My Brother Rabbit (Switch eShop) Review
My Brother Rabbit is an emotionally rough game. Drawn pictures tell the story of a family; the young daughter is very sick and her brother is doing his best to be there for her as he imagines a surreal world. The bulk of the game takes place in this fantastic world, where he represents the sister’s fluffy bunny (in the real world it is a plush bunny she keeps with her). Brother Rabbit is determined to look after and save his wilting little sister almost in the form of a plant/flower.
The gameplay is a combination of an adventure/point and click game, a puzzler, and a hidden object game. Each stop along the journey has you exploring several areas, finding puzzles that need objects to solve. This opens up more of the area, and ultimately allows you to build a device that will help you move on.
The story it tells is heartbreaking as it moves forward. Given the subject matter you can’t help but have a sense of dread throughout. I guess that comes from a position of seeing people in a similar situation, as opposed to the view of a young boy who just wants to be there for his sick sister. But it’s not all grim; the world which Brother Rabbit inhabits is a colourful one filled with strange contraptions, creatures and landscapes that capture surrealism art really well.
Using this imaginary world, it finds ways to draw many parallels to what’s happening in their real world. While the colourful world is there to cheer up his sister, they can never truly escape some of the realities. But throughout the game there is hope, all is not lost. While other games have tackled similar narratives, My Brother Rabbit handles it really well. Even if it can feel at odds with the not-so-challenging gameplay.
Most of the game involves rummaging around the scenes to find a certain number of objects hidden around the lands within the kid’s imagination. This is done by physical controls, even in handheld, which felt like a missed opportunity. This is the kind of game you’d be tapping all over a phone screen for. When you come across an obstacle or locked area, you’ll be given a new set of items to collect, such as butterflies, beetles or contraption parts.
Some items are in plain sight, only blending in with all the scenery. Some you will need to open a door or hatch or something similar. When finding these ones, you are reduced to clicking on every possible bit of space like an old fashioned ‘pixel hunt’. The whole process is made more frustrating as you’ll often come across other items in similar places, and you know you’ll be backtracking through there when you have a new puzzle to solve requiring all those objects left along the way. The bulk of the 5+ hours is this hidden object hunting, which is hopefully good news for fans of that genre (I also don’t mind it in when it’s kept interesting). To get to the puzzles you are going to be doing a lot of clicking first.
Eventually you’ll collect enough items to solve one of the puzzles, which is also likely to he holding an item or two you need to unlock another puzzle. Hidden object games aren’t necessarily going to interest everyone. What I struggled with was that it wasn’t looking for a variety of objects, just a number of the same things. Doing this over and over sucked any real fun out of it. Usually the last one or two objects to find were tucked away and often missed because the cursor wasn’t on it ‘just right’. This led me to going through every area methodically, to scour it until they were found. While I don’t believe there needs to be a hint system giving away where objects are tucked away, it would at least help to know I’m on the right screen looking for the last one.
While each section of the game isn’t overly large, mostly taking place in five or so different screens, backtracking still became a chore. It wore me down the most when I was only missing one or two items, and I was stuck going between each area to have another go at clicking everything to find them. Honestly it’s great that developer Artifex Mundi is able to tell a story like this, it is such a delicate and personal subject. At the same time sticking to the style of game they are known for, hidden objects and puzzles. It often looked like it could’ve been a point and click adventure game too, even if they kept the same puzzles.
While people with colour blindness might be used to this kind of thing with puzzle games, My Brother Rabbit does not have any colour blind modes. There are a fair few puzzles that rely on colour in the game, so be aware that it might be inaccessible in places.
My Brother Rabbit successfully tells a story about a loved one suffering from a potentially deadly illness. Its subject matter is inherently emotional, and manages to do so without being overly heavy handed. Hidden object and puzzle players will find something familiar with the gameplay. My Brother Rabbit’s story is interesting enough that you should give this a try regardless.
Rating: 4 / 5
- Heart wrenching yet hopeful story
- Colourful and imaginative world
- Nice variety of puzzles
- Hidden object portion quickly becomes unfun
- Not colourblind friendly