My Brother Rabbit review for Switch

Game: My Brother Rabbit
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Artifex Mundi
Publisher: Artifex Mundi
Age Rating: 3+ (UK & EU) | E (US)
Price: £13.49 | €14,99| $14.99
Release Date: 21 September 2018
(The game is also available on Steam, PS4 and Xbox One)

Overall Feeling: I like it a lot!

Review Code kindly provided by Artifex Mundi

My Brother Rabbit is a point and click adventure set in a world that has sprung from the imagination of a child. A little boy who desperately wants to help his sick little sister escape reality by dreaming up another world for her. In this other world that is colourful, beautiful and sometime weird, a little rabbit wants to nurse his friend the flower back to health after she has fallen ill too. And for this the rabbit must use his wits to decipher puzzles.

Taking Point and Click a step forward

Point and click games (also called hidden object games) have been around for a long time, and they tend to blend in well with other genres. Like a combination of point and click/ visual novel or point and click/mystery game. My Brother Rabbit is a point and click/ puzzle game: it’s not just about finding hidden objects on screen, you also have to use your grey cells to figure out how to combine things.

I reviewed Persian Nights: Sands of Wonders from the same publisher a while ago (review here) and liked it. It was one of the first point and click games I played, and I was surprised at the fun I was having. So I was eager to review My Brother Rabbit too. The first thing that I noticed is that this game seems to use a different format. No longer a pure hidden object game but, in my opinion, a step forward in the development of point and click adventures. The gameplay is smooth and flows seamlessly. The characters are very detailed and lovely, the puzzles are great and sometimes really challenging.

My Brother Rabbit takes you on a journey of a family who finds out their little girl is very ill. Not that it’s the intention to make the game into a heavy drama or be melodramatic: you view the emotions involved through the eyes of a toy rabbit. The slightly older brother of the girl helps his sister deal with the frightening and threatening environments of hospitals and treatments by creating an imaginary world.

Finding and combining

You enter a cartoony world where the rabbit tries to help his friend the flower bud, crushed by falling fruit. He has to transport her to get help, from one surreal place to the next. On every “level” there are a three or four screens to your disposal to find all the items you need. Several puzzles are presented, all of them can only be solved if you find the required number of for instance butterflies, elastic bands or balloons.

Not all items are apparent immediately. Some are only revealed once you have solved another puzzle. The same goes for the puzzles: not all are solvable immediately. Some present themselves after you have solved another one. Going from one screen to the next is needed several times. This is all the exploring you are allowed to do. You can’t wander freely through the game, which is fine by me. I think it would otherwise have been too challenging. You see, it’s not just two or three items to find, there are many!

Just combining one item with another isn’t all that is required. At times some thinking is needed. For instance, in the first puzzle the Rabbit wants to leave his underground chamber, but he needs some rungs for his ladder. Some you find easily, another has to be made by putting a log into a machine that makes it into the rung you need.

I’ve included the first of the gameplay, that should give you some idea.

Handheld mode in the Switch is perfect for the game. I did notice though that placing the search-circle just right is sometimes fiddly. A good thing that the pointing is precise, it’s no fun if just clicking randomly on the screen gives the same results. But getting the circle placed just right to get results you’re after using the thumb-stick isn’t always easy.

Feeling the distress

The gist of the story is a sad one, and will resonate with every parent. You can so easily imagine the sadness, and the game evokes these sentiments with the way My Brother Rabbit is presented graphicaly. The cut scenes in real life are painted in sombre watercolor tones, the surreal world of the Rabbit is drawn in cheerful colors.

It’s the little details that matter. In the Rabbits world there is no sterile white impersonal computer showing the health of the patient with little graphs and blips. No, little colored feathers draw the health chart of the patient. 

The soundtrack, made by Arkadiusz Reikowski and Emi Evans fits the theme perfectly. It sets the mood: you’ll know when threats are coming. All of this is served to you without any text or voice acting. Everything you have to do is made clear by drawings like a child would make. 

The game is not long. I saw the end credits role after 6 hours. I’ve seen comments online of being able to finish it after 2 or 3 hours. I can’t help but wonder how people do that? Sure, if you’ve played it once and are going for another run, then 3 hours may be doable. However, playing it for the first time and not being overly familiar with these kind of puzzle really takes longer. I think they have found a good balance between the variety and number of puzzles, the difficulty and the length of the game. Too long might have led to the feeling of yet another puzzle, this was perfect.

Conclusion

My Brother Rabbit is a wonderful point and click adventure that is well suited for gaming on the go. The story is an emotional one but is portrayed exactly as it should be: not overly sentimental and without any clichés. Not a long game, but on the other hand, one that didn’t overstay its welcome either.

I like the game a lot, I had fun making the puzzles and anticipated to what crazy scenery the game would take me next. It’s not overly difficult, but instead a relaxing journey that kept me involved to the end.

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