Bunny Pop: The Silent Protagonist Review
Despite repeat requests, BitMango refused to provide Silent Protagonist with an advance review copy of Bunny Pop. Apparently, the game has already released, is free, and is readily available on the various app stores. Silent Protagonist resents the effort required to review the game, and this may negatively affect the final score.
With the name Bunny Pop, one would assume that the game is about popping bunnies. However, in BitMango’s crass attempt to get the game into players' hands, false advertising reigns supreme, and players are instead treated to a stock standard bubble popping game. A bubble popping game where the bubbles aren’t bunnies, just bubbles.
This may leave you wondering while it’s called Bunny Pop (and rightly so), so allow me to elaborate: In the game, you play a mother bunny, who, as this review is timed to capitalise on Easter, I will refer to as the Easter Bunny. In the majority of levels, the Easter Bunny must rescue x number of her baby bunnies from the bubbles they are trapped inside. Occasional levels have the Easter Bunny rescuing carrots instead. Even more occasionally, you can use your bubbles to attack the wolf who keeps bunny-napping the babies.
The Easter Bunny rescuing her children sounds like a delight; a distraction from the realities of a world where Donald Trump has the power to launch missiles and Gamergaters leaving comments at Silent Protagonist, showing the world what delicate snowflakes they truly are. But it’s not — each rescue results in the bunny dropping from a great height. Bunny Pop is a game squarely aimed at children, and while no bunny’s pop and drop has yet resulted in a fatality thus far, I am certain it is only a matter of time.
Bunny Pop’s graphics are simple and cartoony. Its sound is comprised of childlike music, simple sound effects, and kid’s voices congratulating you for your achievements — namely, popping those bubbles. It’s gameplay is simplistic and easy, stripping all the challenge to make kids feel like awesome gamers — until the game progresses to the point where it is going to strip them of their in-game currency in a bid to earn their parents' real world currency.
However, it is worth noting that Bunny Pop’s revenue is not tied solely to microtransactions. The game has plenty of advertising space for sale, and boy, does it sell it. Between each level, the player is subjected to an ad. Being a children’s game means that BitMango needs to be careful about these ads, and what they aim to sell children. Two ads are shown regularly. The first is Snoopy Pop (because kids love Snoopy), a similarly styled game by Jam City, because every publisher has to get in on the “Pop” action.
But if there is one thing kids like more than Snoopy, it’s alcohol. The other mobile game repeatedly advertised throughout the game is Family Guy: Another Freakin' Mobile Game, a tile matching game all about mixing drinks. To help drive the message that celebratory times are better while drunk, the game advertises alcohol suppliers at the bottom of the screen as you play.
Bunny Pop advertises itself falsely, capitalising shamelessly on the “Pop” name. However, it is a great example of how to sell alcohol to impressionable youngsters when not reeling them in with microtransactions. Marketers take note: This is how you hook them while they’re young.
A note about our review scores: Normally we play and evaluate the almost innumerable technical and narrative elements of a game, trying to distill those factors into a final figure that represents the entirety of our thoughts and feelings on the title. We then look up the user average on Metacritic, crowdsourcing a much wider audience that may have insights or loves or grudges that in no way are related to the written portion of our review, and use that number as our final score. While Bunny Pop is a great example of gaming for children, given its attempts to convince the player to spend money and its promotion of alcohol to hook them at a young age, my resentment about having to enter Google Play, search for the game and download it has resulted in a slightly reduced score.