Nnooo has released several titles on Nintendo platforms since Pop launched with WiiWare. While not all of its releases have been successes — the DSiWare myNotebook line and Spirit Hunters showed ingenuity but just weren't very fun to play — the studio's nonetheless been consistent in developing new IP with a unique style. Blast 'Em Bunnies, its latest eShop release, suffers from a lack of content, a terrible DLC model and bland, repetitive gameplay that derails what could have been a charming pick-up-and-play shooter. In this age of free-to-play mobile games with great gameplay hooks and high production values, Blast 'Em Bunnies just doesn't stack up.
Blast 'Em Bunnies is a wave-based arcade shooter in which you play as a nameless bunny (in first person; you only see the eerily blank-faced hare between games on the menu) and shoot hordes of evil bunnies from a turret outside your burrow. The turret rotates 360 degrees and can be customised with weapon upgrades and utilities that make it stronger and faster. Ammunition comes in the form of fruit and vegetables that you can select before starting a game, once they're unlocked via coins you collect from fallen enemies.
Control is slow. You move the turret with either the Circle Pad or by using motion controls; we opted to use the more responsive Circle Pad almost exclusively. The bottom screen's radar shows you which side enemies are approaching on, but the turret moves so sluggishly that you will find yourself struggling to keep up. Shooting with the shoulder buttons works fine, but by default shooting is very, very slow and doesn't "feel" right; there's no feeling of feedback or recognition, and when approaching enemies are far away it's hard to tell if a shot registered until the little buggers explode into coins. Dropped coins must also be shot, which feels even less precise. Different ammunition is slow to unlock, and we found ourselves almost exclusively using heat-seeking parsnips since they automatically track enemies. The 3D does help with depth a little, but only if you're planning on using the Circle Pad; moving the 3DS around (aside from the 'New' models) has never been good with stereoscopic visuals.
There are a variety of different enemies with varying attack patterns, but you'll have seen them all within a few rounds. There are occasional boss battles that require you to weaken a giant bunny and shoot it while it's down; if there's another variation on the boss battle, we certainly didn't find it. There is also a special gold bunny that runs across the screen that activates an invincible, fast-paced rage mode that lasts for a few moments.
In addition to the default survival mode you can try your hand at slaughter mode, which is essentially a two-minute version of what happens when you shoot the gold bunny. Both modes get old fast. There is a rudimentary quest system, which task the player with killing a certain amount, collecting coins and surviving a number of waves, but there is little incentive to keep playing when it becomes clear that Blast 'Em Bunnies is a one-trick... bunny.
At least the bunny designs are cute. There is a certain deranged charm when watching crazed bunnies (that look like they're from a Pixar movie) attack you. The "throat slitter," a pirate-looking bunny that is about to literally slit the throat of a baby bunny, perhaps exemplifies the game's kooky style. But there should have been more of that. There is a sick, Conker-style world waiting to be unleashed here, but unfortunately this game's scope doesn't allow it.
The most egregious, unacceptable decision Nnooo made with Blast 'Em Bunnies is the DLC structure. In order to unlock new arenas and enemy skins - which, it should be noted, are cosmetic only - you have to pay. Otherwise, you'll be staring at a bland green field with the same enemies over and over again. Had Blast 'Em Bunnies been a free-to-play game with the extra stages behind a paywall, this may have been a little easier to swallow. But on the 3DS, where eShop games typically at least offer a full experience, Blast 'Em Bunnies is completely out of its depth.
Blast 'Em Bunnies is not worth your money or your time. The cute exterior can't hide the gameplay problems and ridiculous pricing structure, and the DLC is not worth it. While it's always nice to see a new IP, Nnooo is going to have to go back to the drawing board if it wants this property to succeed in the future. Unfortunately, Blast 'Em Bunnies just doesn't earn a recommendation.