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Gaming Review

'Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking' review (Xbox 360)

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Released on Friday, Nov 4 2011

Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking

© Ubisoft


Also available on: N/A
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Party

Raving Rabbids: Alive And Kicking is the first time the mischievous and maniacal Raving Rabbids have appeared on Kinect, which is somewhat surprising considering that this is exactly the sort of game Microsoft's motion device was designed for.

While over the past couple of years we've seen the Rabbids move away from the party game genre, it's nice to see them back doing what they do best in this Kinect mini-game compilation. The question is, with so many games on offer, can the Rabbids squeeze the very best out of an inconsistent Kinect device?

Raving Rabbids: Alive And Kicking's plot is as important to the game as lyrics are to a Jedward song, but needless to say, it involves cloning, cows and anarchy. Set in what appears to be San Francisco, players move from location to location attempting to thwart the Rabbid onslaught.

Other games exist in the Rabbids' underground laboratories, taking the form of mental and physical experiments. There are more than 30 games on offer - a good selection - but unfortunately, only half of them are worth playing.

When it's good, Raving Rabbids: Alive And Kicking is great. Udder Nonsense is a cheerleader mini-game for two players. Most titles would have both players copying the dance moves and actions as they appear onscreen. Udder Nonsense, on the other hand, splits players into coach and cheerleader.

Only the coach can see the screen, performing dance moves for the clueless cheerleader to copy. Needless to say, watching your partner's face as you launch into the chicken dance is almost as priceless as seeing them do it.

The augmented reality games are also a lot of fun, and generally work very well. Whack A Rabbid is based on the traditional 'whack a mole' fairground game, taking place in players' very own living areas. The Rabbids burrow through holes in the floor and must be jumped or stamped on in order to send them back from whence they came. And while it's not the best game on the disc, it's simple enough (and gimmicky enough) to appeal to everyone.

Big Brother is another game to successfully utilise the augmented reality feature. Once again based in a player's room, points are earned for moving and dancing without the lazy Rabbid security guards spotting you on their surveillance screen. As soon as the alarm bells start ringing, players have a few seconds to jump off screen and avoid losing points. Once again, it's not particularly challenging, but is definitely one of the highlights.


As with most party games, Raving Rabbids: Alive And Kicking has its fair share of duds, but there are also too many games that are ruined by the Kinect sensor. Take Hacked Off, for example. The game offers a novel twist on the old sawing a person in half trick - or in this case a bunch of Rabbids - with two-players grabbing both ends of a hacksaw and replicating a sawing motion.

Unfortunately, what would have made a passable mini-game is borderline unplayable thanks to Kinect. Despite following onscreen cues, the camera fails to pick up player actions, from the initial motion of grabbing the saw, to actually moving it back and forth. If players become too animated and enthusiastic, the camera will often lose sight of one of them, further adding to the frustration.

The same is true of many of the four-player games. Silou-Wet - which by itself is an excellent game - has similar issues with Kinect failing to pick up players. More people playing means that there is more that can go wrong. The aim of this game is to fill menacing shapes in a shower curtain to scare the Rabbids away.

Like a modern take on Twister, players will be mangled together in all kinds of precarious positions. The pictures that follow each round add to the hilarity - after all, it's not often you see four people attempt to create an elephant, or replicate a hatchet. Unfortunately, it's far too easy to stray off screen and fail to create the desired shape, largely thanks to Kinect's limitations.

Then there are the games that are just plain dull. As a rule, you can tell which ones these are based on the pictures that follow. While shape-shifting games such as Silou-Wet will throw up all kinds of interesting and wacky photographs, standing still and thinking is hardly the most visually impressive activity. Unfortunately, the lack of rounds and gameshow presentation makes these games even more boring and a bad fit for the title.

The least interesting games generally fall into the underground lab category, and while on a technical level there's nothing wrong with the mental and physical tasks on offer, they're just not that much fun in a party environment.

One game sees players run on the spot, another asks participants to try and identify the correct number of genuine sheep, while a further game sees players headbang as rigorously as possible. Again, they work fine and offer something of a challenge, they're just not as much fun as the others.

While a normal mini-game compilation features a mixture of good and bad, Raving Rabbids: Alive And Kicking also has Kinect issues to contend with. Some games are side-splittingly funny, others are mind-numbingly dull, while a few simply don't work due to the limited nature of Kinect.

On balance, Raving Rabbids: Alive And Kicking features more highlights than low points, which makes it a worthy mini-game compilation for those looking to party with Kinect.



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