There’s been a surge of point-and-click puzzle games this gen, thanks especially to the constant porting and efforts from genre-masters, Artifex Mundi. Thanks to Artifex, fans of the formula have been able to take on undead pirates in Nightmares from the Deep, dabble in magic through Lost Grimoires, and even soak up an adventure inspired by Slavic mythology via Eventide. Safe to say, Artifex is no stranger to the concept and diversity is key to their portfolio. This time, however, they’re releasing a much more personal game with My Brother Rabbit.
The premise of My Brother Rabbit sees a loving family discovering that their daughter has fallen quite ill. The prognosis of the girl’s illness is kept from the player, but through the use of some wonderful artwork, it’s relayed that her condition is both seemingly painful and serious. Whilst her parent’s motivations consist of seeking out treatment, her older brother, on the other hand, aims to take his little sister’s mind off her pain through the use of their combined imagination.
This creates a dual story. On one hand we have the outside world, which depicts the harsh reality of the girl’s affliction, whereas on the other hand, we have the children’s fantastical imaginations. The bulk of the game sits within the latter, a world that’s been created by the children’s thoughts, one that’s filled with charm, wonder and life. This takes place across five distinctly different lands, packed with imaginative creatures and whimsical scenarios. Player’s take on the role of the titular rabbit, one that’s tasked with help a seedling recover from an illness.
It’s very meta indeed, but it works well in the game’s favor. Clearly, the rabbit represents the brother, whereas the frail seedling represents the sister. There’s no dialogue in My Brother Rabbit whatsoever, with the story and any interaction being played out via gestures or beautifully drawn artwork, again, it suits the theme of the game incredibly well. I’ll not spoil the story for you, as this is really something that you need to witness first hand. What I will say, however, is that the game is heart warming and says a lot without ever opening its proverbial lips.
With this being a point-and-click game, you can expect a lot of backtracking and screen transitioning. Though, unlike much of Artifex’s previous work, My Brother Rabbit encompasses short and compact areas rather than areas that cover masses of land. In order to move through each of the game’s key areas, players will need to solve a wide range of engaging puzzles along the way. The variation of puzzles is what really sells this game, though I do wish they were a bit more challenging. Having played many of Artifex’s titles, I was surprised to see such bare puzzle design.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a few puzzles in here that had me scratching my head for minutes on end, but nothing that I would consider truly testing. Still, that’s the only downside here. Everything else in My Brother Rabbit is welcoming and sensational. The functionality of the puzzles largely rely on what we typically see from any given point-and-click adventure; be it hidden objects, item fetching, jig-saws, measurement puzzles and so forth. Each and every puzzle-type that you’re used to seeing in games of this standing will be articulately present here.
Generally speaking, your time in this game is constantly subject to a puzzle of some form. Hell, even when you’re not solving a static and specific puzzle, you’ll be searching your immediate surroundings for items needed to grant you access to another area or puzzle. The pacing is really well laid out in this regard, never really feeling like a chore throughout. Despite the lack of puzzle difficulty, I do have to commend the game’s level design. There isn’t a single screen nor single puzzle that I wasn’t impressed with here, from a mechanical point of view, that is.
My Brother Rabbit has some fantastic and gorgeous environments to explore and soak up. It helps, of course, that each area rests on a distinct theme, ensuring that any sense of repetition is kept at bay. The same can be said about the game’s wonderful soundtrack and audio design, which goes hand in glove to set the mood of My Brother Rabbit well. When all is said and done, this may not be the most challenging of point-and-click games, but it’s certainly high up there as far as uniqueness, quality and involvement is concerned. If you enjoy the format, don’t pass this by.
My Brother Rabbit’s dual story offers a charming, warm and somewhat emotional adventure. Special mention goes to the game’s gorgeously drawn artwork, together with its wonderful soundtrack. It’s easily the most distinct point-and-click game that we’ve seen from Artifex Mundi so far, and despite its lack of difficulty, it’s a journey worth taking, one that’s filled with character and splendor throughout.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.