Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking

Our copy of Ubisoft’s latest rabid animal outing was acquired dubiously. Not stolen, or downloaded, but priced up incorrectly – according to the price sticker the staff member who had put it out on the shelf had got it mixed up with 2006’s Rayman Raving Rabbids. When even game store staff get confused, this suggests to us that there have been perhaps a few too many Rabbids games over the years. This one shouldn’t have too much trouble standing out on the shelf at least – it’s for Kinect and thus comes in a bright purple box.

The Rabbids accidentally found a way to reproduce like, well, rabbits, and are now spilling out onto the streets of a nameless city. A lot of the mini-games involve repelling their assault – in one game you have to punch, kick and head-butt the projectiles thrown by a huge robotic Rabbid, while in another you play as a shopping mall guard and have to make a dash to the front door to lock it before the Rabbids takeover the mall.

A few mini-games have been inspired by classic retro games. There’s one that plays like Pong, only instead of a bat and ball there’s a fireman on a pole – who you control by bending your knees ups and down – and a flaming marshmallow to repel. Another plays a little bit like Lemmings – the idea is to make bridges and cover up manholes with your hands so that the Rabbids can reach their destination safely. There’s also a racing mini-game in which you’re asked to sit on the floor for and simply lean left and right as you make your way through out of a Rabbid’s digestive system.

Some mini-games have had more effort put into them than others. Guitar Zero doesn’t play too unlike how we’d imagine a Kinect version of Guitar Hero would play. It even contains licensed music and new tracks to unlock. Others use AR – watching Rabbids pop out of holes in your living room floor, ready to be stamped on, is quite a novelty for a while. You can also look after your own Rabbid who can be given new toys to play with. Well, he ends up eating most of them.

As well as mini-games there are a few micro-games which have cartoon-style presentation. These only last a few seconds each and entail the likes of licking food off a Rabbid’s face and catching a record as it flies through the air. They serve a purpose – there’s a quick fire party mode (for up to 16 players) that’s reminiscent of The Weakest Link, in the way that you can bank the money that you’ve won so far by shouting out loud. Quite how Ubisoft expects 16 people to get into somebody’s gaming room is a mystery.

The achievements are really nicely done, encouraging you to play slightly differently. Play the Lemmings-inspired game with your feet instead of your hands and you’ll get a Gamerscore boost. In another mini-game a confused Rabbid with a bucket on his head follows the direction of your voice. The aim is to lead him into dozens of traps, but if you manage to get him to safety without harm then another achievement unlocks.

If you’re going to aim for the achievement for getting the maximum of three stars in each mini-game then good luck – we struggled to get even one star in some games, suggesting that the scoring system is a little off-kilter.

Even so, as mini-game packages go this is one of the best one we’ve seen in quite some time. The Kinect controls work brilliantly, it’s lovingly presented and pleasingly daft. Teapot.