First Impressions: Raving Rabbids: Alive and Kicking
Posted by James Newton
Kinect's advanced innards should make augmented reality easy, but so far we've only seen the mediocre Fantastic Pets combine live video with computer graphics. Ubisoft's preparing itself to have a go now with Raving Rabbids: Alive and Kicking, a collection of minigames, microgames and sections probably best described as 'toys'.
The premise behind the game is that the ever-crazy Rabbids are invading the real world, and your living room as a result. This thread binds all the minigames together, however tenuously, with most games based on inflicting as much pain on the Rabbids as possible. In fact, the In Ze House mode lets you hurt the white critter as much as possible, kicking, slapping and punching him to oblivion. You can even set a camera timer with a simple gesture, sharing these photos — and any taken throughout the game — with your friends via Xbox Live and Facebook.
There were several games available to play, starting with the self-explanatory Whack-a-Rabbid mode, where the white monsters pop up from the floor and you must stomp them to score points, with bonuses for double-footed stomps, taking out two at a time and keeping a combo going. At first a test of spacial awareness, we encountered a few occasions where we stood on the right spot but the Rabbid survived our attempt, possibly because we didn't stomp with enough force, a likely explanation as we were actually stood on real sand as part of Ubi's "summer seaside" theme.
After that we went on to play Snot-a-pult, in which a Rabbid grabs hold of a long string of nostril fluid. The idea is to swing your head around in a circle to build speed, then leap to send the Rabbid flying as far as possible. On our first attempt the game failed to register our jump, but our second try was more successful, sending the Rabbid flying a respectable 100m or so.
One minigame we played did something we've not seen so far: use of 3D space to track sound. You must guide a Rabbid through a car wash, steering him towards as many tricks and traps as possible by stepping left to right and luring him toward you with a sound. It's definitely an interesting and new concept, though as with all the games in the package, leaderboards will be essential to keeping you coming back to beat your best results.
As well as 20 minigames, there are also some quicker microgames that call to mind Nintendo's WarioWare series, rendered in a simple 2D Flash style. One we played involved licking all the cake from an imaginary face, which of course proved no challenge for our ever-hungry writers.
Taken on their own, some of these minigames were interesting demonstrations of what Kinect can do and certainly enjoyable, but until we have our hands on the final product it's impossible to say if the package hangs together as a whole, and whether it'll be worth the price of admission.