Version Reviewed: 1.1.3
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Given the developer’s connection to National Geographic’s Animal Jam project, one might expect Tunnel Town’s rabbit lifestyle simulation to be vaguely educational. However, as soon as the rabbits start playing drums and sleeping in beds it’s easy to see their life isn’t a realistic one. Still, that doesn’t stop this from being a fun and quirky take on home building.
In a bizarre opening cartoon, players watch as a bunny secret agent gets zapped into an ordinary garden where he must make his new home. The change in appearance is jarring, especially since the stylish 2D intro looks a lot better than the plain 3D graphics of the game itself, but soon enough observing the burgeoning bunny abode becomes its own reward. At first the living area is confined to a small square at the top of the screen, but by marking connected squares on the flat map the bunnies will start burrowing through layers of dirt Dig Dug-style to expand their dwelling. Digging is hard work though, so to keep their rabbits energized players need to plant and ration crops. New crops take longer to grow but nourish more, and as they level up players earn more fields to plant on.
To turn bunny houses into bunny homes though, the game encourages players to fill the cleared space with furniture and more bunnies. It scratches that Animal Crossing itch. The achievement system gives out cash and experience when players buy certain items or breed certain bunnies. However, to really get spending players will want to scour the land for gems to mine. Telling bunnies to chip away at uncovered gems is the fastest way to gather income, and the way they use their ears as helicopters to fly onto them is an added adorable bonus. Each individual task in Tunnel Town may not particularly interesting, like squishing the occasional bugs, but the variety keeps players too busy to be bored. Steadily growing a bunny family is addictive and feels genuinely satisfying.
Like most life simulators, Tunnel Town can be a bit of a grind. But this is a grind with heart. If life as a rabbit is this much fun, no wonder they breed so quickly.