Blast ’em Bunnies isn’t your typical console experience. It feels more like the best kind of mobile game combined with a classic arcade shooter, brought over to the big boys leagues with extra content. It’s the perfect antidote between bouts of The Division or Halo.
You play as a happy, sleeping bunny minding his own business until a range of different, angry and weapon wielding bunnies decide to get in on your turf. Using various weapons, the simple aim is to shoot down the advancing horde before they hit you too many times, taking your home with them. It’s Point Blank meets cute cartoon characters who will do anything to take you down.
At first I found things a little slow. The early waves will feel a little overwhelming, the bunnies not taking pity on your weak weapons and poor timing. Once you hit a groove and realise you need to shoot the coins that are left behind by defeated foes, you’ll eventually last a little longer, long enough to get to grips with the controls.
Once you unlock and purchase a few upgrades and some better weapons, the action picks up big time. You’ll survive a greater number of waves with your homing attacks and bombs, gather more coins and dear God did I unlock so many achievements within the first ten minutes! I don’t think my Xbox has ever made that many unlock chimes in such small amount of time. I feel sorry for it really, like the little dude inside the camera that Twoflower owned, maddeningly trying to paint all the photos as quickly as possible. The little dude inside my Xbox barely kept up as the achievements unlocked one after the other.
The enemy types are rather varied though based on typical tropes, heavy hitters, ninjas and the like. There’s some nice little twists to the formula though, like the flying bunnies which pestered me constantly . The further along you go the more frantic the action gets, to the point where I would die surrounded by a throng of enemies no matter how strong my own attack might be.
You’ll also bare witness to throat slitting killers you must stop in order to save fellow bunnies and diggers who strategically move closer and closer to you. Yes, I did say throat slitting, this isn’t a kid friendly experience despite the colourful pageantry. That might get a little confusing during the purchase process and to be fair that’s the only violent aspect I found. Shooting vegetables and the like at bunnies doesn’t really sound violent, there’s no gushing of blood or dark ‘Doom’ like head explosions and rock anthems.
So perhaps some mixed messaging there, but I’m not about to hold it against developers Nnooo, since it’s clearly designed with tongue firmly in cheek. This is a fun twitch shooter, it’s not to be taken seriously at all and that’s part of its charm. The other part? The fact that it’s so easy to pick up. Yes there’s a few tutorials, but for the most part all you need to worry about is point and shoot, easy enough.
It’s also a very short experience, though again that’s not a bad thing. Blast ’em Bunnies is a very affordable game and the comparison to a mobile experience isn’t far off. There are a number of add-ons not unlike a mobile game like Pac-Man 256, add in-game funds to unlock weapon upgrades faster or purchase character skins or level designs. Neither are required to enjoy the game in any way, and that’s the way add-ons should be. There should never be content that buffers or gives you an advantage over another player (I’m looking at you, Halo 5).
If there’s one thing I’m a little iffy on in Blast ’em Bunnies, it’s the sound. The music and sound effects hark back to those classic arcade games, but after a little while they get really grating on the senses. It’s a minor quibble, really, considering you probably won’t be playing it for hours on end. It’s not really designed with that in mind, and that’s a compliment.
Blast ’em Bunnies is a different kind of console experience that takes elements from mobile, arcade and home console genres. It’s an arcade shooter at its core, that ‘one more game’ experience where you just want to beat your high score and move up that leader board. It might get a little lost in the crowded console scene and it’s a little short, but for a measly few dollars you can’t go wrong with some enjoyable and sweet old school action.
You can purchase Blast ’em Bunnies now on Xbox Live and PSN as well as PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Go check it out and let us know what you think.