If there’s one thing I have learned so far from playing the various works of DillyFrame Games, it’s that bunnies love to kick things; whether the purpose is to manoeuvre cars around in Bunny Parking, or organise boxes onto pallets like a warehouse worker in SokoBunny, they get a real kick out of it. Unsurprisingly, the latest release of Kick It, Bunny! follows the well-trodden path and looks to show off the fancy footwork of rabbits again, albeit with a new puzzle mechanic at its core. Could Kick It, Bunny! be the pride of the fluffle, or will it turn out to be more of a floppsy like the other aforementioned titles?
Well, from the moment you first venture into Kick It, Bunny!, the signs are all there that making improvements and righting the wrongs of the previous games aren’t high on the priority list. It does have some interesting and weird ideas within though, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Kick It, Bunny! drops you off on a tropical archipelago, putting you in control of a bunny and essentially saying “off you go now”, without any other words of wisdom. There’s nothing to detail the supposed back-story – featured in the store description – about needing you to restore ancient stone figures, which were somehow destroyed beforehand. It even manages to completely skip the part where a tutorial may be and so you’re effectively going in clueless. A cracking start, wouldn’t you agree?
Nevertheless, a bit of wandering and common sense should prevail as you figure out there are puzzles scattered throughout the island. With 50 of them in total, the concept for each sees you attempt to fill an outline that’s ingrained in the sand by using the various shapes made up of blocks. These could come in T-shapes of four blocks, zig-zag types, straight lines, a single block, and a few other sizes. Only a selection of the blocks are on show initially, until they’re maneuvered off their starting platforms, at which point another will appear in its place. It’s a pointless system however because you can’t really assess how the pieces might fit until they’re all out.
The actual conundrum posed by the statues that require erection is a fairly simple, but decent concept. The controls are simple too, with one button to kick the blocks into position and another kick button to cause rotation. As you work your way through them though, every success feels increasingly more like a chore than a sense of accomplishment. You either stumble upon the correct layout by a happy accident, or you get so close to the conclusion before realising a piece doesn’t fit, which leads to faffing about moving the blocks away to try another possible layout. What doesn’t help matters either is the hit and miss detection, as sometimes the block won’t move or it might shift a nearby block by mistake.
As for the puzzle designs and, well, upon completion you can expect to cast your eyes over statues resembling the likes of a monkey, a key, a sword, a fir tree and much more. That’s fine, with a handful looking quite cool; but then you’ve got a load coming across visually akin to the space invader aliens or – even worse – actually nothing recognisable. It probably in part due to the dull colours used to distinguish the blocks from each other and a bit of vibrancy wouldn’t go amiss.
Outside of the puzzles, there’s the vast open-world for you to explore and enjoy, with a side objective available should you wish to seek out some rings. Arguably the most enjoyable aspect of Kick It, Bunny! involves finding rings throughout the world and hopping through them. If you remember Burnout Paradise, it’s similar to tracking down the billboards and swiftly becomes a novel distraction. Elsewhere on the islands there are football pitches to have a kick about, cheerleading hippos, and racing rams, because why the heck not eh?
Unfortunately, the presence of crocodiles makes the game a rather hostile environment to be in. These snappy swines frequently interrupt, mid-puzzle solving, to give the poor bunny a good battering for no reason. There’s literally no point in it, and it’s during such acts it becomes noticeable how easy it is to get stuck inside the trees or the blocks, forcing an in-game reset which will often spawn you miles away from where you were.
The major plus point in favour of Kick It, Bunny! is the ability to solve the puzzles and explore the islands in co-op. It means you can share the pain and also have some back up for when the bunny-hating crocs turn up. But seriously, co-op works relatively well aside from the Gamertag display disappearing now and again.
In the end though, Kick It, Bunny! on Xbox clearly demonstrates that DillyFrame Games still have a fair few improvements to make before they can deliver a fully functioning, and worthwhile puzzler. A lick of paint for the bunny, reusing the same old background music, possessing iffy mechanics, and throwing some more animals into the mix just won’t cut it. It really is disappointing because if the puzzles were implemented better, they’d be good enough to provide enjoyment alongside the ring hunting antics.
Don’t let the relatively low price dangling in front of you like a juicy carrot draw you in to buy Kick It, Bunny!. Take a hop, skip and a jump to find a better game elsewhere.