Bunny Dodge Review—Hopping onto the PSP

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At first, Bunny Dodge looks like a poor imitation of Futurlab’s Coconut Dodge.  Even the name feels as though it lacks originality. So what does Skylon Games’ latest offering bring to the table that Coconut Dodge didn’t?

Firstly, unlike in Coconut Dodge, Skylon Games have included a little plot for us (as if dodging blocks weren’t reason enough for us to play), and it goes a little like this. For centuries, an alien species known as the Xirons have been peacefully experimenting with time and space on our Earth, until one day, a clumsy space cadet let loose a space-time torpedo. Now time and space are falling apart, and the Xirons have entrusted Smokie the Bunny with the job of helping save the Earth. To do this, Smokie has to collect all the local traits from each area he visits to help restore the space-time continuum. The story is played out panel by panel much like a comic book, and straight from the get-go, you can tell that Bunny Dodge doesn’t take itself too seriously, or seriously at all, for that matter.

While trying to save the world, you will venture across different areas, such as Paris, the North Pole, Hawaii and even Las Vegas. Each of these areas poses different mazes of falling blocks for you to navigate through. Each maze has a theme that associates with the level; e.g., in Paris, you will have to manoeuvre through a maze of blocks in the shape of baguettes, and in Hawaii, a maze of volcanoes. There were some mazes that did seem to be blatant rip-offs from Coconut Dodge, which was a little disappointing and a little half-arsed. I did feel it was nice to have a variation in settings, as opposed to just a typical beach background like in Coconut Dodge. While avoiding falling blocks and saving the universe, you will also want to rack up a nice score. Unlike in Coconut Dodge, your score doesn’t constantly increase as you avoid the falling blocks; instead, you only gain points by collecting silver coins and gems. Silver coins give you 100 points, purple gems 400 points and gold gems 800 points. There are around 12 stages for each area. At the end of each stage, you have the opportunity to collect one of the traits from that specific area. You also have the chance to improve your score by collecting more coins and gems; to do this, you need to bounce falling objects in the direction of the coins to collect them. The objects vary from area to area. For instance, in Paris, you bounce a chef, and in Hawaii, you bounce a beach babe, although she looks more like Dora the Explorer than a beach babe. If that isn’t enough, you also have the chance to collect bonus gold coins (that can be spent on items which I’ll mention a little later) by collecting letters to spell out words in certain mazes. However, I was surprised that there was no scoreboard. Maybe it was overlooked, or perhaps Skylon Games felt it to be unnecessary.

What normally makes or breaks a game like this is the controls, and fortunately Skylon have gotten it right straight away. You can use either the analog stick or the shoulder buttons to move Smokie left or right. You are also able to speed him up or slow him down by pushing Square or Circle, although there is no turbo button like in Coconut Dodge. I honestly didn’t feel there was a need for it. There was, however, one big problem, and that was with the continuous fidgeting of Smokie. It does sound a little silly, I’ll admit, but after hours of misjudging my timing because Smokie was so busy hopping from one foot to the other while swaying his head from left to right, I was starting to get the impression that maybe Smokie wasn’t just a name but rather a nickname he earned from smoking enough pot to make him uncomfortable and fidgety.

What was interesting was the inclusion of the garden, where you grow fruits and vegetables to help protect you throughout your quest. You are able to grow up to six plants in your garden at a time, which can be used within the game as power-ups. Each type of plant needs to be watered, and they produce crops at different times, some faster than others. To get the plants, you need to purchase them with the gold coins you collect throughout the game. Some of these power-ups work continuously throughout each area until you die, while others need to be activated through pressing the D-pad. You are only able to carry up to four power-ups, which means you really have to think about which ones you want to bring to help you through the area. The addition of power-ups certainly makes the game a little easier, especially if you use the blueberries, which let you continue from where you died.

Graphically, Bunny Dodge is okay, but again, the whole look of the game seems very similar to Coconut Dodge. Also, the blocks look the same throughout each area; if, say, the blocks were supposed to be parts of falling buildings, it would have been nice to have had them be different colours. If you get bored of how Smokie himself looks, you are able to buy him different outfits and dress him up. This can be momentarily amusing, but none of the outfits have any effects while playing the game, which just feels like an opportunity lost. Still, I did like giving Smokie a gun and hockey mask.

The BGM isn’t bad per se, but I do feel that the music could have varied across the levels. For instance, in the North Pole, the music could have been Christmassy, or in North Dakota, a more country style to the music. I felt the music was a bit generic, along with the sounds from collecting coins and gems.

In general, I was pretty impressed, as Skylon Games seem to have done their research on what works and doesn’t work for games like this, with the inclusion of things like starting each area with three lives and adding a variety of levels with different backdrops. Bunny Dodge does take a lot of good aspects from Coconut Dodge, but rather than just completely copying the game, Skylon added to it. The game is fun, although a little frustrating at times, and if you want a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, or if you found Coconut Dodge a little too hard, this is certainly a title worth checking out.

7/10

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Comments

3 Responses to “Bunny Dodge Review—Hopping onto the PSP”
  1. onmode-ky says:

    Well, at least it isn’t a straight copy, but. . . .

    “peacefully experimenting with time and space on our Earth”

    Yeah, go to an alien planet with billions of inhabitants to do your experimentation, real peaceful of you. It seriously doesn’t sound like a lot of thought went into this backstory.

    “I was starting to get the impression that maybe Smokie wasn’t just a name but rather a nickname he earned from smoking enough pot to make him uncomfortable and fidgety.”

    I seem to recall earlier promo imagery from the game showing the character with a cigar in his mouth, which explained the “Smokie” name. I suppose it could also have been pot. Assuming I didn’t imagine that, then I think it was changed for the ratings agencies.

    Can anyone read what looks to me like upside-down Greek in the contract the rabbit is holding in the image?

  2. volcane says:

    Skylon Games have put in more customisation than I had anticipated they would.

    It’s good to see there is some variety, both in terms of the levels and the power-ups, as I’m sure this adds a lot to the gameplay.

    I’m sure this game will appeal to those who enjoyed Coconut Dodge and would now like something (very slightly) different.

  3. Solo the Hutt says:

    i like rabbits.

    @1.06 … is that a champagne bottle??
    so , this rabbit smokes pot and drinks liquor? LOL!!
    nice.

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