I bet Shigsy was really chuffed when he came up with Mario's magic water pack in Sunshine. You can imagine him cracking open a Stella and chucking a bundle of crisp yen on the fire, safe in the knowledge he'd set the benchmark for platformers for the next five years. Trouble is, he got it wrong! Hoses aren't the future; rabbits on chains is where it's at - a point proved by Whiplash, a platformer that breaks new ground in bunny use.
The rabbit in question is Redmond, who's chained up to a weasel called Spanx. Both are guests of Genron, an evil corporation that specialises in testing stuff on animals for no particular reason - but mainly because they don't like them. Reluctant to be fused together in some genetic blender, Spanx and Redmond decide to make a break for it and it's on their journey through the Genron facilities that we join them.
The game works like this: we're in control of Spanx, the larger of the two, who drags Redmod behind him. Spanx also uses Redmond as a weapon, grappling hook and an improvised helicopter and it's this unique 'chain' mechanic that's the game's main hook as it provides even the most mundane actions with a perky twisted humour.
There really is no doubt that, from the cutscenes to the bunny-swinging slant, Whiplash is hugely entertaining. The only question mark over it is the level design, where the neatly worked puzzles are spread quite frugally over big dollops of smashing stuff up with a rabbit. Definitely one to watch out for though, partly because Crystal Dynamics are doing the next Tomb Raider. We could just see Lara taking the Redmond role.
Whiplash is released for PS2 and Xbox on 27 February