Bunny Breeder

Bunny Breeder

What we liked:

+ Cute animations
+ Simple gameplay

What we didn't like:

- Lacks satisfying hook
- Spare sound
- The cow is a pretty ineffectual meat shield

Rating
6.5
DEVELOPER: Aiship Two   |   PUBLISHER: Airship Two   |   RELEASE: 07/31/2009
This bunny isn’t interested in commitment.

Bunny Breeder makes to capitalize on the inherent cute potential of romping bunnies and their much lauded reproductive prowess. Simply, you want to score as many points as possible by sending bunnies down the rabbit hole. Don’t make the same mistake I did and send all onscreen bunnies down the hole at game start, looking all pleased with yourself. Bunnies must be mated to generate yet more bunnies, and should you run out of the fluffy resource it’s game over.

The controls are simple, you just have to touch and drag a path for onscreen critters, but you’re not really directing anything. More just generally pointing things in the right direction. You can draw a line from a bunny toward another, but not to the other bunny. This is a critical distinction, and I would argue that the inability to connect one bunny to another, or the bunny to the hole, makes this not a line drawing game but rather a direction suggestion game. In addition to directing bunnies down the hole, many will just wander in there of their own accord.

Mating a bunny once yields a white bunny worth one point, twice creates a silver bunny worth two points, and a match made with a silver bunny creates a gold bunny, worth three points and as fertile as a mule. The greatest points can be made by trading in the sterile gold bunnies and trying to preserve the lives of the bunnies that have not yet realized their maximum point potential. This gets tricky about the time the sly fox shows up at the fence line to observe your bunny breeding business.

The fox will observe the tasty bunny morsels, frightening nearby bunnies into scrambling for safety unless they have been otherwise directed by you. Word about the bunny buffet travels quickly, so as the round progresses the fox population increases and it becomes easier to just have enough bunnies in supply that you can sacrifice the less valuable ones to the foxes while cashing in the gold ones. Once a fox locks onto its prey, it’s pretty much a lost cause unless you manage to get the bunny down the hole, the cow is nearby or you can mate it with another bunny.

Yes, foxes seem to respect bunny privacy, and once bunnies engage in the nasty a little onscreen shrubbery pops up to indicate their protective barrier of bunny-making. While mating, bunnies are immune to fox attacks, as well as shortly afterward during which time the bunnies appear all aglow. Of course, glowing bunnies are not able to mate again until after the effect wears off, making this a prime time to send gold bunnies down the chute and get other bunnies in proximity for the next round.

In an interesting spin on the meat shield game element, you are armed with a cow. This cow can be directed around the pen to ward off foxes. The cow is a pretty fast mover, but it’s generally impractical to use it for blocking and without any real visceral deflection (why can’t my cow trample a fox from time to time?) I was just sending mine in circles.

The graphics are charming, and the bunny, fox and cow animations are really cute. Sound is incredibly simple, lacking a score of any kind and delivering little audio rewards for your actions. A beeping sound for bunnies doing the bunny, a chime for delivering one to the hole, a little sound that seems to indicate the arrival of a fox and a snapping sound for when a fox nabs a rabbit. A recent update for the game includes global leader boards, which is a great addition that may heighten the competitive appeal of the game. Although, I’m number one, which always makes me concerned that not many people are playing.

The strategy in Bunny Breeders lies in how many bunnies you risk keeping outside the safety of the rabbit hole, possibly losing them to the ever-increasing fox population, before cashing in on their points. Beyond that, the ineffectual cow barrier and vague direction of the bunnies leaves little to snare you. The game is unbearably cute, if spare, in its presentation but its simple gameplay doesn’t deliver a satisfying hook.

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