- Format: PC
- Unleashed: Out Now
- Publisher: On The Level Game Studios
- Developer: On The Level Game Studios
- Players: 1
- Site: www.onthelevelgames.com/games/boo-bunny-plague/
Boo Bunny Plague is a weird game. It takes the toilet humour and musical numbers of South Park, a setting somewhere between Toy Story and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, hack and slash gameplay, and shakes them around in a cocktail mixer laced with vodka. A lot of vodka. There’s definitely an audience for such a wacky and volatile mix, but they likely won’t be satiated unless On The Level Game Studios pulls it off extremely well.
The titular hero, Bunny, is a toy that gains sentience upon infection of a virus at the hands of a man who he refers to as “Mummy” before beating the snot out of him. He deserved it, though; he interrupted Bunny’s song! Gunny – a yellow robot with a giant grin – rescues him from the toy factory, and the pair have many adventures together. The particular adventure that this game encompasses features retired Norse gods, an apathetic Arabic Transformers knock-off, and a God who totally isn’t a Morgan Freeman stand-in. Just kidding, of course he is.
It’s a simple story that relies on the writing of its characters, which is fortunately pretty good for the most part. Bunny is clearly a maniacal psychopath and a real wild-card, something that’s always fun. He can also be somewhat of a jerk in a very amusing way; fans of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia will appreciate him a lot. Gunny’s also given the endearing and humorous affectation of finishing every sentence with “yes.” They’re all incredibly one-dimensional characters, but that’s a strength in this game’s case.
Boo Bunny Plague has an incredibly crass sense of humour, though it’s amusing again in the face of modern sensibilities. The best example of this is a fart that comes from a public toilet you can walk past, something that’s funny solely because it looks at our expectations and urinates all over them. Perhaps it’s aiming for the same “so bad it’s good” vibe that movies like In The Woods do so well.
If so, it’s an objective that is ultimately met with failure. Speaking of farts, a particularly heinous guff is actually a startlingly apt comparison: A trumpeting toot is funny on a very base and juvenile level at first, and the accompanying smell is met with laughter born from an awkward and ridiculing disgust. The problem comes when it lingers, becomes ever more unbearable as it percolates and pounds away at your nostrils.
That’s exactly Boo Bunny Plague’s problem: It seems like one big joke that lost its humour three hours ago, yet insists on sticking around. One issue is pacing, since there’s nothing between the jokes, and no real build to any of them.
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Boo Bunny Plague features a slew of musical numbers. They’re somewhat similar to South Park in that they’re well written and absurd, but given a healthy dose of Bunny’s psychopathic carelessness. They usually just play out as cutscenes, but they’ll also provide a backing track for things like boss battles or the slaughter of Vikings. They range from whimsical to outright metal, depending on the context. There’s even a rap battle with Hel, goddess of the Underworld.
Dumb humour is a wonderful thing that we can all appreciate at times, but it’s best done in service to something else such as gameplay. Unfortunately, Boo Bunny Plague gets this the wrong way round.
Mechanically, the game is incredibly simple. It’s an action-adventure game, and Bunny’s only abilities are to run around, swing his guitar, and put up a giant yellow shield. The combat is incredibly awkward: Bunny swings his guitar entirely independently of the rest of his body, and a lack of animations make your attacks seem disconnected from their targets. Poor sound design is the polish on this turd, as the tinny scratches that accompany your attacks are woefully unsatisfying.
The whole thing is just poorly put together. Gunny also follows you around, ostensibly to shoot enemies when you hit him, though he just seems to do it at random in entirely wrong directions. There’s also a mini-boss that launches snowballs at Bunny for you to return with a swing of his guitar, but the hit-box is so big that you’re better off just smacking the air.
The bosses all feature a single gimmick that never changes or increases in difficulty. What’s worse, these gimmicks are all played-out staples without a single twist on the formula. An early one just stops every now and then to breathe fire at you, allowing you to dash to his side and smack him about. There’s another that you have to lure into charging into a wall, and one that is essentially Videogame 101: Don’t Stand In The Fire. There’s no second or final form, and they all have so much health that they drastically outlive their challenge.
Boo Bunny Plague falls into the trap of every game with mechanically mundane bosses: The final adversary hits what we like to call the BS button (which, we can assure you, is referred to as something else entirely more crude in private circles.) In BBP’s case, this triggers a bunch of arbitrary stuns that are entirely unavoidable. It’s not as egregious an offender as, say, Kingdom Hearts RE:Chain of Memories, but it still exists purely to artificially inflate the difficulty rather than the challenge.
Level design is similarly ill-advised, consisting of dull areas such as volcanic corridors, an intentionally vague metropolis filled with uniformly square buildings, and a round space station that simply throws waves of enemies at you between boss fights. There’s guitars to find in each of them, but there’s really no incentive or even opportunity to explore.
Had the game been built with a more mechanically competent backbone, perhaps doubling its length would have fixed the humour’s pacing issues. Even at three hours long, however, Boo Bunny Plague is a joke that just goes on far too long.