Tuesday 27 January 2015

Rabbids Invasion

Like some druggie down a dingy back alley, Ubisoft have been trying to push the Rabbids on us for quite some time now. These little critters first graced our screens back in 2006 in the Rayman spin-off, Rayman Raving Rabbids. But since 2006 the Rabbids have become their very own franchise, spawning a number of games, toys and, most recently, their own TV series. I really don't know how the franchise hasn't just ran out of steam by now, but I don't have kids and I haven't been, like, 4 in quite some time, so I guess I just don't fully understand it. But as if we wanted more from the franchise, the latest Rabbids game has just landed. However, though I haven't seen the TV series myself, fans of the show may feel like they're running over old ground here, as Rabbids Invasion doesn't just borrow ideas from the series, but rather entire episodes.

Developed by Ubisoft Barcelona and out now on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Playstation 4 comes Rabbids Invasion, the videogame equivalent to the kind of person who describes themselves as “random”. You know the type; annoying, loud hipsters who drink out of jam jars and consider a quick blast of Lynx a shower. Then again I may just be getting old and cranky, as Rabbids Invasion is aimed solely at young kids, not disgruntled gamers pushing 30 who remember the sound of dial-up. Anyway, there's no real plot here, but rather just a collection of episodes to play through in which the Rabbids act silly and do funny things. Essentially the game is broken up into two main parts- minimally interactive cut-scenes and slightly interactive gameplay. 

As you might expect, Rabbids Invasion makes use of the Xbox's Kinect and the Playstation's Camera. Without one of these you can't play the game, as all of the content Rabbids Invasion offers is purely based on these peripherals. There are 20 episodes to play through. This basically means that Ubisoft Barcelona took 20 episodes of the TV series, chopped them up and chucked them into the game as cut-scenes. I must say, these cut-scenes looks fantastic and are nicely rendered. From the huggable look of each Rabbid to their goofy expressions, these visuals look superb and will surely gain the attention of any young gamer in the room. Gameplay during these segments is incredibly linear, and purely focuses on you (through the magic of Kinect or the Playstation Camera) matching up your expression on screen with various Rabbids at certain times. From sticking your tongue out, looking like your trying to eat your own shoulder to grinning like a twonk, you'll look completely silly while playing this game.

However the real meat of the game comes into play during the many mini-games the cut-scenes break up. These activities make decent use of your consoles peripheral, and while they mainly focuses on you moving around on camera, some also incoporrates your voice at times. From moving your Rabbid back and forth in order to catch falling plates, doing pull ups, lauching Rabbids and controlling them in mid-air and even talking part in compeitive speed drawing, there are loads of mini-games to play around with here. Some work well, while other come across as pretty shoddy. The only major downside here is that as this gameplay isn't directly lifted off the TV series, the difference in graphics between the interactive cut-scenes and gameplay is shocking. One second your watching highly detailed Rabbids roll around your TV screen, the next you're watching a sub-par looking game.

Overall my 29 year old self won't play Rabbids Invasion ever again. However, all joking aside if you have kids who enjoy the TV series, here's a game they'll not only enjoy but it's also one that you can play with them. It's simple, easy and with the right gamers playing it, worth your time. Don't bother picking it up if you don't have kids though.

Rabbids Invasion is one for the family and gets a 3/5.


Denis Murphy

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