I got buns, hun
One of the worst parts of being sick or burned out is how hard it is to perform normal tasks and functions. I’ve been really feeling it this past week; normally — after coming home from a long day at work — playing video games sustains me, but after catching what’s been going around, I simply haven’t had the mental capacity to do much except chill in bed, unable to continue attempts on vanquishing my backlog.
Still, I wanted something to pass the time, just nothing that would spike my blood pressure or make me think too hard. Something easy that was still fresh and fun. So, y’know… Bunny Park.
Developed and published by solo indie dev Éloïse Laroche (of Alchemy Story fame), Bunny Park, available on Steam, is a ridiculously adorable park management sim focused on caring for bunnies and restoring a peaceful, bucolic garden. Players start off with a small plot of land and a single bunny with the goal of expansion and restoration to make it a veritable bunny paradise aiming to attract even more bunnies. The bunnies themselves are quite helpful in this regard, as their constant digging yields coins to be used to purchase veggies, flowers, butterflies, decorations, and more land. How many bunnies will make their home in your Garden of Eatin’?
Controls in Bunny Park are easy enough, and on-screen menus pop up at appropriate times to ensure you never forget them. Players will predominately be using the mouse and its buttons, scroll wheel, and the Q+E buttons to look around, move, and interact with bunnies and objects. There are more controls when placing objects, but they really only amount to cancelling and the like. It’s all very simple, very chill, which helps foster peaceful feelings.
Of course, the best ingredient in a park full of bunnies is, in fact, the bunnies, and this is where Bunny Park taps into another aggressively charming game, Viva Pinata. You see, the park has to have the correct items to entice said bunnies to come live in the garden; some bunnies prefer pumpkins while others prefer flowers. Each exceedingly lovable bunny has a cute lil name, like Cupcake or Cookie, and they all have their own delightful personalities. There’s something for every bunny, and ensuring your park has a little bit of everything is bound to make the buns come running. Can you collect all 25? Because I couldn’t 🙁
As far as actual gameplay in Bunny Park is concerned, there really isn’t much aside from decorating and expanding your garden — at first, you’ll need to click around to gather coins and get rid of self-populating weeds and logs, but after saving up enough coins you can purchase butterfly bots to collect coins and take out the trash for you. There are even bots that will pet the bunnies for you if you can’t be bothered (note: I highly recommend still petting the bunnies for the greatest possible satisfaction).
After buying up a few butterfly bots, I let the game run on auto-pilot to collect enough coins, then purchased land and decor en masse to attract more bunnies. It felt passive, but I wouldn’t consider that a drawback; instead, I say this to let players know what they’re getting into. Idle PC games are definitely welcome at the table — Cookie Clicker dominates one of my two work monitors — and Bunny Park strikes a fine balance between idle and sandbox. If you want to just let the game run by itself while you casually check up on your bun-bun gains, that’s totally fine; if you want to dump hours into setting up a literal bunny haven, that’s perfectly fine too! There’s a spectrum of possibilities in Bunny Park, and it’s nice to see multiple types of play styles encouraged here.
One thing I really appreciated about the decorating aspect in Bunny Park was how items could be placed on a diagonal plane. A lot of decorating games only let you rotate items in four possible directions (looking at you, Animal Crossing), so having eight possible ways to place items opened up a world of decorating options I didn’t realize were even possible. It’s such a small detail that ends up becoming a massive boon in terms of personalization, and I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to be able to explore what felt like an entirely new dimension.
Spending a weekend sick in bed was made less unpleasant with Bunny Park running casually in the background. The quaint music set a cheerful tone, and petting my sweet lil bunnies definitely put a smile on my face. It was nice to pursue goals simply, like trying to collect all the bunnies, without feeling rushed or obligated to go about it a certain way. A sweet, relaxing experience, I highly recommend Bunny Park to anyone who enjoys tending and befriending adorable creatures or who just needs a breather before getting into the next big game.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: PC (reviewed); Publisher: Éloïse Laroche; Developer: Éloïse Laroche; Players: 1; Released: January 14, 2020; MSRP: $4.99
Editor’s note: This review is based on a copy of Bunny Park given to HeyPoorPlayer by the developer.