My Brother Rabbit Review
This past week I had the pleasure of playing the latest from developer Artifex Mundi, My Brother Rabbit. Artifex Mundi games follow a very particular formula – beautifully, hand-drawn areas where players must find hidden objects and solve puzzles to proceed. Generally, these games feature a fantasy, almost fairy-tale like, storyline. However, with My Brother Rabbit, the story takes a far more personal approach, featuring a touching story about a young girl who has become ill and her older brother who desperately wants to care for her. This is a game that will smack you right in the feels.
In My Brother Rabbit, a young girl has become ill and must endure the challenges that a child should never face. While the illness is never really said, it definitely seems like she is struck with some form of cancer. Her parents and older brother can do little beyond comforting her during this difficult time – and upon completing each level, we’re given a brief cutscene that takes us deeper into this hardship. The actual gameplay takes place in the imaginary world the young girl and her older brother has created. The young girl is portrayed as a sick flower, while her brother – the protagonist, is portrayed as her stuffed rabbit. Each level conveys a different stage of her illness, and the brother rabbit must solve puzzles to help his sister get better.
Point, Click, Repeat
The gameplay is essentially point and click – you never directly control the brother rabbit, but you must solve problems that are in his way. Each level usually has about a dozen or so obstacles, in the form of puzzles, that must be overcome. When you first approach a puzzle obstacle, you’re given a hidden object quest requiring you to find a specific amount of objects in order to even begin the puzzle. This might be finding a dozen butterflies or five flowers – there really isn’t any rhyme or reason to the objects or puzzles, as this is all played out in the kids’ imagination. These hidden objects are scattered around the various rooms that make up a level – usually no more than six or so rooms. Navigating between the rooms is easy enough that it never feels like a burden bouncing from room to room. Once you find the required hidden objects, you can then tackle the puzzle portion of the obstacle. There’s a fantastic amount of variety among the puzzles, and while some may be variations of puzzles you’ve seen in other games before, they’ve all been tweaked to fit within the context of this game. Once you’ve completed all the puzzles in a level, you’ll move to the next level. The game features five levels in total.
My Brother Rabbit is not a difficult game by any means. It might take you a bit of time to find the hidden objects – but the game does provide clues if you’re close to a hidden object. In the top-right hand corner of the screen are a series of windows of active hidden objects you need to find. If a window is in colour, you know that one of those hidden objects are in the current room. Otherwise, the windows are greyed out. Puzzles were generally pretty easy to complete – and you’re not penalized in any way if you make a mistake, you just keep working on the puzzle until you solve it. I can’t recall any puzzles that were particularly frustrating or overly boring – but some were pretty simple. There was a series of puzzles that were quite neat though – you would be given a blueprint and were required to assemble some sort of vehicle or device. The parts were all contained within that room – but often hidden fairly well. Each piece you assembled added a sound – almost like you were assembling an orchestra but with more of a Dr. Suess vibe than a classical symphony. While these puzzles weren’t too difficult either, I just loved the combination of sounds and visuals while putting together the creation.
My Brother Rabbit is a beautiful game. All the art, whether in-game or during cutscenes, are hand-drawn pieces of art with incredible amounts of detail. The cutscenes fade in and out like puffs of smoke, conveying a sort of frantic remembering of the tragic times. During the gameplay, the world has this wonderful blend of playful imagination combined with nasty looking realities like cancerous blobs, needles, and other harsh reminders of the illness. Each level had a different theme – such as the level featuring many clocks that appear melted, conveying the feeling of waiting, waiting, and more waiting for any kind of good news. Then there is the captivating soundtrack composed by Arkadiusz Reikowski, who is the man behind so many other brilliant game soundtracks such as >observer and Layers of Fear. The music conveys the sadness and despair you’d expect, but there’s also a hint of hope in there as well.
My Brother Rabbit is not a long game, it took me no more than five hours to finish – it really is dependant on how fast you find the hidden objects and solve the puzzles. Upon completing the game, you’ll be given a chapter select option – but beyond replaying the game, there isn’t much to do. No collectibles or time trials or anything like that. But if you’re looking for a game with some clever puzzles, an engaging story, beautiful visuals, and a touching soundtrack – you can’t go wrong with My Brother Rabbit. It’s the perfect type of game to waste away an afternoon. It’s also the type of game that I imagine you’ll probably be compelled to replay again sometime down the road. Even now, a few days after completing it, I think back on my time with it and consider giving it another playthrough. Well done, Artifex Mundi.
***My Brother Rabbit Switch key provided by publisher***
- Beautiful visuals
- Touching story
- Excellent soundtrack
- Some clever puzzles
- Very short game