Bunnymare: Circus Escape (iOS, Google Play)

A troop of weird, bunny puppet things live at a circus, but a cruel ringmaster mistreats them when they don’t perform well and locks them up in a cage at night.  One night, one of the bunnies finds a magic hat with a portal to some kind of happy candy farm.  Now you must help the bunnies escape in this Lemmings-like action puzzler.  It’s available free-to-play on mobile devices, but reviewed on iPad here.

To start a level, tap the magic hat in each stage to send a bunny out.  The bunny will walk on its own, and you must make a safe path for it to reach the other magic hat in the level.  Tap on certain floors to send up a wall to make the bunny walk in the opposite direction.  Slide your finger to move platforms up and down or side to side to help the rabbit along, too.  If your bunny hits an obstacle like barbed wire or falls into a pit of alligators, you’ll have to tap the hat again to send another bunny out.

In each level are three (or more) food items, like fruit or candy.  If you can make the bunny nab the food in a specific order, you can play a bonus game when you complete the level.  These mini-games help you earn coins, and when you play one, you’ll unlock it permanently and can play it any time you want.  So what do coins do?  Well, if you run out of rabbits in the hat (you start with five), you can buy more with coins.

And that leads me to the main problem I had with the game.  In most free-to-play games, when you run out of lives you must wait a while for them to recharge.  But not here.  Once you run out of bunnies, that’s it until you can earn enough coins by playing a mini-game.  But even if you do well in a mini-game, you only earn like, eight coins.  And a new bunny costs 35 coins.  Granted, you can also earn money by watching ads, or buying more with real money in the shop.  But the game also lacks good instructions.  When I first started playing, I tapped on the hat multiple times and more bunnies came out, so I figured I needed to save them all, similar to other Lemmings style games.  But no, you only need one to finish, so why have that be a feature in the game?  Needless to say I lost a lot of lives very quickly, and it could’ve been prevented with better instructions on the rules.  But it’s just as well, as I lost interest in the game pretty quickly anyway, which is a shame since I do like Lemmings style puzzlers.

Kid Factor:

When your bunnies get hit, their heads get lobbed off and fly away.  I guess since they’re just puppet bunnies, it’s not so bad, but cartoon violence still abounds in this game.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and parental supervision is recommended for the in-game ads and purchases.

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