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Bunnies bounce into mobile game by Salt Lake developer

Published July 17, 2013 9:05 am

Video game • "Tunnel Town" for iOS allows players to build underground lair for hares.
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Lovers of cute fuzzy bunnies might go crazy for a new iPhone and iPad game launching Thursday developed by a Salt Lake City video game company.

"Tunnel Town" is a 3-D world-building game whose "gameplay might be described as 'Minecraft' meets 'The Secret of NIMH'," said Clark Stacey, CEO of developer Smart Bomb Interactive, referring to a mash-up of the wildly popular computer game "Minecraft" and the popular children's book and movie about intelligent mice. "Starting with two rabbits, players can dig out chambers and tunnels underground in any configuration they can imagine."

The game will be available for free on Apple's iTunes App Store and is playable on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch (an Android version is "coming soon," Stacey said). It is the company's first game for mobile phones and tablets.

"Tunnel Town" uses the "free-to-play" model in which the game is free but players can spend real money to buy extra content in the game. The in-game currency, which is in the form of stars and gems, can be purchased for $1.99 to $49.99.

"Tunnel Town" is a mobile expansion of the company's popular computer game, "Animal Jam," which is played on an Internet browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. "Animal Jam" currently has more than 12 million registered users and is a free online game in which players interact with real-life animal experts and engage in mini-games.

In "Tunnel Town," the player builds an underground bunny world and can decorate it with toys and furniture. The bunnies also can reproduce by placing them on a dance floor.

"All of the furniture and playthings in this world are interactive," Stacey said. "For example, touch one of your bunnies to 'pick him up,' lift him onto a trampoline, then watch as he jumps and does somersaults. As your burrow expands, so does your inventory of activities for your growing colony."

Smart Bomb is the latest Utah video game studio to transition to developing games for popular mobile devices, part of an industry-wide shift from consoles.

Earlier this summer, Salt Lake City game maker Eat Sleep Play released its first mobile game, "Running with Friends," for the iPhone and iPad. EA Salt Lake, which designs games for consoles such as the Wii U, also released its first mobile game this summer, a new version of the classic Russian puzzle game, "Tetris," called "Tetris Blitz." That title is for iOS and Android mobile devices.

Salt Lake City-based Chair Entertainment, which made games for the Xbox 360 console, made the best-selling iOS games, "Infinity Blade" and "Infinity Blade II," both of which made more than $30 million in their first year of release, according to the company.


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