At first glance, Fluffy Horde appears to be a tactical game or a variation on the tower defense genre. Once you scratch beneath the surface, you find a core of fun puzzle solving. A medieval kingdom has become completely overwhelmed by bunnies, you use military units to defend and fight off the horde. This is wrapped up in some attempts to add humor and fun to the world, attempts that fall flat.
Fluffy Horde isn’t tactical in the solution to most of its levels. The tower defense aspect is there, but it’s largely background. Instead, these aspects are used to solve puzzles. In each level, you try to find the right combination of units and positions to progress. Often the goal is to kill all of the invading bunnies, but more often that is a means to an end. Figuring out the solution to a level has more in common with working out a puzzle than tactically defending a tower. The game boasts a fair amount of voice acting. Fluffy Horde relies on its sense of humor to keep you interested in these mechanics. While this is occasionally fun, it’s more often obnoxious or annoying.
Why Can’t the Princess Die?
You spend the majority of your time in Fluffy Horde slaughtering bunny assaults. However, often this is just a hazard or distraction. Levels with different goals include moving a princess to the other side of the map. These escort levels often give the most space for creative use of the mechanics. In some it’s possible to make a mad dash, attempting to move the princess to the goal before bunnies catch up with her or breed to a game-ending number.
These levels offer an entirely different type of experience to the tactical game promised. Instead, you use the various mechanics in Fluffy Horde to control the flow of enemies, like drawbridges and portals. Controlling the flow will let you complete the puzzle quicker without actually bothering to kill them. These levels are also a perfect example of Fluffy Horde’s grating writing.
In the level with the princess’s first appearance, a guard for no particular reason finishes his explanation of the purpose of the princess by saying “twerking.” So the guard is twerking at the end of the sentence? Why? Is the joke literally just the word twerking? The princess herself is an outdated comedy cliché, she speaks in a bad ‘Valley Girl’ voice and makes ‘hilarious’ teenage comments about being bored while checking her phone. It’s really cutting satire.
More Interesting Than Tower Defense
Fluffy Horde’s puzzles are creatively devised and warrant a lot more attention than killing bunnies as a maintenance task. In some levels, you have control over portals on the stage. Bunnies enter from a raincloud above one side of the portal, then are fired out the other. Wind turbines can throw the airborne creatures around. Catapults and levers introduce fun with physics to your game. You can play pinball with a group of bunnies by opening and closing drawbridges, sending them flying about the level. This doesn’t kill them but it gets them off the ground long enough for a cow to make it’s way over to a flower. This sort of gameplay is the actual star of Fluffy Horde.
Each level comes with three challenges that give you a hint about the puzzle. Most are based on time limits, or defending units or buildings from damage. Some provide different challenges, like finishing the level using only three swordsmen units. You’re then free to play with this arbitrary limit. Redoing the challenge a few times to find the solution that works with those limits. It’s an extra puzzle, this multi-layered approach will keep you busy.
You don’t have to peruse any of this. You can probably hash out a solution to each puzzle by using brute force if you want. Typically, once you’ve ensured a good flow of currency you won’t be hampered by time or units. You can brute force your way through most puzzles this way if you want, but the tactical gameplay is shallow in that respect. You won’t find the kind of tactical depth you’d get from more straight-forward tactical games. It’s really only present in Fluffy Horde to facilitate the more fun puzzle solving aspects.
Fluffy Horde is Full Of Tired Jokes
These fun and polished puzzles are wrapped up in an unattractive package. It’s music and sound effects are fine if nothing special. Nothing offensive there. It’s visual style, while a little dull, is perfectly pleasant pixel art. No one will complain about that. It’s the personality of the game that becomes incredibly tiring.
Fluffy Horde’s attempt at Douglas Adams like humor falls flat more often than it hits home. Characters will point out that they have no idea how the bizarre situation of invading bunnies happened. This is played for laughs, over and over and over again. Repeatedly, the same joke is made. The joke is the premise of the game and it’s not very funny, but your head will be banged against it. Over and over again.
A bad joke becomes grating when you hear it 6 times per level. It’s probably best to play the game with these turned off, or some other music playing. Humour is subjective, and there will be people who find the comedy in Fluffy Horde funny rather than overplayed. However, repetition will surely become a factor. One or two basic jokes reiterated over and over again will push even the strongest admiration for Fluffy Horde to breaking point. If you’re one of the few people over 13 who find ending sentences with the word Twerking to be comedy gold, how many times will it make you smile?
- Fun puzzle solving
- Creative and Varied Level Design
- Bad and Repetitive Jokes
- Shallow Tactical and Tower Defense Absence
Fluffy Horde isn’t an interesting tactical game or a fun tower defense game. It is a fantastic puzzler. It creatively uses these genres to make physics and time-based puzzles. Where it lets itself down is the attempt to give the game a personality. It’s obnoxious and unfunny to anyone who has developed past puberty. It’s a shame because otherwise, the title is a lot of fun. With the sound off and captions ignored, Fluffy Horde considerably improves.