo players beware, you will need to curry favour with friends to complete the full range of mini games.
Some of the games make use of ‘augmented reality’, which is a sexy way of saying, ‘there is a picture of you in your lounge and the Rabbids are superimposed onto it’. Either way, it is novel and not a feature that is overused.
Graphically the game has its own style, and the Rabbids, spin-offs from the Rayman series, will raise a smile, and probably a few laughs. The creative team behind Raving Rabbids have gone out of their way to create characters from these creatures, the end result being somewhat similar to the cackling, evil Gremlins that enjoyed a successful box office run in the 80s. They are also similar to those spiky creatures in their disdain for safety, subtlety and respect for humankind.
The idea of the mini games is to help repel a Rabbid invasion of the Earth; however, there is only so much you can do, and it will only be a matter of time before you are overwhelmed. One moment that brought this home to me was at the end of a level where the objective was slapping Rabbids hanging out of train windows; it was fun giving them some feedback until the timer ran out, but then the platform was swamped with a seething wave of the creatures.
Another notable mini game involved protecting a pile of hotdogs while dressed as a human-sized hotdog; this was fun for a few minutes, until I realised the movements were pretty much identical to those in the previous game, and even though the perspective had changed my lumbering actions were essentially in the same planes of motion. I guess there is only so much you can do with a Kinect interface to maintain the illusion of variety.
Something that always draws me into Kinect games is the navigation. Rabbids has new systems that are a little hit and miss, for me at least. The hit is that it recognises both hands and any time you want to go back or cancel something, you can just swipe the left hand from left to right. That aspect works well, but the actual navigation struggles as a victim of trying something new. A vertical bar split into areas sits on the right; the middle of the bar is the ‘select’ area, while the others cycle selections. The concept is to cycle to your choice of mini game and then keep your hand in the centre section to swipe, but more often than not I found my position had wavered enough to cause a different game to be selected while I was trying to hit the ‘select’ sweet spot. This was frustrating and left me wondering exactly how hard it was tested.
The game also offers my favourite pastime in lieu of the games on offer, and that is effectively a screen saver of my lounge, compete with one Rabbid. This solitary Rabbid can be punched and kicked across the room, but generally into the face of the TV. There is a guilty pleasure taken from booting a Rabbid over and over into the screen, and taking the obligatory snapshot for uploading.
Overall, the game has a decent mixed bag of activities and Kinect interaction, but I don’t see myself returning to fight the anti-Rabbid fight anytime soon. I may dabble occasionally, but remain safe in the knowledge I have better games to play.
Lasting Appeal: 5.0