The Rabbit and The Owl dubs itself “a negative space puzzle-platformer” and is the first project from creator Gary Chao. Setting out with the modest target of $5,000, it received its funding in the first five days of the campaign. The campaign page provides a link to a playable demo of an in-development build that currently features eight levels, playable solo or in local co-op.
Through the available levels, The Rabbit and The Owl presents a calm atmosphere and simple but appealing visuals to go along with its black and white puzzles. According to the campaign page, the game puts an emphasis on “thinking rather than hand-eye coordination” and this is clear with the lack of dangers or precision jumps to make. Instead, the focus is on puzzling out how to use the two player characters to help one another reach their own end goal. With one occupying the light space on screen, and the other the dark, they cannot move to the same places but can assist each other along the way by flipping switches, placing boxes, and so on.
Nothing in the demo is overly complex or mind-bending but, at the conclusion of the eight levels, a playable credits screen gathers several elements that are not yet featured in the levels directly. These include portals, timed switches and what seems to be a method to move from dark to light or vice versa. So, while it may start off easy, there’s a good chance it will grow much more difficult as development continues and new levels are created.
Stretch goals include features such as online co-op in addition to local, an exclusively co-op campaign, a level editor and more. With the project hitting its funding so quickly, it looks like these additional goals have pretty good odds of being met. These goals continue up to $50,000, which cryptically promises “something really cool!” that has yet to be named.
I’m not normally a big fan of puzzle games, owing to my limited skills in beating them, but something about The Rabbit and The Owl really works for me. Its soundtrack goes along with simple visuals to make for a very relaxing experience devoid of deathtraps or other threats requiring quick reactions and precision. Citing influence from Braid, Limbo, and Dark Souls, Chao also outlines his plans to let a story unravel through the setting rather than feed it directly to the player. This sounds promising to me, and if pulled off should make a great accompaniment to the tranquil overall feeling.
The Rabbit and The Owl is currently scheduled for an early 2017 release and has been approved on Steam Greenlight.