Will we ever get tired of pixel art games? Yeah Bunny! from solo indie developer Adrian Zarzycki proves that the well-loved, well-represented genre can still evoke warm fuzzy feelings. Yeah Bunny! offers one-tap platformer gameplay with a charming little auto-running bunny who speeds through nine cute retro-rendered worlds.
Once your bunny gets going, tap once to jump and tap again to do a double jump in the air, collect carrots and keys, all while avoiding obstacles. But though your bunny runs on its own, this is no endless high-score chaser; instead there are discreet levels, worlds to unlock, and bosses to beat.
While the gameplay is simple, the mechanics offer plenty of challenging points. If you hit a wall, you’ll bounce back and will head in the opposite direction until you can turn yourself around by way of another wall- however long that takes. Though this can be irksome, it also offers opportunities for second chances (which you’ll need) in order to head back and pick up things you may have missed, or to make up for a poorly aimed jump.
Obstacles include little baddies to jump on and environmental threats to avoid like spiky bricks and moving walls, and the threshold of contact with these obstacles is very sensitive. Because you can’t control your speed or progress through the scene, perfect timing for your taps is imperative. Watch out for long jumps from another area where you land directly on an enemy; I unfortunately found that I died coming in from a long jump, even though I landed squarely on the target which means an extra jump would be needed.
To progress through levels and unlock new worlds you must collect all of the keys in a level, many of which are placed in difficult locations that will inevitably cause some cheap deaths. You also collect carrots which can be used for continues after you die. Gratefully, carrots are cumulative and you get to keep whatever you earn in a level, even if you die before completing it. And die you will, because Yeah Bunny! is not easy. If you run out of carrots, you can also watch an ad to continue from where you are or make a one-time purchase for unlimited continues.
The short sessions are challenging and intense, but knowing the level isn’t actually endless and that continues are offered at the end does help motivation and morale for those who might get overwhelmed by non-stop motion. The individual levels are well-designed and offer enough variation to feel like you’re making progress through the worlds. I was relieved to find that levels aren’t timed like other classic platformers, so you can take all the time you need to run and bounce back and forth to get your keys.
The graphics will certainly feel familiar with bright “retro-inspired” environments and cheerful little enemies. However, the clean, bold artstyle still feels fresh and contemporary while clearly nodding to Super Mario predecessors and the like. The music is friendly but mellow, though the loop is pretty short, so you might find yourself turning it off to avoid the annoyance factor.
The just-one-more-try addiction is motivating without feeling icky and though the game is difficult, it is pretty satisfying to complete a level or beat a boss. The game will undoubtedly be appealing to classic platformer fans as well as fans of pixel art. With tons of free, high-quality gameplay, no invasive IAPs, and an utterly adorable hero, Yeah Bunny! is worth a download.