Bunhouse creeps me out a little, but it isn't Bunhouse's fault. It's the fault of all those self-referential games like Frog Fractions that are cute on the surface but actually turn out to be meta-horror games or ARGs that go on for years. In Bunhouse, I can't help but wonder if it only seems like I'm a floppy-eared bunny growing Monstera plants in my bunny greenhouse. Maybe the real Monstera is hiding behind my big bunny eyes...
Or, maybe Bunhouse is just a cute game about bunnies running a greenhouse. That's what was pitched on Kickstarter and what's getting joyful Steam user reviews from the people who funded it on Kickstarter.
"Sometimes we just need to take a breather and relax in a happy little world filled with bunnies," writes creator Patrick Gauthier, who makes games under the label Reky Games. "There is nothing to kill, no one to be better than, no quests or debt to pay off..."
Or is there? No, no, there definitely isn't any of that. Well, you can catch fish, and the ethics of sport fishing (bunnies don't eat fish, as far as I know) is debatable, especially in a world of anthropomorphized bunnies, where one could assume that fish are also humanlike. Just in case, I threw back the one fish I caught. My bunny is not a murderer.
Otherwise, Bunhouse transgresses transgressive indie games (Undertale, Pony Island, etc) by actually being what it purports to be. There's no 'just kidding, it's actually some creepypasta thing teenagers made up on a forum' twist here, just bunnies being bunnies who happen to own and operate a houseplant nursery, the sort that would supply apartment-dwelling millennials with ferns they bought on an app. (There are studies about the benefits of owning plants, OK? Leave us alone.)
But I still can't shake the feeling that something is off. The plant-growing is simple: Fill a pot with dirt, drop a seed in, and water it until it reaches the correct moisture level for the plant. Wait a bit, and you have a plant that you can sell. Order more seeds to plant more. It's boring, but there's nothing odd about it. Leave the greenhouse, however, and things get a little weirder.
Here are a few questions that came to me while exploring Bunhouse:
Why are there golden mushrooms in the woods?
Why does it look like all the Kickstarter backers are buried in a graveyard?
How come the bunnies grow houseplants and sell them for carrots, which they use as currency, instead of just growing carrots and eating them?
(To be fair, I guess I should allow the bunnies to have a complex economy that includes cash crops.)
Why is there a tree stump that asks me for secret codes? What are the codes?
Packages from the delivery truck are dropped off by a pair of birds, but we don't see who's driving the truck. Is a bird driving the truck?
Probably not, because while the birds are extremely strong (they can lift a pallet's worth of gardening supplies while flying), the truck is clearly not designed for a small bird body. Something else is in the truck. What is it?
I don't have the answers to these questions—and I still don't know whether it's OK for bunnies to catch fish—but I do know that Bunhouse allows you to customize your bunny's ears (upright, lop, lionhead, dwarf) and hop around with your bunny friends (local co-op only, but it supports Steam's Remote Play Together feature), growing bunny plants and doing bunny yoga, and I love bunnies, so I am all for all of those things.
Maybe think about how much you love bunnies before dropping $20 on Bunhouse, though. Once I was satisfied that there truly wasn't anything sinister hidden beneath the greenhouse or backer graveyard, the bunny plant business couldn't hold my attention for much longer. It's a cute project to play with for an hour and, for what it's worth, the Kickstarter backers seem to have gotten what they wanted, but I'd still recommend Stardew Valley if you want to get your brain stuck in a pretend farm, even if it doesn't have bunny yoga. (A serious error.)