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Friday, October 4, 2013

Preview: Blast 'Em Bunnies (PlayStation 4)

Preview by Matt S. 

Three months ago, if you had have told me that my most anticipated PlayStation 4 game would be a indie title from a tiny Australian development team, I would have laughed at you.

And yet, in the absence of a concrete announcement that Kadokawa Games' Natural Doctrine would be localised, and the lack of information regarding Sony's E3 darling (as far as I'm concerned), The Order 1886, I found myself drawn like a moth to a really bright friggin' light when I saw Nnooo's Blast 'Em Bunnies on show at the Sony EB Games Expo 2013 booth.

The game was irresistible. As a spectator I was immediately drawn to the incredibly bright and colourful aesthetics. The bunnies were somehow meant to be evil, but they were, in practice, adorably cute. Even when they were holding a baby bunny by the ears (as a rabbit owner, this is usually a sight of true horror, I can promise you) and wielding a knife to slit its throat... it was still somehow cute. The game might not have looked like it was pushing the PlayStation 4 hardware, but the rendering was spectacular, with clean lines and a rich colour palette combining with elegant animation to provide an experience that looked very much like the finest of weekend cartoons.

As a player I found the whole game a rhythmical, hypnotic experience. Enemies come at you in waves, and you need to shoot them down, while also somehow finding the time to pick up item boxes and coins to unlock better weapons. Needless to say, it gets hectic. There are multiple enemy bunny types, from the slow fatsos to the nimble ninjas, the grenade-lobbing snipers and the aerial lop-ear bunnies (think Dumbo on a murder spree for those). These enemies come at players at a full 360 degrees, and as the waves become more difficult, it takes true twitch skills to keep up with the action.

Somewhat disappointing to me was the fact that the game in its current state mandates gyro controls. The first time I played the game I messed up badly and in fact died before the demo ran out, despite having the best weapons unlocked for the purposes of the demo. But it seemed to just require a little practice for the second time around I was mowing the enemy bunnies down like a pro. On top of that, the team at Nnooo promised me that there was stick controls that would be implemented into the final game, rendering my complaints about gyro controls moot.

Now, at this point I'm sure you're thinking "well, it's just a shooting gallery, right? How much longevity can it possibly offer?" And this much is true. It was a concern of mine as well. However, from a chat with the developers, there's a couple of things I'd like to point out here:

1) It's likely this game will be sold at a very cheap price

2) There are many more types of bunnies and weapons that I didn't experience in the demo, promising plenty more challenge indeed. There's even going to be boss battles, which the showroom demo didn't show.

3) There's going to be DLC to enhance the experience further.

See, what Nnooo has on its hands here is precisely why I'm so keen on the PlayStation 4 in the first place. In their own words, this will be the game that you use to break up sessions between your hardcore AAA-games. It's family friendly, charming, and essentially endless. Coming off the back of both escapeVektor and Spirit Hunters, I just know Nnooo (like that pun? I did!) is going to nail this one.

- Matt S
Editor-in-Chief
Find me on Twitter: @DigitallyDownld
Preview: Blast 'Em Bunnies (PlayStation 4)
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