Some games replicate a hit like Angry Birds with perhaps some interesting twists on the premise, but far too much direct copying. Others, like Follow the Rabbit, are the result of figuring out what needs a hit has satisfied and building a better solution. A very large proportion of iOS users can appreciate an approachable, easily interruptible game playable in very short segments. In some objective ways and some matters of mere personal taste, Armor Games has surpassed the existing standard for such a game.
Follow the Rabbit offers five worlds (with a clear intention to add more) of 25 levels each. Levels consist entirely of square blocks to stand on, square enemies to avoid, one or two square doors through which a square rabbit escapes at the beginning, functionally square clouds and cannons, one or two square cats and three round (but effectively square) coins. It looks a bit inspired by bonsai kittens, but far less creepy. Indeed, it’s one of the most effective uses of a slightly goofy artistic style I’ve seen, with understated backgrounds adding to the visual pop of everything else. All of this is complemented by an adorable soundtrack reminiscent of the score to Benny & Joon (a reference which, sadly, most of you will probably only find informative if you check out the previews on iTunes or Amazon).
You move your cat by swiping from it in the direction you wish to move as far as you’d like to go, and may also jump straight up. Different worlds will offer different novel ways to interact with the world, but those are the basics. Coins function much like stars in Furmins, in that they unlock later levels, but you always know whether or not you’ve earned them before you depart the level and they’re more generously awarded, as in Inertia: Escape Velocity. As with those games, this left me feeling sufficiently motivated to three-star every level, but not pressured to do so; an excellent balance.
In each world, early levels are so simple as to be best regarded as simply basic tutorials for the later levels, which contain the real meat. Much of that meat is delicious, and no level jumped out at me as being worthless or better cut than included. The swiping mechanism was a tad difficult for me to control, so I usually moved in single-unit steps unless absolutely necessary. Similarly, in the fifth world, the gravity-shifting mechanic is very intuitive to control by tilting the device, but so imprecise that the almost game-breakingly good nature of the ability is reduced to something which keeps the puzzles interesting. While there are senses in which that’s unsatisfactory, it helps that the game obviously doesn’t take itself very seriously and the level of difficulty works out about right.
In sum, Follow the Rabbit is a solid lighthearted puzzler. I found it superior to Angry Birds in every way but one: there is no visceral thrill of destruction. It should appeal to the same folks who like the more famous game, which turns out to be almost everybody.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.