If you have ever worked in an office environment, you’ll know the joys of Solitaire and Mahjong. Pretending to be working at your desk, while you are training your brain. As gamers tastes evolve, the classic card games disappear. They don’t want to play basic puzzles, so the developers have moved on, that is all except one. Dillyframe specialises in old school puzzle and card games. They have designed 6 games, the latest one that I’m playing is Bunny Mahjo.
Bunny Mahjo is exactly as it sounds. It combines the classic tile puzzle game Mahjong with a rabbit theme. I know what you are thinking “Rabbits and puzzles, that’s a match made in heaven!” Well, let’s see. I have played and completed 2 of Dillyframe’s games; Bunny Parking and Soko Bunny. Each was a fun experience with challenging trials and a wacky twist. I had high hopes that this title would follow suit. It would be a lighthearted, casual gaming experience.
As you load in your game, you will sit and wait, wait, and wait some more. For some unknown reason, this rather basic title takes an eternity to load in. Once you overcome this hurdle, you see a hand-drawn image of a bunny. This is the developers trademark, and a reoccurring theme throughout their franchise. You have the option to play solo, or multiplayer. Whichever you choose, both lead to the same conclusion. Game mode selected, you are now thrust into the gaming arena, and must select which puzzle you wish to take on.
The other games in the series contain an unnecessary, yet vibrant world to explore. You discover mini games to play, a secret land, and NPC rabbit to annoy. A mindless distraction that serves as padding, but still fun. Bunny Mahjo didn’t have any of this. If you wander away from the playing area, you meet a vast space and utter disappointment. If this is your first “Bunny” game, then you wouldn’t know better. But, for me, it was vacant and void of personality and life. It appeared unfinished and rushed. Compounded by many other minor issues, which only reinforced these negative thoughts.
Let’s put the lack of atmosphere to one side and discuss the gameplay. A good puzzle game is all about the execution and the challenge that lies ahead. Unfortunately, this is lacking also! A timer ticks away as you begin each stage. It has no relevance to success or failure and only serves as a sign of the time taken. There is no ranking system of stars like in previous iterations from Dillyframe. Success is all but assumed, and there is little reward when you complete a puzzle. If you struggle at any point, you can shuffle the tiles, or grab a hint. You will receive a penalty if you use them. With no limits to these “tips” it adds to the hollow feeling that comes with success in this game.
A cooperative mode is available if you have friends who wish to complete bunny puzzles with you. In the “Bunny” series, this adds a fun and a mischievous element to the gameplay. Kicking and throwing one another and annoying the NPC rabbits. Yet, in Bunny Mahjo this mode is frustrating and cumbersome. You get in each other’s way, selecting wrong tiles, and arguing with one another. Multiplayer was not fun. It added nothing to the experience, and it detracted from the enjoyment factor. This made an already struggling game worse!
The joy of playing Mahjong on the PC is the table top view, and the ability to plan. All tiles are easy to identify, and you can work out your next move with relative ease. This is not the case in Bunny Mahjo. The angle of the camera doesn’t allow you a clear view of the whole puzzle. Forced to zoom the camera in and out, and to move yourself hoping to find a matching tile. Solving each stage took a lot of effort! This could have been overcome. The developers should have placed a 2D image of the puzzle on the screen as a reference point. The art style is unique to the “Bunny” franchise and has a rough and colourful hand drawn appearance. Bunny Parking, and Soko Bunny had glitches that I’d found away from the gaming area. But, with nothing to explore, and no NPC’s in sight, there were no issues to report. At least this is one positive for Dillyframe, and Bunny Mahjo.
Usually the audio is basic in this series. You hear thudding sounds for kicking and throwing, and the same song plays on loop throughout. The sound effects haven’t changed in the latest release. A cliched oriental soundtrack replaces the usual upbeat audio. This was a bit of an overkill. A mixture of songs would have been a better option.
If you decide that you want to try this, you won’t have to worry about challenging controls. Kick, jump, action, and move are all you need to master. Selecting tiles should have been an easy task. But a lack of depth in the image made identifying which tile was free an almost impossible job. You will hit the select button to see which is available, and which isn’t. It’s quite the tiresome task and removes the fun from this title. Yet another item to add to the growing snagging list for this game.
I’m sure that you are picking up the underlying tone that I didn’t enjoy my time playing Bunny Mahjo. The game lacks replay value, even though there are lots of puzzles to attempt. There are no achievements to earn. I completed tasks which unlocked achievements, yet the game has a 0 Gamerscore. This reiterated my belief that this game wasn’t finished. If you can stomach it, there are approximately 5 hours of gameplay to be had. I lasted for about 2 hours, and that was enough for me.
Disappointment was all I felt when I played this. A title that should have been fun and unusual, with the normal Dillyframe twist. Instead, it was dull, unfinished, and lacking energy. Every element was rushed with poor execution. I was looking forward to playing all the games in this series, but after experiencing this, I’ll give them a miss. Would I recommend this? No! There are much better puzzle games for the price. Bunny Mahjo misses the mark on every element it tries.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Bunny Mahjo Review
Gameplay - 2/10
Graphics - 3/10
Sound - 3/10
Replay Value - 0/10
Bunny Mahjo leaves you wanting much more. It feels unfinished and unloved. Unfortunately, the worst game in the “Bunny” series by far.
- Rough, yet distinctive art style.
- Audio is cliched and lacks variety.
- No depth to the tiles, this makes it hard to identify which ones can be used.
- The perspective reduces the field of view, and makes the puzzles tough to complete.
- No replay value.
- The multiplayer option is not fun.