Beware: Boogie Bunnies, the new action/puzzle game from Sierra Online, is one of the most painfully adorable games of all time. This is the kind of game that is made to just melt your heart, the kind of game that will make your girlfriend "ooh" and "ahh" while you attempt to earn achievements. I say this at the beginning of the review because I know that there are plenty of gamers out there who would rather not touch anything that looks like it's for babies. Boogie Bunnies is so over-the-top cute that it could potentially turn you off of all games in the future, no matter what company makes them or what system they are on.
But if you're able to get past the excessive cuteness and the annoying bunny rabbits, then you will find that Boogie Bunnies isn't a half bad action game. This ten dollar Xbox Live Arcade game doesn't exactly cover any new ground, but it's enjoyable enough to keep casuals gamers busy until the next best thing comes out. While it's true that this game is littered with questionable design decisions, part of me feels like this game would have been a lot better served without the non-stop Teletubbies-style assault on my poor eyes.
In a lot of ways Boogie Bunnies feels like a variation on Taito's classic puzzler, Puzzle Bobble (also known as Bust-A-Move). Except in this game you aren't trying to match bubbles, instead in Boogie Bunnies you are in charge of tossing colored bunny rabbits towards a line of dancing boogie bunnies. The object of this game (like Puzzle Bobble and so many other puzzle games) is to match up three or more bunnies; once you've done that you will erase a group of bunnies and potentially create a chain reaction of matched bunnies.
At the beginning of each round there are several parallel lines of dancing bunnies. You are just one bunny looking at this line-up of colored bunnies, so it's up to you to line up your shot and match as many of the bunnies as possible. But you better be quick, because every few seconds the bunnies will get a little closer, until they get so close to the side that they start to fall in a small lake, big cavern or whatever else separates you from the line of dancing rabbits. Once the bunnies are starting to fall in you know you're in trouble, lose too many of these rabbits and it's game over for you.
This basic premise (throw a bunny, match a bunny, clear the board of bunnies) is repeated numerous times over the course of the game. You'll start in the forest, but eventually you'll work your way to beach, snowy mountains and city streets. But don't get too excited, the action doesn't actually change when you go from level to level.
The biggest problem with a game like this isn't that it's cute, that in a lot of ways is completely beside the point. My issue is that there's not much to the game, the basic gameplay is repeated level after level, which gets old quickly. The gameplay itself is as barebones as you get, the most you are capable of doing is moving around a small chunk of land and throwing yourself into the line of dancing bunny rabbits. This gameplay mechanic isn't exactly the most inspired thing you will ever see, and in a lot of ways you'll feel like you've seen everything there is to see only seconds after you turn on the game.
Oddly enough there are a few different ways to play the game, including an arcade mode, classic mode and an endless mode. The arcade and classic modes are practically identical, which makes me wonder why Artech Studios decided to split them up in the first place. On the other hand, the endless mode is cool ... if all you want to do is stay in one location throwing bunnies trying to earn a new score. Either way, these modes aren't very original and certainly won't change the way you look at the game. Unfortunately neither will the multiplayer modes, which we are better off not talking about.
The graphics and sound are perfectly acceptable, they are neither good nor bad, they simply exist as cute cartoon-like bunny rabbits doing ridiculous (and monotonous) dance routines for no reason at all. This is the kind of thing that will appeal to a younger gamer, even though the core gameplay will no doubt put them right to sleep. In other words, the graphics and sound are definitely not the problem with this shallow action game.
But despite my better judgment, there's just something I like about this game. Perhaps it's the fact that games are inherently entertaining, so no matter how disappointing something is, we still want to give it the benefit of the doubt and enjoy it. But part of me kept coming back wanting more, if only so that I could better my score and beat that annoying single-player campaign. There's nothing grand or deep about Boogie Bunnies, but if you're looking for a lighthearted action game starring a bunch of cute little bunnies, then you could do a whole lot worse than this game. This is worth a look, but beware that this is one of the cutest games currently available on the Xbox Live Arcade.
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