Ubisoft’s Rabbids have had a lot of success on the Wii, but their outings on the Xbox 360 have been limited to Rayman Raving Rabbids. With the introduction of Kinect, the Rabbids have made a comeback on our favourite platform in the form of the party game http://www.trueachievements.com/Rabbids-AK-xbox-360.htm. Ubisoft was kind enough to provide a review copy so that we can bring you the opinions of one Newshound, PunkyLiar, on whether the Rabbids return has been triumphant.
A man walks up a San Francisco street having a conversation on his phone while enjoying his soda drink. Being an upstanding citizen, when the can is empty he goes to put it in the bin. Distracted by his phone call, the can doesn’t end up in the bin; the phone does instead, and this just happens to be the bin with a secret entrance to an underground Rabbids lab. In the lab, the Rabbid scientists are trying to create an entire army of Rabbids to help invade the world. The phone splashes into a chemical pool, and happens to be the vital ingredient needed to clone the Rabbid waiting for the experiment to begin. The experiment is too successful though, and so many clones are created that they fill up the lab before spilling over onto the city streets. The Rabbid invasion has begun.
This is where the story ends. The whole city, including your abode, is invested with Rabbids and you have to get rid of them through a series of fun mini-games. These games don’t take on the button-bashing format of those found in Rayman Raving Rabbids; the game requires Kinect and the 37 mini-games require all manner of bodily movements or voice commands to succeed. The mini games are split into cartoon mini-games, which take place in the underground Rabbids’ laboratory, and the ordinary mini-games spread across the city surface.
There are 16 cartoon mini-games that are only ten seconds long at most. These take the form of physical and mental experiments, but with a Rabbid twist. Horse Jockey sees players having to jump up and down on the spot so that they deflate their inflatable horse as quickly as possible. Reflexes are tested in games like Ninja Yo-Yo, where the Rabbids bungee-jump off a high wall using chewing gum and players are tasked with cutting the rope as close to the floor as possible. The Rabbid-O-Tron games, such as spot-the-difference, test mental agility.
The 21 other mini-games last much longer – usually around one or two minutes. These fun games are the ones that test the abilities of the Kinect sensor more than the players themselves. Voice commands are needed more than quick movements in Rabbid-O-Matic, where players have to guide the Rabbid through a car wash filled with traps. The more traps into which you walk, the better your score becomes. There are no prizes for guessing the influence behind Guitar Zero, where players have to play air guitar along to five different tracks. Silhou-wet sees players having to replicate shapes behind a shower curtain to stop the Rabbids taking a peek behind it.
Although the majority of the games can be completed by one person, there are two mini-games that require at least two people. In my eyes this isn’t a disadvantage though, because when I said that Rabbids: Alive & Kicking was a party game, I meant it. The game is enjoyable in single player, but the game comes to life when you have multiple players competing or co-operating to stop the Rabbid invasion. As a family game this can’t be beaten. You can have up to four players working together at any one time to reach a common objective. If you’re in a competitive mood, you can split into two teams instead.
The game also offers three Party Games for between three and 16 people. With no online capability, guess what that means? Correct, you can play the game with up to 16 people on the same console. All three party games see players having to register themselves in a ‘lobby’, and the game will call up each player individually, or in pairs, to play a randomly picked mini-game. Carrot Juice is the equivalent of a drinking game, where the loser has to drink a virtual glass of carrot juice, until there are no glasses left. Forfeits, unsurprisingly, sees the losing players having to complete a forfeit, with the other players voting on whether that forfeit was performed to a sufficient standard. Finally, Kitty has a Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? influence, as players compete to get the most cash out of 12 rounds of cartoon games.
Even though some games allow two players on the screen at once, not all of them require you to work together. Often players will find that they are acting independently towards accumulating a high score. In cases like these, you may as well be competing – it makes no difference. Despite the multiplayer capability, some games are also better when played in single-player. We played Guitar Zero with two players, but were constantly colliding with each other, despite standing a fair distance apart.
The one main downside to multiplayer is that the game only allows one gamer profile to be signed in at any one time. Even if you have two profiles signed in at the Xbox Dashboard stage, all of the cash rewards from the mini-games and all of the achievements will be rewarded to the profile registered when starting the game. The profile can only be changed by returning to the dashboard and restarting the game.
I can also guarantee that not all of the games will be to your taste. There’s no point in me telling you which ones I enjoyed and I didn’t, because I know that others will disagree with me. My fiancé’s preferences certainly differ to mine. In no way can I hold this against the game. Unfortunately, what I can hold against it is that the Kinect sensor just can’t cope with some of the games. One example is in Slapping Station, which sees players assuming the role of a station master who has to slap the many Rabbids that are leaning out of the train windows as the train pulls away from the platform. You have to bend down to hit the low Rabbids and jump up to hit the high ones. The sensor couldn’t register my jumps about 90% of the time. I’m still not certain how I’m going to get three stars out of this game.
The actions that are needed to complete the games are also often missing or ambiguous. We failed two of the cartoon games the first time because we had no idea what actions we had to perform to accomplish the task. We also got halfway through some of the other mini-games before finding the correct technique. Luckily, pausing the game will bring up a menu that offers a restart option.
If you need a break from the energetic mini-games, you can visit the third option on the Headquarters main menu – My Raving Rabbid. This brings a Rabbid into your room with which you can interact at your leisure. The game offers a range of Decorative Objects (hats and facial disguises) and Interactive Objects on which you can spend your hard-earned cash. I was especially pleased to see the return of the Captain America underpants, although I was disappointed that I couldn’t equip more than one object at a time.
When left to his own devices, the Rabbid will wonder around the room and is especially fond of his toilet brush backscratcher. Unfortunately, he will wonder through furniture. The game recognises that there is an object there and will partially obscure the Rabbid, but it won’t stop him from passing through the object. When you get bored of watching your Rabbid or providing toys for him to play with, you can slap him or kick him towards the TV screen. He makes a satisfying splat.
Unfortunately, the Kinect sensor also plays up here too. It will happily recognise a slap or a kick, but won’t recognise any gesture needed to open up the menu. The only way that we could get the menu to activate using hand gestures was by pausing the game. There is an option to use a controller to activate the menus, and I often found myself resorting to this. Not only was it necessary in this part of the game, but it actually made menu navigation much easier throughout the rest of the game.
Finally, most of you will be wondering about the achievements, bearing in mind that Rayman Raving Rabbids had some unobtainable achievements. I haven’t had a chance to attempt to earn all of the gamerscore as there’s only so much that I can do in two days, but I’m yet to encounter any achievements that I have failed to unlock when they should have done. Yes, sometimes the criteria are a little ambiguous, but once I knew exactly what I was doing I had no problems. The achievements are a nice mix of easy and challenging, one-off and cumulative, and are aimed at keeping you playing for a while.
This party game is best played with multiple people, and the variety of mini-games will cater for all tastes. It is well-suited in a family-environment with up to four players able to play on-screen at once. To reinforce its reputation as a party game, it does cater for up to 16 players in the same household, although only one gamer profile can be signed in at any one time. The game is occasionally let down by the Kinect sensor though. Quick movements often aren’t read properly, and this is likely to make the top star rating impossible for some mini-games.
When in need of a rest, My Raving Rabbid provides a decent distraction, although this too can be let down by the sensing problems. Controllers can be used to navigate the menus, but essentially this is a Kinect game and the menus are set up with this in mind.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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