Bubble Bunny is a “blitz-style” bubble-popping puzzle game from French developer Ooblada. It showed up as the No. 2 emerging Facebook game at the end of last week, with 70,000 monthly active users. This number has since grown to 90,000.
The game is based on a very simple concept: In a minute of gameplay, players are challenged to pop as many groups of 3 like-colored bubbles as they can. The faster they do this, the higher they score, and the more likely they will be to acquire various powerups to make their life easier — or, on occasion, more difficult.
The twist on the usual formula is that the levels have an element of physics-based gameplay about them. Rather than the bubbles hanging from the top of the level in relatively static arrangements as seen in titles such as King.com’s Bubble Witch Saga, the bubbles in Bubble Bunny are attached to spinning wheel-like structures in the middle of the play area. Flinging a bubble and making a match or attaching it to something causes the entire arrangement of structures to rotate depending on where it landed — hitting the right side of a structure from underneath causes everything to rotate counter-clockwise, for example.
The arrangement of bubbles in the levels is identical every time, so skilled players will be able to memorize the level layouts in order to get through the earlier, simpler stages quickly. Since a bonus is provided at the end of the 60 seconds for the number of levels completed, this becomes essential to attain high scores, along with understanding what the various powerups do. This is a matter of experimentation, since the game does not explain the function of the various collectibles, instead requiring the player to try them out and see what happens rather than revealing everything immediately.
Progression is provided by a leveling system, which provides the player with a score bonus every few levels. The player may also acquire an additional score bonus of up to 5% by playing every day. Monetization is handled through the sale of lives, which are needed in order to start a new game. These are available either by asking friends or at the rate of five per 10 Facebook Credits. There are no other purchasable powerups at this time.
The game is a simple but effective one with a good leaderboard and weekly tournament system built in. There are a few technical issues, however — when tested on Google Chrome on a Mac running OSX Lion (10.7.3) there was significant input lag from mouse or trackpad control which worsened as the game went on for longer. This issue was not present when playing in Safari or Firefox under OSX, however, nor when playing using the Windows version of Google Chrome.
A good “blitz” puzzler, though the issues with playing in Google Chrome on OSX need to be addressed.