Indie Game Review #4: Bunny Must Die

I’m plugging my controller in for this one. Bunny Must Die is a retro platformer with an anime style and a difficulty level set to ‘classicly hard’. I remember reading an article about this before it came out. It proclaimed the return to platforming glory, a new golden age of platforming games, heralded by a crop of excruciatingly difficult games (a few of which I’ll cover in my Steam games list), and also featuring one over the top anime platformer. Here we go.

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It appears that this game has been re-released, having first appeared back in 2006. The interface would have felt right at home back in the Playstation era, and the cartoony graphics and late-90s graphics add to the retro aesthetic. The plot itself is goofy drivel. It’s playful, and more than a bit nonsensical. It doesn’t really affect the gameplay.

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The game itself starts out in a bit of a confusing way. You can’t walk to the right, only the left. At first I thought my controller configuration was off, but it’s actually part of the gameplay and quickly remedied. It reminds me a bit of “DLC Quest’ (which I loved and is #12 on my indie game review list.) The controls can feel a bit stiff at first, but fans of 16-bit era metroid games will settle into them quickly and find them reminiscent of days long past.

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The gameplay itself actually shakes out to be a mixture of Castlevania and Metroid (a true Metroidvania game.) You collect power ups via capsules ala Metroid, and the weapon sets and aesthetic is purely Castlevania with an anime twist.

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There’s also a bit of ‘Prince of Persia’ at play. Very early on you’re given a ‘time stop’ power, which is essential to your survival. There are save spots sprinkled throughout the levels, which is good, though a bit too sparingly for modern tastes. You’ll need ever save spot you can find. There’s quite a bit of platforming at play, and the enemies soon begin to crowd your screen with bullets.

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Much like the seminal ‘Symphony of the Night’, you’ll find a boss fight rather quickly… and you’ll probably get your ass handed to you. This is a game that wants you to grind a little, find those power ups, level up those stats, and step correctly when you fight a boss. This is the prototypical ‘Metroidvania’ experience. Much like in Symphony, with a little bit of timing and planning you can easily defeat the first boss straight out of the gate. You just have to think about strategy.

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Beating that first boss nets you your first pair of dash boots (oh Metroid, I’m gonna have to play you again soon). The game progresses quickly from there. A classical mix of exploration, destruction, and power-up hunting ensues.

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If you’re looking for a good Metroidvania experience, and you don’t want to shell out the additional 3$ for ‘Rogue Legacy’ (or have played through it too many times), ‘Bunny Must Die’ is a great way to spend a weekend. It’s perhaps not deep enough for its 10$ price tag, but it often pops up in sales and in bundles (The Indie Back to School bundle had it last). If you can pick it up for a 5$, I’d say do it. For 10$ your money is better spent elsewhere (perhaps on an actual Metroid or Castlevania game.) I’d give this game a solid B, 85%. Its irreverent humor and classic gameplay style kept me smiling throughout, and the visual style is fun and lighthearted. Support your local indie devs!

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