Roll up, roll up, Chilibite Entertainment’s Stunt Bunnies Circus (Out Now, $0.99) is in town! Be prepared to gawp in awe as a troupe of adorable bunnies perform death-defying routines and gasp in terror when dastardly circus ringleader Claude Reynard — a literal sly fox — forces these fluffy daredevils into ever-more dangerous situations all in the hopes of packing his Big Top full of paying customers night after night!
First things first, I totally love Stunt Bunnies Circus’ crazy premise; the idea of a money-grubbing fox running a ramshackle circus and coercing cute ickle bunnies into risking life and limb strikes me as blackly hilarious, and could easily be the set-up for a (particularly bonkers) Saturday morning cartoon. The game’s playful art direction and lofty production values only further reinforce this notion.
Gameplay-wise, Stunt Bunnies Circus keeps it pretty simple: you take control of ‘Jet Bunny’ — the dashing and impressively mustachioed star of the show — who zooms around on a jetpack during performances, trying to catch as many tumbling bunnies as possible before they hit the ground (naturally, Claude has no truck with anything so passé as safety nets). And remember, if you fail to wow the crowd by stopping enough bunnies from going ker-splat, both you and your friends will wind up in Foxy’s dinner pot!
With rapid jabs of your finger on the touchscreen, you select bunnies to save, and our hero flies over and plucks them out of the air. Then when you’ve successfully snagged five, it’s time to land safely. It’s all quite straightforward and things start out at a relatively undemanding pace, but it’s not too long before bunnies are raining down at a dizzying rate. Also, different types of bunnies fall at different speeds — for example, umbrella-twirling dancers descend more slowly than strongmen bunnies with their sets of dumbbells — so there’s a certain element of strategy involved in deciding which ones to grab first.
As you work your way through a five chapter story mode, each new routine becomes increasingly convoluted and Chilibite do a great job of keeping the gameplay feeling fresh by throwing cannons, tight ropes, flaming torches, and even a hungry lion into the mix. If you start to find the going too tough, you can always use the coins you earn from pulling off combo-saves to buy handy stuff like crash mats, fire jackets and extra rocket fuel from the in-game store. Coins are hard-won, and it probably goes without saying that you can also buy more via IAPs, but the game isn’t all that challenging so it doesn’t feel as if the developers are trying to ‘nickle and dime’ you too badly.
Beyond the main game, there are also Game Center achievements, a leaderboard and an unlockable ‘Arcade Mode’ to enjoy. A pretty decent amount of content, all in all. That said, I definitely wouldn’t complain if Chilibite decided to expand on the ‘Story Mode’ a little more in future updates; extra chapters and new bunnies would both be welcome! Apparently Stunt Bunnies Circus is the first in a planned series of games that will feature these quirky characters, which is great news because I can’t wait to see more of them. Yes, even nasty ol’ Claude Reynard!
iFanzine Verdict: Fiendishly addictive and blackly funny, Stunt Bunnies Circus is a blast from start to finish. The core gameplay may be a little simplistic for some people’s taste, but even then the memorable characters and fantastic story are almost worth the price of admission alone.