Crush Bunny is the kind of game that iPhone users need to get behind. While not revolutionary, the game manages to be fun, original and far from gimmicky.
My excitement about Crush Bunny rushed over me about half an hour into my experience. It was at this time that I realized that what I was playing was not a direct clone of anything I had played before, and nor was it like a well established genre but with a “twist”. The game is simply like itself, and while it does draw on several different kinds of games it manages to sit in a class of its own with respect to its gameplay.
Crush Bunny presents the player with a field of pacing bunnies which he/she is to protect from being crushed. Meteors of several varieties are the things doing the crushing, but fortunately the character has the ability to control where but not when the meteors fall. When there is literally no place to drop a meteor without crushing a bunny the player is left to use a combination of shelters, blockades and other items to either divert or shield the bunnies. These items are purchased with the money that accumulates relative to your success in the round, other purchaseable abilities include ponds that will slow the bunnies and little health packs to heal the wounded. Every so often an item will float by on balloons Animal Crossing style and if the balloons are popped by the player’s finger the item either triggers a special shield or a minigame. For instance, dropping a bazooka initiates a small game in which one shoots down meteors as they fall. One’s progress is measured by how secure the bunnies feel, and this depends on how many of their comrades have been squished, frozen or irradiated. As the bunnies remain happy, they emit little orbs of light which fill a meter. Once this meter is filled, the round is over.
The thing that makes Crush Bunny work for me is how well it plays once the rounds speed up. Gameplay is complex enough to keep me interested, and simple enough to not crush my mind during the intense moments. Occasionally, a bunny or two must die, but I never feel that I have lost too much control. That is, with the exception of one part of the game.
Only one portion of Crush Bunny infuriates me, and that is the Disco ball balloon item minigame. Once you drop the disco ball from the balloons a sort of music game starts up. Or at least, tht is what one would expect from a disco ball. What actually happens is that the player must tap one or two of four on-screen buttons that light up at intervals in a very dull fashion. While this is going on, there are countless lights flashing on the screen that have no apparent purpose or logic. By tapping the correct buttons the player destroys falling meteors, except for any meteor that was set to fall before the minigame initiates. Because the game does not get rid of the meteor that was due to fall before you began the disco, once the minigame finishes you may have a meteor on your hands with one second till it drops. So despite the fact that I finished the minigame perfectly, five of my bunnies needlessly died because I could not cope with the meteor in time. Fortunately the game remembers to kill your meteor in the queu during the bazooka minigame.
My only other issue with the game is that there is no iTunes support and even the double-click home trick does not work. This is usually a minor issue, but it should be a standard at this point. Crush Bunny really needs some sort of music or podcast in the background, I usually require an auditory companion to any game that ends up putting the player in a zen-like status. Add to that the fact that I detest the in-game music and would much rather listen to my own and you have a recipe for frustration.
Complaints aside, I am really enjoying my time with Crush Bunny. The game works well in small or extended play sessions (which would be even better with my own audio) and even features an xbox-live esque system with facebook integration called Agon. I spoke about a similar system in my review of Sentinel 2. The problem with having so many of these networks is that they cannot apply to all games. This is in no way the fault of developers, as Apple needs to get on making a system compatible with all iPhone games. Nevertheless, Agon works well and its inclusion is appreciated.
Crush Bunny uses the strengths of the iPhone well and is an experience that is just plain fun. I implore you to purchase the game, and it can be obtained on the App store for only 99 cents. Really? Yes.
I love the look of the interface, and the entire game has this diorama-esque cartoony look that makes it a joy to watch.
I don’t like the music at all. There was nothing particularly heinous about the game’s little jingles, but I just found them grating after playing for some time. While I understand that my opinion on music as a person who enjoys obscure european metal and classical music is certainly far from all-encompassing, I think that some people will share in my discomfort with the game’s soundtrack. The double-home trick did work once for me, but mostly it just boots me to the app selection screen.
The game controls well, there is nothing particularly outstanding about the control scheme.
Crush Bunny features high-score based gameplay, and for those invested in the system it works quite well. The challenge escalates noticeably as one progresses, and there are three difficulty settings to compete across. Crush Bunny also lets you get achievements while offline, and they are easily obtained. More importantly, I have fun playing this game and the fun has yet to run out which is a fair bit more than I can say for many games after even five minutes with them.
Did I mention this game is hilarious?