Title: CODE Bunny
Developer: Team Seventh Star
Release Date: September 22, 2023
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Lavie Azure
Genre: 2D Action, Platformer
Developed by Lavie Azure’s Team Seventh Star, CODE Bunny is an indie 2D action game clearly inspired by titles such as the Azure Striker Gunvolt series. Only available on PC via itch.io, the game is a small yet heartfelt effort that showcases the developers’ love for the genre.
CODE Bunny is set in a futuristic world inhabited by bunny people. The game narrates the story of two protagonists employed by the large corporation Lagos Hyperbolics, who must now confront a new threat: a team known as Mad Bunny, invading the capital city of Lumna. Their mission: to retaliate against these invaders.
Although the overall story is simple, it excels in portraying believable characters and their connections. The game’s brevity may leave you wanting more insight into its world, but the dialogues are relatable and poignant without coming across as pretentious. Between missions, you can engage in amusing small talk with your comrades, which helps flesh out the characters.
Upon launching the game, you can choose between the bunny boy ice-skater Axel and the bunny girl samurai Hazel. Each character boasts a distinct moveset and unique story divergences that provide deeper insights into their perspectives. You’ll uncover their backstories and interactions in more depth rather than merely replaying the same story.
Axel can execute pirouettes and use his momentum from skating for platforming. Attacking enemies allows players to build up an EX gauge, offering an additional layer of protection in the form of a barrier. His style is straightforward and can be exploited for invulnerability, even by newcomers.
On the other hand, Hazel employs a tag system reminiscent of Gunvolt from Azure Striker Gunvolt. She can teleport to a tagged enemy’s location and strike them with a sword. Her style incorporates various technical aspects, such as timing counters and utilizing momentum for an additional jump toward a goal.
The game lacks “continue” restrictions like lives, allowing players to return to the most recent checkpoint until they grasp the mechanics. However, the game evaluates your performance in the stages, assigning a rank between C and S+ based on speed, the best combo, and received damage. Dying significantly hampers your evaluation, making it more challenging to achieve a high grade.
The stage designs cleverly position enemies and traps, often offering multiple layers and alternate paths toward the same goal. However, the primary objective remains moving forward, and there could have been more incentives to explore these areas beyond mastering speedrunning techniques.
Each stage concludes with a boss battle, rated separately from the platforming section. To be honest, these boss fights are usually somewhat easy. While their attacks feature intriguing patterns, such as bullet hell-like structures or melee movements, significant timing of invulnerability skills (especially for Axel) often allows players to “cheese” their way through the fights.
This lower difficulty level might not satisfy hardcore players seeking a greater challenge. Meanwhile, traps capable of instantly killing characters may lead newcomers to repeat sections numerous times. Nevertheless, the gameplay fundamentals are solid, and understanding each character’s abilities is an enjoyable experience.
In addition to Story Mode, CODE Bunny offers a “Classic Mode” that removes all cutscenes and story events, allowing players to focus solely on gameplay. You can also reset your character data for either protagonist to replay the story from the beginning.
Completing the story unlocks extra stages featuring only the bosses, providing an opportunity to improve your skills. While many bosses are relatively easy, this feature can be especially appealing to speedrun enthusiasts.
CODE Bunny delivers an enjoyable Gunvolt-like experience with relatable characters and engaging mechanics. It’s possible to breeze through the game with minimal effort, which may not appeal to hardcore genre fans. However, at its core, this is an easy recommendation for anyone seeking a brief yet enjoyable indie 2D action title.
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