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Boogie Bunnies

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Artech
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2; 2 (Online)
Genre: Puzzle/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Sugar, spice and everything nice...

Even a quick glance in the general direction of Boogie Bunnies is enough to give you cavities. The presentation is overly sweet with an incredibly colorful, joyful look. This isn't a bad thing, and considering the generally gloomy mood of most games, is actually pretty appealing. At the same time, the bright, cheery nature does get a bit overwhelming at times. Music is surprisingly low-key most of the time, but really kicks up when the bunnies start to dance around. Even then, music isn't too overwhelming and shows a good bit of variety. There's a quick disco-like beat, a bit of a Congo and even something that sounds a little like the Hamster Dance. Even when being blasted by exploding red bunnies, everyone is always upbeat and ready to dance.

Though the visual appeal is largely a matter of personal opinion, there are a few technical issues that pop up and make the experience a little more difficult. Bunnies are bunched together a little too closely, which makes it hard to tell them apart - especially when you're trying to judge where you're launching a bunny. This becomes even harder in later levels when bunnies begin to wear costumes, like big hats. There is enough of a difference between colors, though red and orange bunnies are a little too close in hue, so it isn't uncommon to launch a red into a group of oranges or vice versa.


The core gameplay behind Boogie Bunnies isn't much different from the other color matching puzzle games populating the Xbox Live Arcade. As lines of multi-colored bunnies dance their way down the screen like jubilant lemmings, you need to launch a colored bunny into a group of similar colored bunnies, clearing the group. Clearing out groups of bunnies adds points to a meter which you must fill in order to clear the level. Eliminating groups also builds up another meter that, when full, causes the bunnies to break out into a well-choreographed dance routine. If you can match groups during the routine, you'll earn bonus points on the meter. If the bunnies reach a pit at the bottom of the screen and fall off, the meter drains.

This gameplay structure carries across into three modes: Arcade, Classic and Endless, with minor changes to how long it takes for new rows to appear. Arcade and Endless each add a new row every couple of seconds, while Classic adds one every three launches. Though they use different timing methods, Arcade and Classic are both level based, while Endless just keeps going until your meter is depleted. The same structure is also used in multiplayer games, though instead of one person shooting bunnies there are two. Compared to the other modes, multiplayer isn't much fun and feels like it was tacked on just to meet some kind of multiplayer requirement. Unless the two players work well together, multiplayer can quickly become a nightmare since the two player bunnies can't pass each other and are limited by the other player's position on the screen.


Overall, Boogie Bunnies really isn't that hard, though a number of goofy technical issues make it harder than it probably should be. Unlike nearly every other puzzle game, you can't see what the next color bunny is, which limits the strategic thinking that goes with most puzzle games. Since you can't plan ahead, combo chains are hard to set up and typically happen by chance. The bunnies are also always moving, which makes it hard to judge which lane you're firing a bunny in. If you look close enough, you can see the front bunny in a particular row waving at you, though this motion is hard to see considering everything else that is happening on the screen, especially when bunnies are close to falling into the pit.

As expected, it takes longer to fill the meter than drain it. Losing one bunny takes off a large chunk while it takes a couple to refill it. Although having to refill the meter isn't fun, it adds to the game's tension. At the same time, when you start losing bunnies because of technical goofs, it feels cheap.

Game Mechanics:

One of the things that makes Boogie Bunnies different from other games (other than the dancing bunnies) is that you aren't limited to just matching bunnies from the bottom of the screen, but the sides as well. This opens up the underlying strategy just a bit and partially makes up for not knowing what color bunny is coming next.

Another addition are two "open lanes" that run alongside the main block of bunnies. This also allows you to launch bunnies up the side of the block as well as leave a bunny (or bunnies) in a spot and attempt to set up a crude combo. However, it is possible to misjudge your launch and clog up the lane, putting you at fate's mercy to clear it. One of the better uses for the open lane is to fill it with red bunnies, which explode when matched in groups. This can help clear out the sides and often seemed to help generate a few combo chains.

Compared to other color-matching puzzle games on XBLA, Boogie Bunnies doesn't stand out, though it isn't horrible either. For all of its problems, it is still oddly addictive and worth a look if you're in the market for another puzzle game.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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