Tell me about the Rabbids, George.
In Rabbids: Alive & Kicking – not to be confused with the 90s children’s programme presented by Zoe Ball and Jamie Theakston – you’re essentially the embodiment of myxomatosis in a Rabbid-infested world, thwarting the little blighters through a series of Kinect-addled minigames. I hear your sighs and I don’t blame you, another motion control title shrouded in the thin veil of plot, cementing together the whole sordid mess together like cheez wiz in Adam Richman’s arteries? But developed and published by Ubisoft, who’ve hardly put a foot wrong in recent times, can they deliver a fun Kinect experience?
Alive & Kicking is presented in a relatively sleek and polished fashion, the Kinect menu controls feel largely smooth and intuitive, as well party way capturing the vibrant nature of the Rabbid universe.
By and large there’s not a whole lot a look at except yourself bounding around your living room like a mad sod, save for the odd chuckling rabbid, but in a game which is meant to be about them, they feature little and never quite deliver the off-the-wall charm which typifies their appeal.
The bulk of A&K comes in the form of its countless mini-games, each has it’s own ‘unique’ gameplay mechanic, although I use unique in its loosest sense, explored through quick play and party modes. Some games are solo, some are multiplayer and some are just frankly not worth your time. The only real difference is that during party mode each player’s score is saved via an in-game profile and losing certain challenges can result in a forfeit ‘activity’ or punishment. The player is then voted on by his compatriots, a hideous marriage of Rabbids and prime-time Saturday night television.
Each mini-game is served up with a brief introduction, usually in the form of a rabbid or 10 being a little wild, before presenting you with an often tenuously-related playable segment. Too often are these fleeting, with some games lasting mere seconds before your own blind incompetence thwarts you, with nary an explanation given for your failure. Some games don’t even properly inform you what the goal is, the flaming marshmallow pong-with-one-bat challenge led be to believe I needed to do the polar opposite of what was actually required. The sensitivity was so skewed that even when fully aware of what I needed to do, the game thought otherwise and wildly exaggerated my movement in such a way it made this mode virtually unplayable.
Some of the games are quite fun, in part, notably the ones that require the most prancing about. In one game, rabbids are dropping bombs onto your front room floor, your sole aim is to try and avoid them, which can create some humorous moments, if ultimately knackering. Another requires participants to copy a variety of bizarre poses, accuracy is rewarded by appropriate the limbs of an inflatable bodybuilder mannequin being inflated and occasionally, in these moments, we see a slither of what rabbids are supposed to be about.
At the core of it, A&K lacking any real cohesion to bind it all together and is simply too directionless and disjointed to ever make a real claim for greatness. A whole host of dull segments intersected with others that simply didn’t work doomed this game from day one, but never comes close to capturing the essence of the rabbids or the world in which they inhabit. Rabbids: Alive & Kicking is a prime, tip-top example of the fundamental issue with bitty, disjointed Kinect games of this nature. All they end up doing is to make the player yearn for Wishy Washy, a £10 webcam and some rather basic effects; the basic elements of titles like EyeToy Play served for a far more enjoyable experience than A&K. The rabbids serve as yet another hollow vehicle for a largely bland affair of fleeting fun which may briefly amuse, but will ultimately be consigned to the shelves for all eternity.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Some fleeting fun.
Countless dull or broken mini-games, inconsistent controls, poor instructions and lack of any real cohesion.
A whole host of dull segments intersected with others that simply didn't work doomed this game from day one, but never comes close to capturing the essence of the rabbids or the world in which they inhabit.