Pâquerette Down The Bunburrows Review – Cutesy Cottontail Capers In Crazy Coney Chambers

Pâquerette Down the Bunburrows, developed by the appropriately-named Bunstack and produced by Abiding Bridge and stars the titular Pâquerette (which means Daisy, explaining the flower in her hair) who absolutely adores bunnies. Monomaniacally so. Pâquerette runs a bunny pet store. 

One day she finds a rabbit outside of her store, and chases it back to its burrow, where she finds an entire host of bunnies that she must, in her zeal, capture and care for. But obviously things are not so simple as the bunnies do not want to be caught, so Pâquerette must outmaneuver the predictable rabbits and lead them into dead ends, or her own traps, to catch the bunnies and return them to her massive bunny pen, overseen by her good friend and mad scientist Ophéline. This all seems incredibly straightforward, and it is. Bunburrows is here for a purpose and that purpose is cute bunny catching puzzles.

To catch a bun you must corner a bun
To catch a bun you must corner a bun

Of course, the purpose is simple but the actual catching is not. Paquerette and the bunnies she tries to catch (one bunny per level, except in the case of the meta mechanic we’ll discuss later) both move on a grid. Bunnies only move if Pâquerette moves, and will usually move one space if she moves one space, but they can move multiple spaces in certain corridors. Bunnies will always run directly away from Pâquerette unless they cannot, and will choose to take a left turn over a right one unless they see a trap or obvious dead end. If a bunny is herded into a space it cannot move from, like into a non-obvious dead end at the end of a corridor or into a trap, Pâquerette can move onto their space and capture them.

While the levels start out very simple, Pâquerette Down the Bunburrows adds complexity to them at a quick, but reasonable, pace, not just creating more elaborate layouts to rooms, but also adding new elements into rooms, like bunny-only tunnels that rabbits can escape down, some of which lead to areas the bunnies will not return from. Luckily, you are not unarmed in your bunny catching endeavors. You begin Pâquerette Down the Bunburrows with the power to rewind yourself and the bunny, or to restart the level entirely. You are also armed, in specific levels, with a combination of traps (which can set to catch a bunny or to override its regular pathfinding as it tries to avoid going towards the cage. You can also pick the cage back up), uses of a pickaxe and shovel (which you can use to add or remove walls in a level, thus giving the bunny new paths to travel and changing its reactions), and carrots (which lure bunnies). You must use these items as well as your wits to discover how to trick your bunny into a cage, a corner, or, in the case of meta objectives, down a hole further into the burrows.

If two bunnies meet on a level and "stack" it makes a baby. You can make lots of bunnies meet.
If two bunnies meet on a level and “stack” it makes a baby. You can make lots of bunnies meet.

So, to stop spinning my wheels, there are far more bunnies in Pâquerette Down the Bunburrows than the simple count of each burrow might let on, and the game hints at this very early on, by forcing you to to send a bunny down a hole in the first burrow and make it form a stack with another bun, allowing you to catch a baby bunny as well as the initial two rabbits. These additional baby bunnies are a giant source of extra bunnies, and require extremely clever use of positioning and tools to move bunnies from their initial room into rooms deeper and deeper into the burrows. It also requires you to repeatedly release and re-catch bunnies as each bunny can theoretically stack with numerous other bunnies in other rooms in the burrows. Plus there’s a mechanic called “home clears” which also adds to the completion percentage and which requires a bunny to be caught on its home level of a burrow with no other bunnies on the level. This is extremely simple for most bunnies but is devilishly complicated for some others. I have barely scratched the depths of what Pâquerette Down the Bunburrows has on offer and I am delighted by that fact.

Speaking of delightful, the art style. It’s a very simple, retro inspired- I would say original Gameboy aesthetic, perhaps- but very clean and instantly clear at a glance. The two characters, Pâquerette AND Ophéline are amusing, Pâquerette in her single-minded pursuit of bunnies and Ophéline’s exasperated responses to are quite charming. As an example, after the water burrow, Ophéline wonders how Pâquerette got on while catching rabbits underwater, to which Pâquerette responds she simply held her breath the entire time. Never mind that you might spend ten minutes or more in a level (or how the rabbits survived), Pâquerette simply will not be stopped in her pursuit of bunnies. The retro tunes and sound effects are also quite pleasant and appropriate, though I found the audio balance just a bit too high when I turned the game on at first. A quick trip to settings solved that though.

Pâquerette's cheerful simplicity and Opheline's snark make for amusing dialogue.
Pâquerette’s cheerful simplicity and Opheline’s snark make for amusing dialogue.

Speaking of options, there are a host of them, which is most very welcome. In addition to the audio settings, there are options to rebind the keyboard and gamepad inputs with both primary and alternate inputs for both, an input repeat delay setting, which is a very nice setting for accessibility, plus options to speed up or slow the movements of Pâquerette and the bunnies individually, and for how to display the game grid, which are also very welcome options. There’s also an FPS option, which might seem odd, but it’s there since Pâquerette Down the Bunburrows has such low system requirements it can actually run at theoretically thousands of FPS on modern PCs and the FPS option is a limiter to keep your computer from needlessly overworking itself. There are even graphics settings, which are limited to whether or not you want the game to be fullscreen or windowed, and if windowed, at what size. Not for people with 4K and up screens, you can’t select the screen resolution until you are off of full screen mode and the game starts out at the tiniest resolution initially. There are even language settings if you want to switch things up, though currently the languages are limited to just English, French, Japanese and Chinese.

Even if you don’t want to commit to collecting all the baby bunnies, a simple clear of Pâquerette Down the Bunburrows‘ burrows is more than worth the game’s modest 12 dollar price tag, especially as it is perfect for pick and and put down gameplay, saving automatically at the start of each level. If you like top down movement-based puzzles and if you enjoyed Baba is You on any level, pick up Pâquerette Down the Bunburrows.

Tim reviewed Pâquerette Down the Bunburrows on PC with a review code.

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