Developer: Artifex Mundi
Publisher: Artifex Mundi
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Adventure & Puzzle
Release Date: September 21, 2018 (EU & NA)
A Rabbit’s tale that is both beautiful and poignant.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when it comes to the Hidden Object Game genre, Artifex Mundi are the masters of it and games like My Brother Rabbit, are certainly proof of that.
Available now on PC, Mac and consoles (including Switch,) My Brother Rabbit is a beautifully hand-drawn Adventure game that certainly improves upon its genre, whilst telling a story that is just devastating. It’s a story of attempting to escape a harsh reality of a young girl who has fallen ill.
Her family is devastated and everyone, including medical professionals, are doing what they can to help the girl, but it’s just not looking good. So, faced with such a bleak reality facing them, the girl’s brother does the only thing he can, he relies on his imagination to create a wondrous fantasy for players to play through and for his family to use as a coping mechanism.
As far as this world goes, picture Alice in Wonderland mixed with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It’s whacky, surreal and lovely to its core. It’s also complemented with a painstakingly good soundtrack, but loveliness this world has, it is not without a nagging sadness that is felt throughout.
On top of the eye-catching graphics, there are two main characters and their presence is a reminder of the harsh world that the boy is trying to escape. One of the characters is a living version of the rabbit teddy bear that the girl carries around with her. The other reoccurring character is a female plant representing the girl and throughout My Brother Rabbit, the rabbit can be seen trying to save the plant. If it sounds touching, it’s because it is.
In terms of gameplay and game content, My Brother Rabbit is a game made up of 5 Lands, aka Chapters, which can be beaten within 1-3 hours depending on your skill with HOGs, but in order to move on to the next area, players must do everything that is required in the current land to move on.
Tasks can range from all kinds of things such as finding specific objects to activate puzzle-like mini-games involving cogs, a rotating maze and two balls that need to get to their own respective goals. Then there are the other kind of puzzles, where you will enter a room and need to grab the items littered all over the place and place them on the likes of a giant mechanical moose head, or a boat, whilst following the instructions available.
Being a HOG, there is plenty of back and forth action going on, as players will need to navigate various single-screen areas within their current land and when instructed to, scour all screens for a very specific kind of item. (Pearls, cogs, lad bugs, stamps, balloons, flowers and the like.)
When not yet told to collect certain items, although you will be able to see them, you will not be able to collect them, but if it moves, there is every chance you will need to collect it soon enough, so be sure to make a mental note of it if you can, because there’s nothing worse than having one more item to get and have it be staring you in the face, without you realising it until much later.
As for how to select items and move, you can forget about touch-screen controls as My Brother Rabbit doesn’t support them, but you can use the D-pad to skip directly to the next screen, should it be available to you and use the left analog stick to move the cursor, with the right analog stick being used for more precise cursor movement.
When hovering over something you can interact with, simply press A. For instructions, press Y (available during the mini-games/puzzles) and then there’s B for Back and Close, and + for accessing the pause menu. ZR and ZL can also be used for hints, only these hints aren’t your regular kind of hints that will show you where to go and what to do, as these ones only seem to remind you of what you’re supposed to be collecting.
In terms of difficulty, My Brother Rabbit is not a challenging game per se, but it does help to have good observation skills if you plan on playing Artifex Mundi’s latest offering. But, regardless of how long it takes you to traverse the game’s five lands, upon beating the game, you will have the option of revisiting the lands, by playing through their associated Chapter.
Doing so isn’t something Switch owners will have to worry about, but with other versions of the game having achievements, replaying the chapters is a good way to go about fully completing it. But, just because you can’t achieve anything on Switch, it doesn’t mean you should move on to another game straight away, not when you can take in the sights one or two more times, whilst the puzzles are still fresh in your mind.
I’ll be real with you, My Brother Rabbit is a gut-wrenching tale. It is absolutely brilliant as far as its visuals, soundtrack and story-telling go, but it is also very emotional and disheartening. For lovers of a good story and Hidden Object Games, I’d recommend it to all of you, but don’t go expecting to have a joyous journey through an Alice in Wonderland-like setting, My Brother Rabbit will make you feel things you might not want to and stir any feelings you might have of when one of your loved ones, was enduring a serious illness of their own.
THE VERDICT: 8/10
*Review Key Provided by Artifex Mundi
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This post was written by Solid Jack