With the success of the mobile giant Angry Birds series, it’s no surprise that countless developers have since tried to replicate the popularity of Rovio’s flagship series. Originally released on the 3DS over a year ago, Cypronia has ported the game over to Wii U as the newly-subtitled ‘Colossal Carrot Crusade’. But is it really worth flinging your money at, or just another shameless cash-grab?
Review Platform: Wii U eShop
Also Available on: 3DS eShop
Price: £5.99, $8.99 €6.99
EU/NA Release Date: 25/09/14
Genre: Action, Puzzle
Players: 1 Player
It’s safe to assume every gamer out there is familiar with Angry Birds‘ concept, in which you control a device used to launch projectiles towards the right of the screen in a bid to destroy various structures and enemies for points, as well as the imminent satisfaction gained from witnessing the mass destruction caused by a flick of your wrist. The only difference here is the birds are replaced with bunnies, and pigs with foxes. Oh, and in place of the slingshot you’ll see some bizarre-looking cannon which will fire out your also coincidentally ‘angry’ animal friends. But enough about the aesthetic changes…
Like the aforementioned ‘inspiration’, this game also includes a range of different kinds of bunnies with special abilities to help strategically plan your attack. Aside from the aptly-named ‘tiny’ bog-standard bunny, you have a brown fellow who can speed up mid-air with a tap of the screen; a white rabbit who causes explosions on impact; a green, heavier bunny who causes a significantly higher amount of damage; and finally, a bunny which drops small, explosive, err… droppings by repeatedly tapping on the screen.
The game is played entirely using the GamePad’s touchscreen, which works pretty well and is accurate for the most part. The GamePad displays the launching point, while you can pan the camera around the level on the television screen. However, one of the biggest issues I have with the game is its lack of compatibility with off-TV play; a choice of which is frankly bizarre considering how well-suited the gameplay is for pick up and play.
The bulk of the game is found within its ‘story’ mode which contains no real narrative or engaging cinematics at all, however it does include 150 different stages; 30 of these each spread across the five worlds. Each world provides more gradual challenge as you advance, as the wider selection of bunnies soon become available, accompanied by an unclear, blurry instructional image for each new character. However, these do not provide a sufficient tutorial, and you’ll be left alone to experiment with trial and error while repeating the same level over and over until you get it right; an admittedly uninteresting and laborious process.
In an attempt to increase the replay value, online leaderboards were added as the only new addition to the Wii U version. However, it fails to offer much in terms of competition since it only display the amount of levels beaten and carrots collected by each player. The lack of a scoring system here feels like yet another wasted opportunity from the developer. Once all the levels are swept clean of their carrot collectibles (three per level), there is no challenge left – no rank to improve or record of a friend to beat.
That’s not to say the game is entirely bad. While the visuals themselves are hit and miss, the backgrounds look wonderful in high-def and the artwork is pretty charming too. It’s a shame the same can’t be said for the bunnies’ 3D models which are of poor quality and suffer from some horrendous animation. Certainly not the standard you’d expect from a Wii U title.
The soundtrack’s not too shabby either, but extremely lacking. It features a catchy main theme as well as two different melodies which play depending on whether you passed or failed the stage. Aside from that, the only audio you’ll be hearing is the screeching of the bunnies as they fly off, and cheap ‘bang’ sound effects as they make impact – all of which soon begin to grate after only a few levels into the game.
Though despite its shortcomings, Angry Bunnies can still be fun to play in short bursts, if only due to the familiar gameplay it tries to replicate. But let’s be honest – the main problem is the lack of creativity and appeal that Rovio’s series is so renowned for. The bunnies themselves may come with different, unique abilities, but they’re not distinguishable whatsoever. Their names generic, they lack the colourful, humourous, wacky personalities of the birds and pigs we know and love. And then we have the game’s ironically-titled ‘story’ mode where absolutely no effort has gone into the presentation of the worlds. It wouldn’t have hurt to have given each of them a name, and include some basic narrative instead of an unappealing low-res image of a bunny, right? A simple comic-strip approach would have sufficed, and provided some much-needed charm.
Angry Bunnies is exactly how it looks, unfortunately – an overpriced clone, with not enough polish nor originality to hold interest. Sadly, it’s a struggle for me to recommend, unless of course you’re an Angry Birds fanatic and can’t get enough of the physics-based demolition gameplay. Otherwise, this is only one to look into if you’ve squeezed the eShop dry of the countless higher-quality titles which are much more deserving of your money. At a discounted price, it’d bode well as a decent time-waster. That’s all, I’m afraid. Here’s hoping Cypronia will take note, and try to create some real stand-out titles in the future for all the right reasons this time.
Review code provided by Cypronia