Ubisoft’s efforts to turn their little rabbit-like creations, the Rabbids, into a household name haven’t really gone to plan. A number of disappointing games have followed on from their debut a number of years ago as a Rayman spin-off, and we are still waiting for a good Rabbids game to surface from the multi-national outfit. The source material is good, the Rabbids are cute and crazy, and when they are shoved in front of kid’s faces, the little people seem to approve – and they are definitely this title’s target audience.
Rabbids Invasion: The Interactive TV Show aims to do pretty much what it says on the tin: get the audience involved in a TV Show, using the Kinect (or PS Camera) to get you into the action. From the off you should know that Rabbids is more “Game Show” than “Video Game” in the traditional sense, as there is very little actual control of onscreen characters.
Players have the option of visiting any one of five themed locations, each of which has up to four episodes to get involved in. The story in each of the episodes basically boils down to the Rabbids winding someone up, winding eachother up, or trying to achieve a menial task, like getting up some stairs. The episodes all look fantastic; being pre-rendered helps in that regard a lot. When an on-the-fly-rendered Rabbid appears on screen for one of the infrequent minigames, the difference in visual quality is quite jarring.
Jumping into your first episode, you are shown how to get on with the first (and most prominent) task in Rabbids, that being a game of “be first to spot the thing we tell you to spot”. This is achieved by showing the camera the palm of your hand. I sucked at this game – every time I was told to look out for something, my opponent saw it before me, no matter what I did. Rabbids on Xbox One supports up to 4 simultaneous players; I tested it with two, and the player recognition was nearly flawless, with the only real restrictions coming down to the size of the room we were playing in. How this works on other systems I can’t be sure, but it works great on Xbox One.
The Rabbids Invasion episodes are broken up by minigame sections that task the player with performing a certain action or movement. For example, in one minigame, we had to stand side-on to the Kinect, waving one leg around like we were powering a scooter in order to charge an on-screen dynamo to power some light bulbs. Another saw us waving our hands around like crazy people trying to colour in a picture that had appeared on screen. The minigames, are, by and large, pretty forgettable, but they are at least largely competitive. I can just imagine the chaos that would ensue should 4 hyper 9 or 10-year-olds get in front of one of Rabbids Invasion’s more demanding minigames.
In terms of content on offer, there are a healthy number of interactive episodes included (20 in total), with more planned to be released on Xbox Live in the future. As I have said already, the variety isn’t great, but for the intended target audience, who dare I say probably aren’t old enough to read this review, that shouldn’t be a problem. Screaming at the TV, running on the spot, pulling poses and waving body parts around – this turned into a bit of a workout for me. When an episode has been finished, you can go back to it and jump in at the part you found most enjoyable, which is a nice touch – this allows for kids to take on the minigames they have had most fun with, rather than replaying entire episodes over and over.
Apart from the interactive episodes, there is a “selfies” menu that allows you to take pictures as the Rabbids run around your living room. Many an Xbox One hard drive will soon be filled with pictures of kids and Rabbids, I feel. The menus flow reasonably well, although it isn’t obvious where you need to go to take on the next challenge, so I do worry for how the younger gamer will get on navigating around. The menus and episodes are backed up by a suitably silly soundtrack, with enough fart and burp noises to make Ren and Stimpy blush.
Rabbids Invasion: The Interactive TV Show may not be the great Rabbids game Ubisoft needs to get the little balls of mayhem into the hearts and minds of the general population, but it is a decent enough effort, and one that I can see being thoroughly enjoyed by its target audience, and, perhaps, a few mince pie-fuelled parents this Christmas time. The lack of minigame variety brings the score down a few notches, along with some confusing menus and lack of tutorials. The kids won’t care about any of that stuff, though.
Wacky, silly fun
Looks good most of the time
Kids will love it
Lack of minigame variety
Doesn't look good all the time
Menus are a bit iffy