|System: Xbox 360|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montpellier|
|Release: November 8, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
The Raving Rabbids series was an unexpected smash hit on the Nintendo Wii, with its unique combination of irreverent humor and fun minigames. However, as the Wii's lifespan winds down, the Rabbids have found new life on the Xbox 360 platform with Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking. Slated for release this fall, this new take on the Raving Rabbids formula will let you play with the Rabbids in whole new ways using the Kinect peripheral.
Like most Kinect-focused games, Alive & Kicking will allow you to use various gestures to interact with the Rabbids in several minigames. As is the case in most of the other Rabbids titles, there's no real story or plot, and Alive & Kicking will simply be another party game to add to the Xbox 360's growing repertoire. Will it be different than previous entries in the Raving Rabbids series? Slightly. But it looks like Alive & Kicking's main goal is to bring the core Rabbids experience to Xbox 360 owners. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
So what kind of minigames can we expect to be playing in Alive & Kicking? One of the first we've been able to see is a Whac-A-Mole style game where you have to kick Rabbids as they appear out of holes in the ground. You'll see only a few at first, but like any good minigame, the pace ramps up and you'll have complete madness by the end. It looks to make smart use of the peripheral, and is one of the many minigames that will support both cooperative and competitive multiplayer.
Another minigame resembles the Japanese "Human Tetris"-style game show, challenging a group of people to get into a specific shape. This shape can be something as simple as an elephant or as complex as an alien creature. After you and your friends have gotten into position, the game then gives you a percentage and a rating for accuracy. And the best part? While you and your friends are making complete idiots of yourselves getting into pose position, the Kinect sensor will take pictures that you can then upload directly to Facebook without leaving the game. It'll be up to you whether you want to tag that photo and live in Internet infamy forever.
Aside from the potentially embarrassing photo capabilities, another unique facet of this mode is that it will support up to four players, which will be a first for the Kinect sensor (which officially only supports two players). Though we haven't been able to check this out ourselves, this could open the door for more games to start supporting more than just two players at once. I'm not exactly sure what technical wizardry Ubisoft has employed to get this game to exceed Kinect's technical limitations, but whatever it is, hopefully is can be duplicated.
If you aren't a fan of playing in groups, however, Alive and Kicking also has several single-player minigames. One of these is Snot Toss, which challenges you to throw poor Rabbids through specific targets that move around the screen. The game is pretty standard fare, and playing through it solo to earn high scores sounds like it will be a lot of fun for those who like more single-player focused content (like what you would find in Boom Blox). It hasn't yet been clarified whether some of these single player minigames will have multiplayer components, but even if they don't, at least Alive & Kicking will have some decent variety.
In addition to multiplayer games, Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking will also have a virtual pet feature where you can actually interact with a Rabbid. You can be nice and purchase goodies and toys for it with earned credits from minigames, or you can smack it around until it gets dizzy and falls over. If you want, you can even have a friend join in the madness and take turns tossing your Rabbid around. The ways to interact with the Rabbid are almost reminiscent of EyePet (though admittedly, not as deep or fluffy). This aspect should give the game some decent replay value, as unlocking new items to use with your Rabbid can be a long-term goal.
Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking doesn't look like it is going to be the most unique game ever, but it certainly will be a charming addition to the Kinect's library of minigame compilations. The peripheral has definitely needed some third-party support in this area (Carnival Games just doesn't count, OK?) and Alive & Kicking should definitely deliver. Add the game's inherent charm to its social networking features and support for four players (in some modes) and you have a game that may be the best party game to hit your Kinect since Dance Central.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer