When it comes to puzzle games there are definitely a lot to choose from on Xbox Live Arcade, and more are always on the way. The latest one, Boogie Bunnies, will probably seem somewhat familiar to other puzzle games you may have played, as it carries resemblances to classics such as Hexic, Bejeweled, and Bust a Move. Like those games listed, Boogie Bunnies offers the old puzzle formula of matching three of the same objects to score points, as well as some survival elements from Tetris. While the game does possess a few minor departures they are unfortunately not enough to make things very refreshing, and the incredibly cutesy like presentation may be a little too sweet for some older gamers to swallow.
The way the game works is you have ten rows of bunnies that come in a variety of colors and basically look like pieces of candy rather than actual bunnies, perhaps making Gummie Bunnies a more suitable title. Depending on which mode you are playing in, the rows of bunnies intermittently take a step forward bringing in a new row. You must make sure to keep eliminating the bunnies by matching the same colored ones in groups of three by shooting a bunny of your own located at the bottom of the screen.
Unfotunately these bunnies can’t swim.
As you rack up points your meter will fill up, bringing you to the next level. But if you let them pile up the little critters will starting marching into an abyss, causing your meter to drain. Since there are no real columns it can be a bit tricky to get your aim right, so as you move you must keep an eye out for the bunny you are lined up with, which will yell out or flap its ears.
Three different modes of play are offered, including Classic, Arcade and Endless. Classic brings a new row of bunnies in after every three shots of your own bunny. In Arcade mode your meter slowly depletes and a new row of bunnies emerge every few seconds, forcing you to work faster. Finally Endless mode adds more rows of bunnies every few seconds like Arcade mode, but the rows start coming faster and faster as the player progresses.
One departure that Boogie Bunnies does make is your field of movement, while most puzzle games only allow you to maneuver at bottom of the screen; this game lets you attempt to score points from the sides as well. This strategy is really only useful if you know you can get some points, as any bunnies you toss that don’t match up will sit there while the ones in the main rows move forward, making it almost impossible to set up any combos. Certain colors of bunnies will have more functionality, such as when you match three red ones they will burst taking surrounding bunnies with them for more points. When you match three of the aqua colored ones then the game lives up to its namesake and all of the bunnies start to get their freak on for about ten seconds.
While the bunnies are busy dancing away any more matches you make will be worth double the points. If you aren’t distracted by the annoying music and jeers from the jiving animals, the swirling of so many colors may make it hard to concentrate, as the game does feature fairly bright colors especially on an HD set. Other than the colorful animations, Boogie Bunnies does little else graphically to impress, with basic models and backgrounds that seem uninspired and don’t have a whole lot going on. As for the sound there is only one audio track, which you will get tired of, but thankfully it can be turned off. The bunnies themselves sound about as sugar coated as they look, and can kind of get on your nerves as they never shut up when your bunny targets them.
Boogie Bunnies doesn’t really offer too much outside of the core puzzle solving mechanics that we have all seen many times over, and the fact that they occasionally dance just isn’t enough of a development for the genre. The game is also lacking in the multiplayer department, only sporting a cooperative mode than can bring some additional replay ability, but besides having another player chucking bunnies, not much changes. There really is no reason why a few basic adversarial modes could have been added. In the end Boogie Bunnies offers tired mechanics that may work, but just aren’t very original, and as said earlier the game does seem to be geared towards a younger audience. This is one better left in the hands of those who have a deeper appreciation for pink fluffy things, which is probably what the presentation and selling idea was founded on.