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About the Story
You're a regular rabbit who's lived in the same warren your entire life. You have no reason to leave, but the THUD threatens to destroy all the baby kittens. Maybe something in the ancient places of the Ürs could help.
Nominee, Best Use of Multimedia - 2018 XYZZY Awards
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Number of Reviews: 6
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In Ürs you play as a rabbit whose warren is threatened by ominous THUDs, and you have to figure out how to save it. After a while you realize that the setting isn't quite what it appears to be at first. It turns out that (Spoiler - click to show)the THUDs are meteorites hitting the shell protecting the large space rock (small moon?) that the warren is located in. You have to uncover some secrets of the ancient rabbits, increase the strength of the shell, and move the large space rock so that it is orbiting a different celestial body in order to save the warren. (I think that's right. Somehow the ancient rabbits must have built an engine of some sort into the rock itself.)
The art in this game is great - like the cover, with its strong hint of rabbity-ness.
The plot feels right within the mainstream of science fiction plots - uncover secret knowledge that no one else has dared to find and save your world, but the rabbit protagonist and the art give it some freshness.
One interesting feature of Ürs that I've seen in the Geronimo Stilton series of books that my kids read is that the fonts of certain words are changed - in the middle of a sentence - to augment their meaning or effect. For example, the THUDs actually go "THUD!". I think this effect works well most of the time. The one place I'm not sure about is the dialog that's rotating or moving while changing colors. That's unfortunately a bit hard to read.
Ürs has a rather impressive set of influences. The authors list Watership Down, City of Ember, Skyrim, Caves of Qud, Super Mario Brothers, and Apocalypse Now. I confess that I don't see how most of these fit the game (Watership Down is obvious - the rest less so). Maybe it's not an influence, but the game also reminded me at times of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The Rabbit Warren is in danger.
The THUD has been happening more frequently.
Against the reassurements of the old and wise Warrenherd, you set out to see if you can bring safety to the Rabbits for generations to come.
What follows is a beautifully illustrated dreamlike journey through a surreal but recognizable land. Although the true nature of the Warren and its location remains a mystery, there are enough worldbuilding hints for the player to piece together a background history.
Ürs is mostly about experiencing the story, wallowing in the dreamcoloured journey, letting the events carry you through burrows and landscapes.
The exploring and puzzle-solving that there is can be confusing, random trial and error. Fortunately, there is always the option to rewind until before your final mistake.
As in any self-respecting fable, there is a lesson to be learnt. It is a good lesson. It is also a lesson delivered with a powerdrill (as, again, in most every fable.)
Take a tour through the Rabbit Warren. I think you will not regret it.
The title of my review summarizes how reading/playing this story felt to me.
On the one hand, parts felt like an illustrated bedtime story you might read to your children. The usual life of the shown rabbit society consists of sleeping, eating, digging and getting new cute rabbit babys, and the authors somehow manage to invoke the feeling that you (the reader) are indeed living this life.
On the other hand, the particular rabbit whose role you play has some higher goals: Very often, the peaceful and self-sufficient life of his rabbit friends is interrupted by hard "thuds" which endanger the rabbit's warren. As nobody else seems to care, it is your task to do something against these "thuds".
So you start an adventurous voyage, to discover what lies behind your usual warren, and to find a rescue against the "thuds". I won't write about any details of this adventure, but it's nicely done and shown with lots of great illustrations. Your rabbit-like movements and your partly-naive rabbit-like thinking are described well, and the urgency of the task is also comprehensible. So while everything remains cute (rabbits...), you still take your protagonist and his cause seriously.
Central to the game is one puzzle which requires a bit of thinking, but is not too hard. This is also the part of the story related to sci fi (you'll easily see why, once you have reached this part of the game. That's really a sense-of-wonder moment for our rabbit protagonist).
Overall, I don't regret playing this game; it took me about 30 minutes. I'd even like to read more stories in this setting.
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