2011-12-06

Raving Rabbids: Alive and Kicking – Wacky Fun For Everyone

by Yo Snyder

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; I love the rabbids. They
first screamed onto the scene as a launch game for the Nintendo Wii by
tormenting Rayman. Eventually, they branched out on their own with a
solid string of fun games, but few captured the sheer wackiness and fun
of their first couple outings. However, Raving Rabbids: Alive and Kicking
comes pretty close. It’s a natural move for them to go from the motion
controls of the Wii to the full body controls of the Kinect, and with
some of the new possibilities the Kinect gives them, the rabbids have
put together a wacky fun game that everyone can enjoy.

The first
two Rabbids game had arguably some of the wackiest and most fun
mini-games to grace just about any console. Well, they’ve rediscovered
that vigor and creativity with Kinect. From really short mini-games
where you have to literally lick chocolate cake off a rabbids face as
fast as you can by moving your head up and down, to more involved games
like slapping rabbids as a train goes by, imitating the cheer poses of a
cheerleading cow (yeah, you read that right), or working together to
create a scary silhouette to frighten off rabbids invading your
bathroom, there are some really wacky games here. But that’s just the
start, the rabbids will also invade your living room thanks to the
abilities of the Kinect. The camera provides some augmented reality
games that are really fun, like a whack-a-mole variation where on your
TV you’ll see rabbids start to pop-up from the floor. Jump on them as
fast as you can to score the most points to win. Or, a rabbid will fire
various weapons at you and you have to dash around your living room to
avoid the devastating effects. Then there’s the “move-over-Guitar Hero”
augmented reality game that puts a guitar in your hands virtually on the
TV and asks you play it well enough to attract as many rabbids as
possible with your awesome rock skills. In short, Alive and Kicking has a huge variety of mini-games and most of them are really quite fun.

Adding
to the fun is all the ways you can enjoy these mini-games. You can just
jump right in with quick play, but the real fun is setting up parties.
Here you have 3 to 16 people (I know, crazy right?) and they can all
compete in a few different ways. There are some fun elimination type
games, or you can try a riskier type set-up similar to playing a “skins”
match in golf. Each round you earn a certain amount of TP (toilet
paper, the game’s currency…really). At the end of your turn, you can
choose to cash-in and start over or try to build up your kitty to get a
higher amount by winning the next mini-game. However, if you lose, you
lose everything and have to start over with nothing. And one of the many
small charms of the game is how you know it’s your turn. Before the
game, each player needs to stand in front of Kinect so it can get a
picture of you, and then you can record a brief sound-byte of…well,
anything you like. Trust me, in our house, we always know exactly who’s
turn it is because of that little addition.

I should mention,
however, that not everything is perfect with the game. There are the
usual Kinect caveats – you need plenty of space, especially for this
game, and good lighting – and a few other quirks to contend with as
well. I’d say this Kinect version is about as accurate as the first
Rabbids game was on the Wii; which is to say pretty good but not perfect
– about 90% or so. There’s also the frustration of not quite knowing
what you’re doing. If you want to jump right into the party games, be
warned that you won’t be told what motions are needed or even what the
objective is. However, a little trial and error quickly reveals all;
still, it’d be nice to have at least a brief description or even an
option to practice (which I suppose is what quick-play is for). Menu
navigation can be hit or miss as well. Kinect occasionally changes who’s
in charge of navigating the menus, and in the My Rabbids extra mode,
where you can dress up a rabbid in your living room and then smack and
kick them around to hilarious effect, the menu is especially finicky for
some reason.

You know, odd as it may sound, but playing all
these mini-games with those wacky rabbids got me thinking about the
rat-race known as life. So many are “in it to win it” thinking that “he
with most toys wins”, but that kind of mentality has only produced
discontentment, financial strife, stress and disappointment as it
becomes more and more apparent that it’s not really possible to “win”
the rat-race, perse. The great part about Raving Rabbids: Alive and Kicking
isn’t so much the winning, but just how fun it is play. When you get
friends and family together to laugh and do goofy things with this game,
that’s the real win; the fun, the fellowship and the good times. We can
get so focused with “winning” in life, whatever that may mean, that we
often forget to just enjoy it. Jesus said that he came to bring us life,
and that more abundantly (see for yourself in John 10:10).  Whatever
else you may think that means, it sound to me like he just wants to help
us enjoy this life free from guilt, shame, distress, and all the other
things that sin in all its forms brings. You see, with Jesus we can not
only enjoy life more, but we can also “win”, because through his death
and resurrection sin is defeated and a new, eternal life is ours for the
living. 

Maybe it’s because this is the Christmas season, which
for me has always been about togetherness with friends and family, but I
really enjoyed Raving Rabbids: Alive and Kicking. It’s a fun way
to spend time together doing really wacky things and to enjoy some good
laughs. The mini-games are many and varied, the Kinect technology is
put to good use in a lot of ways, and there are some really fun set-ups
for doing party games or just doing a few quick games to pass the time.
The few quirks and hinderances of the Kinect and things like
non-existent tutorials don’t really dampen the fun, which is a testament
to the appeal of this simple formula that began all those years ago
when Nintendo dared to suggest that games might be more fun with motion
controls. The rabbids are proving that point all over again with Kinect.

Score out of 7:

Graphics: 5 – The cartoony graphics
work well, and when they go CG, they look pretty good, even when it’s
displayed in your living room. Not a graphical power-house by any means,
but works well for evil rabbits who want to take over the world (or at
least your living room).

Sound: 5 – There’s just something about
the rabbids’ screams that makes me laugh. There are also plenty of other
sound effects that will elicit some giggles in this game; it’s like
playing a cartoon. The song selections for the musical games are a
little weak, past games have been more fun, but for the most part the
sound perfectly compliments the cartoon, slap-stick, silly vibe of the
game.

Controls: 5 -This is a tough one to rate because there are
times where the controls work really well, and times where they don’t.
However, the work well most of the time, hence the score. In fact,
Kinect does some pretty amazing things in how precise it can be here
(like knowing if your face and not just your hands or something else is
moving during the “lick the cake off” game).

Gameplay: 6 – Good,
wacky fun. The mini-games are as varied as they are often strange. More
importantly, they make good use of the Kinects abilities, providing for
some active fun starring you in your living room. Good times.

Story: N/A

Content:
6 – Some mild potty-humor and some cartoon violence might make it not
quite appropriate for really young kids (who probably couldn’t do the
activities any way), but for anyone who enjoys slightly off-the wall
humor, this game is genuinely funny and fun.

Final Score: 5 –
I’ve always enjoyed the Rabbid games, even if they’re quality dipped
slightly after the first few. On the Kinect they’ve found new life along
with some new ways to do wacky things. Alive and Kicking is
great game to have around for parties or just to play with the family,
and during the Christmas season when many people have a little more
family time, it’s definitely a must-have.