The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
The name “Rabbids” in a game’s title can be seen as either an enticement or a warning, depending on your tastes and endurance. Since the series debuted in 2006, Ubisoft has released a sequel in an annual cycle that’s as reliably timed as flu season. Raving Rabbids: Alive & Kicking delivers the same gross-out minigames and no-nonsense stupidity that the franchise is known for, with a twist: This one uses Kinect.
The premise this time around is that the Rabbids are trying to reproduce or something and then a cow goes into a hot tub and the Rabbids multiply and suddenly you have to play a bunch of minigames. Fair enough. Up to four players can simultaneously revel in the aftermath, making it one of the more ambitious Kinect games out there. So far, so good.
Unfortunately, Kinect has to go and be all Kinecty, which ruins much of the fun. Games that require simple movement, such as wildly banging your head to create a lump onto a Rabbid’s skull or simply flailing around as much as possible, work as well as you might imagine. When you’re required to do more precision-oriented tasks, things fall apart. The augmented reality portions look pretty cool, but the game doesn’t do a reliable job of following your relative position in the room. It’s frustrating to get penalized for not dodging missiles or running into obstacles when the image on your screen shows you doing exactly that. I even lost points for apparently not lying down flat enough on the floor; that’s either a passive-aggressive hint that I need to lose weight or, more likely, an issue with Kinect’s lackadaisical tracking.
The Rabbids games have always been about silly, disposable fun, and Alive & Kicking at least delivers on two of those fronts. This installment includes the additional challenges of long load times, poor controls, and a palpable sense of déjà vu. These might not be deal-breakers for everyone, but at this point I’m ready to let the Rabbids rage by themselves.
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