Developer: Reky Studios
Publisher: Reky Studios
Age Rating: N/A
Release Date: 19/10/21
A code was provided for review purposes
Like many others, gaming is the perfect form of escapism for me. Somewhere you can go to forget about real life and fully immerse yourself in a new world. But, it’s not all the time you want to be shooting bad guys, solving mind-bending puzzles or following an emotional narrative. Sometimes, you want something wholesome, and what could be more wholesome than a rabbit running its own greenhouse?
The premise of Bunhouse is a simple one; grow plants and flowers in your greenhouse, before selling them to buy more seeds, decorative items or gardening gear. However, growing plants without letting them die requires care and attention. Each plant has a sun and water rating out of three. One means the least sun or water, and three means the highest. When watering plants, you will see water symbols above the pot start to fill up. For example, a flower may require two symbols of water full to grow. But, be careful not to overwater, as this will kill the plant! Luckily, a handy hairdryer can solve this for you and decrease the water in the soil. Not sure this would work as well in real life but it does the trick here!
Subsequently, when you put a potted plant down you will see sun symbols appear. Inside the greenhouse are two suns, outside are three suns, and under a shaded area is one sun. Just like watering, having your plant receive the right amount of sun is crucial to its growth. At first, I was trying to plant too many things at once before checking what its requirements were. This led to me running around like a headless chicken moving pots around while some of my plants were dying.
Eventually, I learnt that it was best to focus on one seed at a time, planting it in the perfect position before moving on to the next. Keeping the soil fertile was another aspect to focus on too so that you could produce the best quality version of the plant, for the most ‘carrots’, the currency in Bunhouse. I wouldn’t say the game is particularly difficult, but it takes some trial and error to realise what’s best to do.
Accompanying your greenhouse gardening are some small but fun features. Using the carrots earned through selling plants, you can buy decorative items to personalise your greenhouse and the surrounding area. Change the colour of your greenhouse, add a koi pond or get plant pots to match your aesthetic. These are purely cosmetic, but other items allow you to get some more out of the game, such as the yoga mat. Adding nothing to your gardening skills, the yoga mat is purely for increasing cuteness levels. Why not go for a relaxing stretch while you wait for your seeds to bloom?
The more you play Bunhouse, the more you unlock too. This includes furniture, hats, features for the greenhouse or gardening, and one of my favourite items, the aquarium. Not only can you garden, but you can go fishing too! Take a stroll to the lake opposite and hop into a rowing boat to go fishing. Break records for the biggest fish or hold down space to send it to your aquarium. It’s nothing mindblowing, but it gives you something else to do and makes your experience more personalised. The aquarium also costs 1,000 carrots, so items like this give you an incentive to keep grinding.
The graphics in Bunhouse are not the best, and are quite blocky, but they get the job done, and I didn’t suffer from any performance issues. The bunnies look a little strange when doing the yoga positions or performing some of the emotes you can use, but this doesn’t affect the overall gameplay. Colours were natural and earthy, which suited the charm and theme of the game, and all plant species looked as they should. As a project by a solo developer, it’s still extremely impressive. I was surprised that you could explore a sizeable area around your greenhouse, from the surrounding woods to a road where the deliveries get dropped off. You are stopped from going further by an invisible wall though, and it would be fun to be able to visit other areas to expand on the world.
The only issue I had though was that the controls didn’t come very naturally to me. In fact, it took me a while to realise where the lake was as the camera had to be rotated which I didn’t know you could do. The camera rotation is bound to R and T, which I never would have guessed myself. I would recommend looking at the control scheme before getting into it to avoid the same mistake I made! The rest of the controls are easy to get the hang of once playing for a while, and there are some helpful shortcuts such as bringing up a pocket version of the plantpedia.
The music was very chill and relaxing too, with whimsical instrumentals accompanying your gardening session perfectly. The tracks were broken up by the sounds of birds tweeting in the woods, which was just as immersive. However, I would have liked the music to be a little more consistent; it would often stop fairly abruptly and leave you with just birds for while before randomly starting up again. I appreciated the contrast but I’m still unsure whether I liked it, as the music was such a joy to listen to. I did like the sound effects though, the noise of a plant growing being very helpful for knowing when to check back on them.
Let It Grow
I’ve held off completing my review of Bunhouse simply because the game has been updated over time and I wanted to give it a fair write up. I’ve enjoyed seeing the new features added over time, and it gives me hope that the game can keep getting better and better. There’s a lot of potential, such as with events like the recent Winter event blanketing everything in snow. The developer has been very quick on fixes too!
It’s an impressive game from a solo dev that started off as a Kickstarter project and is just the break from real life that you need. It’s not something you can spend hours at a time playing as there isn’t tonnes to do, and it’s certainly not perfect. However, it’s relaxing and wholesome, with a simple overall goal that is stress-free. Being able to play couch co-op too is a bonus, and though I played by myself, I can see it would be a lot quicker to progress with fellow buns. If you love plants, objective free gameplay and of course buns, you will not regret picking up Bunhouse!
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
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