Cast your mind back to the ‘90s and try to remember something known as Rush Hour. No, not the hit film starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, I’m on about the sliding block style puzzle that involved manoeuvring cars within a grid. Well, the developers over at Dillyframe Games have decided to make a game centred on this puzzle type, titled Bunny Parking, and now it’s arrived on Xbox One. Has Bunny Parking managed to rejuvenate a long-forgotten gem of an idea, or would getting stuck in a traffic jam actually be more fun?
Let’s first understand the concept of Bunny Parking, which, to anyone unfamiliar with the game, will be the initial task. It just throws you into an area and expects you to know what’s going on. The idea is to take control of a goofy looking bunny in order to direct a car from the entrance of a car park to the exit. It turns out that a kick to the rear end or front portion of a vehicle will move it forwards and backwards, respectively. Other cars will be situated along your route and so you’ll have to give these a good kicking too if you’re to achieve the ultimate goal. Assuming you’ve worked out that to instigate the start of the puzzle, you need to first whack the car park barrier.
That’s essentially the blueprint for every puzzle, of which there are over 300 split across Easy, Normal and Hard difficulty levels. Depending how quickly you solve a problem, it’ll award up to three stars upon completion. For the Easy ones, there may just be a handful of cars needing to be shoved out of the way, whilst Hard puzzles have a jam packed car park with people having dumped their vehicles bumper to bumper and even sideways – it’s like when there’s a massive sale on at a NEXT store. To make things even trickier, there are vehicles with no tires that cannot be moved at all.
Granted, the core puzzling is a real brainteaser as you’re shifting cars in multiple directions to create a straight path to victory. What makes it tougher is that the predicament often appears to be far more overwhelming than it actually is. With cars being nose to nose, you ponder how on earth you’re going to give it a kick… before realising it’s possible to jump on the car boot or bonnet and swing at its windows instead. It would’ve been good to have this explained somehow. Nevertheless, all fears soon fade and solutions are straightforward for the most part, which is one of the reasons why Bunny Parking becomes a bit too repetitive. Another reason is every layout is rather similar in truth; there’s only so much mileage to be had in this kind of puzzle.
Now unfortunately, a bout of monotony is not the worst of it. The mechanics in Bunny Parking are hit and miss, with kicks often failing to register and even when they do, the accuracy comes into question. In tight spaces, you could end up kicking any of the surrounding cars and that’s where most of the frustration arises. The most important tool in your arsenal is to kick, so when that’s not up to scratch, there’s a real problem.
But wait, because there’s something else that needs to be discussed and it involves bunny cults, chickens and angry gardeners. Confused? Yes, me too. In a bizarre twist, this car park is inside a 3D city that can be traversed whenever you see fit to do so. You can mess up a carrot garden, make offerings to members of what appears to be a bunny cult, kick roaming chickens and even bounce on trampolines. At best, you’ll think it’s quirky and weird; at worst, it’s utterly pointless and, personally, I wish the developers had spent more time on the main puzzling element instead. It’s also sad to see cars driving around this little city, randomly glitching all over the place for no apparent reason.
For those hoping to share this odd experience with their friends, the puzzles can be solved via online co-op. And whilst there’s nothing wrong with the process of connecting to your buddies, I can’t fathom why you’d want to burden anyone else with playing it. But hey, that’s your decision to make and that’s on your conscience.
One aspect that can be praised for sure is the vibrant nature of the world, with vehicles not only painted in various colours but coming in a few different shapes too – limos, trucks and more are all present. Kids will love the colourful presentation and it certainly helps to bring the place to life. As for the audio, it’s probably best you turn off the sound at the soonest opportunity as it will irritate the heck out of you in no time thanks to the car horns and the background music.
Bunny Parking takes a classic puzzle from yesteryear and tries to make what is essentially a one-trick pony enjoyable across a whopping amount of levels. Sadly it fails due to a combination of a lack of guidance, repetition, annoying sounds and a real absence of quality in terms of game mechanics. Sure, the actual puzzles are fine in the sense that they will test your problem solving skills and there are some easy achievements to unlock, but everything else surrounding it is a letdown.
On the whole, not even the low price of £4.99 can make Bunny Parking on Xbox One appeal to anyone other than GamerScore addicts. Just give it a miss.