With one of the longest titles in video game history, Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils is a 2D platforming action adventure with rigid and terrible controls that get in the way of any fun there could be. On the surface its a good looking game and I think that’s all there needs to be. You fight a giant cat, you wear a bunny girl costume while platforming a labyrinth and there’s a button to take a selfie screenshot. Does a game need more than that to sell it? There is plenty of old school charm with the visuals, a few items to collect like running shoes and the game’s time mechanic that lets you freeze time around Bunny and halt traps. Other games have done it better, but the genre itself is popular enough where any game in it becomes a must own.
When you start the game for the first time, you’re given a choice what type of game window you’d like and you had better make the right choice because you’re only asked once. Making the wrong choice gives you a black screen with music. You can sometimes remedy this by pressing Right, Right, Z and then Right, Right, Right, Up, Z. Otherwise just go digging through the game’s .ini file to solve the problem. Perhaps that’s a Windows 10 issue, but its still a giant issue.
The real problem is that its tough to control Bunny. Movement feels stiff and you’re either attacking or moving, never both at once. There is no duck attack, but rather Bunny will attack down at an angle. She can also attack up and up at an angle. Another limitation is when you’re attacking, there is no way to turn around. You need to stop attacking, move the other way and risk bumping into an enemy if they are close enough.
If you try to nudge your way off of a platform, if you do it too slight, she will correct herself back on the platform. This feels like a glitch to just disappear and move ten pixels over to safety. On the other hand, there are plenty of blind jumps with the potential for death spikes below. To compensate, you can halt all movement and push down and after a moment the screen with scroll down to show you spikes. Plus, the item icons can obscure what’s below even if they’re a bit transparent. The list of items seems unnecessary since you never have to switch between them.
Oh but then there are other blind challenges, such as flying enemies that shoot and gravity takes their projectiles downward to you. They can fire at you from off screen and it adds to the challenge, but only because movement is so stiff.
Once you earn the running shoes, you can dash with a double tap in one direction. The dash is quick and you can jump kick enemies with it, but the issue is that its easy to run by accident. Perhaps using a keyboard makes it less prone to issues, but I was using a 360 controller.
Bunny is a game with several weapons and she can only hold one at a time. Some are interesting, others are basic like throwing swords. Rather than a gun they are swords. She can get a slashing sword that is borderline useless since its easier to kill enemies from a distance with anything else. There are boomerangs which are always cool to have in any game and even a giant mace that will come back at you. Using the mace almost turns into an orbiting shield. The only downside is you need to catch the mace again to use it.
To get these weapons you need to break candles, which is fine because other games have done it before. The issue is if you are close enough to a candle and a weapon drops, that weapon is yours. The old weapon should be dropped so you have a choice. While weapons only pop out of specific candles I found myself getting a weapon by accident and I’d need to backtrack to get the weapon I did want.
One of the interesting facets of the game is the jump mechanic. Its just as rigid as movement, but when you just jump, its a tall jump, but when you leap in a direction, Bunny spins around. When you spin and attack she will throw weapons in a spiral. Well except the mace. The mace can destroy red projectiles, while other weapons can only take out blue ones. This is helpful for boss fights.
As for the bosses, the early fights feel laughable and easy. Just stand and spam your projectile. One boss managed to never hit me, despite standing in front of it and never moving. Perhaps that was just a boss rather than one of the 7 devils. Major bosses incorporate a cut scene, but I was never invested in the story. The title says more than what you need to know.
The time mechanic feels underutilized. Time will stop everything but Bunny and her mace. It stops your projectiles, that is except for the mace, but the catch is the mace cannot damage enemies when time is stopped. The game attempts to make more use of the time mechanic by letting you hold the button to reverse time, yet I was never able to get it to work except for a few occasions. Even then it only respawns candles and enemies I had destroyed. If there’s anything that needs explaining, there are several signs with hints. Things like freeze time to jump on a platform, freeze time to disable a trap and double tap a direction to run and jump a gap.
Death in the game is a true annoyance, because its game over and you’re kicked out into the main menu where you must continue from your last save. This is a ridiculous punishment for a tough to control game. I would think that a mechanic that lets you reverse time would spare you from death, but no; Bunny needs to be alive to reverse time. That feels like a missed opportunity and the entire game feels like missed opportunities. You have a time stopping mechanic yet there are no puzzles beyond find an orb to open a door. You collect items so fast and furious it makes me feel like the game is devoid of content.
Saving will restore health and your time powers. When you save it adds time to your run, so for experts, there is reason to run through the game with minimal saves. Collecting purple triangles that spray out of defeated foes and candles will refill your time meter. There are a few collectibles that will increase your time meter as well.
Bunny Must Die! Chelsea and the 7 Devils is a game that needed more time on the fun and less time on the graphics. The art and style help sell it, but its a tough game to play or enjoy for that matter. At the price tag, a night with this bunny feels like a risky proposition.