Boo Bunny Plague Hands-On Preview
Disclaimer: The version of Boo Bunny Plague played was a very early version – while the basic gameplay and setting appears to be established, there is still the possibility of many things changing before release.
On The Level Game Studios clearly don’t worry about having divisions between genres. Their first game, Curse of Nordic Cove, was a golf game that expanded into a first person shooter, driving game, and dungeon crawler. How do you follow that up? With a third person action grinder about a robot rabbit… which is also a musical.
Currently there is only one playable area – an expanded version of what is seen in the trailer (linked above). On a production line of killer robot rabbits – because why not? – one, the eponymous Bunny, gains artificial intelligence after being infected with a virus by an irate worker.
Our suddenly self-aware protagonist follows his creator through the factory where he was made, destroying any potential rivals for affection – and the automated turrets guarding them – with blows from a guitar…
Yes, the weapon loadout for the game is a selection of guitars, each having different effects which are likely to affect different enemies (the boss of the demo version proved tough with the default guitar, but lost health dramatically with another).
But when our ax-wielding Bunny actually reaches his creator, he instead breaks into a dubious song…
Music and comedy have a lot in common; both are extremely subjective and personal, and there is always the risk that an audience won’t enjoy the sounds or appreciate the humour. Mixing the two however is a whole new ballgame – the bunny may not have a perfect singing voice or even the perfect song, but the humour is there to emphasise that this is entirely the point.
Some of this humour is pretty upfront – a car in the background turning out to be a cardboard cut-out as it falls over, or the robot’s creator ‘Mommy’ not liking having a computer that still uses 5 1/4″ disks (which, as an older gamer, I have no issue with…), or even the basic “WTF?!” moment as the bunny starts singing. Plus, there is the rather darker humour in Bunny breaking his promise to never hurt ‘Mommy’ within seconds due to his song being interrupted…
There are also parodies in there to spot – two obvious examples in the demo were some Robocop-style prime directives (though the classified Directive 4 in the original was not “love the bunny”, for the record); and the game’s credits being run over a playable Mario-esque platform game, collecting coins and growing larger on grabbing a carrot.
The final game is due to have 10 songs, with styles ranging from rock to opera, as well as further tunes played during fights; without having seen these, my assumption is that they too will have the same serious “WTF?!” element to them. These are planned to come across the game’s seven levels, which will span “time, space and dimensions” and are promised to also be scattered with Easter eggs referencing movies, comics and other pop culture – although all of this is still under wraps before release.
Boo Bunny Plague is planned for release in Spring of 2014 for PC, Mac and Linux; it is also running a campaign to be Greenlit on Steam. A Wii U version is also in the pipeline.