So begins the bloody saga of a whiny-ass princess and farting rabbits, Fluffy Horde chops it’s way through millions of bunnies to make the world a better place for you and me. Unless, of course, you are a rabbit, then your soul will be expunged from the face of the earth.
Genre: Strategy, Action
Developer: Turtle Juice
Publisher: Turtle Juice
Release date: 07 Nov, 2018
To All the Bunnies I Must Destroy
I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Fluffy Horde. What I can say for certain, though, is that is surprised me several times. Firstly, I was surprised it wasn’t a campaign of tower defense missions that would drag out into a massive bunny vs human war. That was a bit of a disappointment. I was also surprised that it was something more along the lines of an app game such as Angry Birds or Cut the Rope. Lastly, I was surprised by the sheer variety and thought put into each level because some of those seriously stumped me for quite some time. In the end, though, there was one last surprise as I found myself wanting to beat the game. That, in and of itself, is an accomplishment because it means I not only found the levels challenging, but compelling. So, for me, it honestly got better the more I played and kept me on the edge of saying ” I can do this, really.” so many times that I found myself playing into the wee hours of the night.
Bunnies: Silent But Deadly
Fluffy Horde‘s gameplay threw me for a loop and I expect I won’t the be only one. That app game reference is no joke, the game is broken down into 100 levels separated into four large chunks that are sequentially unlocked after you beat 25 levels in a row. These levels are very quick, most taking less than three minutes to complete if you think them through well enough. However, it will likely take several attempts to get through them. There is no time limit per se, but if you tarry too long you’ll end up in a bunnypocalypse and sad music plays because you died.
Now, the basics of tower defense are present such as affixing soldiers to certain areas or designing ways to roadblock or disrupt the enemy, but it all depends on the level itself and it’s the brevity of the level that is the main difference because if the bunnies multiply out of control, you can lose the level in seconds. In the beginning levels of the game, you can buy soldiers which can be upgraded at a cost and placed in strategic places to simply chop the little furballs down willy-nilly. As you progress, you will find there are also archers, carrots which are meant to be sacrificed to lure fuzzy-wuzzies to a specific area, bunny-phobic milk gusher-swallowing cows, straight up Sarlacc Pits that vomit up what I guess are cheerleaders, purple bunny eaters, and more. It seems the devs never run out of ideas and each one is designed to make the game a little more interesting than before, such as world flipping, multipliers, and even levels without any soldiers at all. However, to get to those more interesting levels and systems in play, you have to get past at least the first 25 levels.
Variety is the key here. In the beginning, it all feels a little underwhelming, especially if the long bunny war scenarios don’t pan out as you expected and you end with a super fast RTS/TD mini-level puzzle game. Yet, just when you think there is nothing left to really do here the next level gets all that much more tricky. It eggs you on, even taunts you because you know this level is solvable in under a minute yet here you are three minutes in with no solution in sight. Click Restart and give it another go, and that may go on for roughly 20 minutes on some of those levels. It’s vexing, but beating a tough level is rather fulfilling once completed. It’s not all about killing bunnies either, some levels require you to move the princess safely from point A to point B, others need you to vomit cheerleaders where you to have to actually carefully overpopulate the rabbits to feed the Sarlacc Pit and still others have bosses or at least candy-colored elvish homes that need to be destroyed.
The big centerpiece here is that this is a not a game of tower defense as much as it is a game of puzzles. It’s how you manage the assortment of options for bunny onslaught rather than the furry carnage itself. Move a knight too far away from a princess pouting about not having her party and she’s rabbit fodder in exactly three seconds. Put two knights in one area and a carrot-man in another to lure them away while the knights chop with the intensity of Robert Downey Jr’s eyelashes and you may have a solid strategy. Or not. Sometimes you still need to account for another variable and you die in 10 seconds. It’s a quick restart and a survey of the level to figure it out, and you’re golden after a few more tries.
I think the bottleneck with this game is really the confusion of not knowing exactly what to do. Unlike some games where you know your powers or abilities, in Fluffy Horde you get a new scenario with each level and it can be a little confusing to start up a new strategy each and every time. The levels vary just enough so that what you just did in one level won’t likely work at all on the next level. At first, I was examining a level before starting it and I would think about possible outcomes and ways to prevent my death. However, as I progressed I’d just get tired of analyzing and simply started the level, died a bit, and figured it out on the fly. There are so many possibilities and options that it’s a crap shoot what you will be asked to do from one area to the next, and often it is a blend of old scenarios nuanced with new scenarios enough to make it a whole different manner of strategy. It’s nice variety but kinda felt like a Wario game where I had a time limit and new things to do with each turn. It was a bit exhausting.
I have to note, the mechanical nature of the puzzles is very challenging, with some levels feeling more like Crazy Machines levels than anything else. Often you have to manipulate platforms and switches, many of which require bunnies to hop on top of, yet you must also kill them all the same. If you enjoy puzzle games and hate bunnies, this may be the game for you. Towards the end of the game, the levels do get a bit more luck based, especially with bridge building soldiers. I wasn’t fond of them, especially that “Oberon” level where you have make a bridge from a constantly rotating set of squares and on top of that the bunnies either won’t go the way you want or just plain get eaten before you have a chance to do anything. Hint to all you folks, try to use the bridges as a catapult. An inventive system in play, but frustrating.
There is also a multiplayer, and JimDeadlock and Rgk gave it a go in the video above. My advice is that it’s really best not to play it blind for multiplayer, you need some experience in playing the levels first or you will just get a bit disappointed at how things are going. I also feel that, in my opinion, you miss out on the brain-stumper levels that are in the main campaign. The multiplayer is okay, but not particularly interactive enough.
Lastly, it’s funny. Ish. Well, the little jokes and elf remarks are entertaining the first time around, but since you tend to die and make more elf soldiers, archers, and carrot-men, you hear them over and over. It’s light-hearted, which does help with the overall tone since you can die quite a bit and the levity helps break up the underlying frustration that can build up.
I felt that the pixelated artwork was quite decent, though not super detailed like some games and not overly styled as in others. The animations were fun and to the point without going too in depth. There was enough contrast between enemies to find them on the screen easily, and you have to traverse a very wide range of an area on each level.
I want to add, the levels are really quite wide. So much so that you have to actually scroll horizontally on your screen a great deal to get from one place to the next. You can also click on a mini-map to snap to one area quickly, and I highly recommend doing that instead of the slow pan. This large area helps to make the level more complex, but it also does lead to a bit of confusion when scrolling from one place to another.
The mouse cursor gets lost easily on the screen because it’s golden colored and that meshes with most of the graphics in the game world. Another color would have helped like neon blue or something. More than once I simply lost where my cursor was and messed up a level.
While I generally liked the audio, there wasn’t much variety from level to level and it became a bit repetitive after several sessions trying to get through the game. Sometimes I’d turn off the sound after listening to the same riff for over 30 minutes. It’s not that it is bad, but I can only listen to it for so long as it’s the same tune per set of 25 levels.
There was no controller support, so don’t go in thinking you can play this on a TV from your couch using a wireless controller. You’ll need a wireless keyboard/mouse combo to do that. I used my mouse almost entirely for the game, though there are some shortcut keys like Q and E you can use. Overall, it plays like a game you’d leave on your laptop to play in your free time, but I honestly think it’s better as a phone app. It just leans in that direction more than anything else, down to the three medals per level ( much like Cut the Rope for instance where you get star ratings per level ).
Fluffy Horde is more or less a PC puzzle app-style game with strategy and tower defense components fused into 100 bite-sized chunks where the solution takes under three minutes if you can figure it out fast enough. You just play with a keyboard and mouse instead of a touchscreen is all. Truth be told, I didn’t really like the game at the onset. It felt too basic and a bit overly silly, plus at the beginning there is no solid tutorial and you have to figure things out on the spot. It can be quite confusing and I wasn’t into it until I got past the first 25 levels. Yet, I trudged on and realized that it’s not so much a tower defense game as it is a puzzle game, which appealed to me as I do enjoy a good puzzle. Then, I found myself pushing myself to go much further than I expected, even one night playing until 3 AM. So, it’s an interesting game that does it’s best at what it sets itself out to do. I just wish it was on my phone is all, because I’d rather play this on a train or waiting room rather than sitting down with my laptop. Still, I have to say I rather enjoyed my time with it and for those interested, I encourage you to try it out. At $10 I don’t think I can recommend it at full price, but if it was closer to the price of most apps I’d say it’s worth a go. If you’ve ever completed an Angry Birds or Cut the Rope app game, then this may be a game you will enjoy.