The Rabbit Hole Remastered Review
By Joseph Lim
Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality
The title of The Rabbit Hole is misleading because it gives the impression that you will be a happy Alice in Wonderland. On the contrary, you are a terrorized Alice locked in a room, trying to escape from a monster rabbit lurking in the shadows. Your only hope of escape is in your ability to solve convoluted yet intriguing puzzles. While you enjoy the puzzles, remember that every second counts, because the rabbit will come for you when you least expect it.
The original Rabbit Hole was released on the Oculus in 2016 by VRMonkey, the creators of Viking Days and 7VR Wonders. A far cry from its predecessors, The Rabbit Hole is VRMonkey’s first attempt at a horror game. Like most first attempts, the first version of The Rabbit Hole was a rough gem that needed refining. A remastered version released in 2017, and I am happy to say that it has become a fine jewel.
The game’s immersion has become both believable and visually satisfying. When the only environment that users can interact in is a small room, I expected to discover delicate and thoughtful details in the woodwork, furniture or the paintings. However, in the early version, I was disappointed to find that other from finding concealed items, there was no other reason to closely observe the room. The textures were blurry and the graphics were quite unrefined for a game developed with a Unreal 4 engine. Although the game reflected VRMonkey’s unique art style, I found the design unsuitable in creating a deep feeling of suspense. The only reason I got goosebumps was because of the eerie background music and the sheer darkness. However, these features are hardly unique in the horror genre.
The graphics and lighting are sharpened in the remastered version. Now, you don’t have to squint to discern details of certain puzzles. Careful attention has been given to design. Even your inventory menu is embroidered with golden floral engravings. Although surroundings can still be too dark for some users, brightness can now be adjusted without sacrificing the quality of the graphics.
The Rabbit Hole particularly stands out because it is a puzzle game. You must solve five puzzles throughout your limited time, and they are surprisingly difficult. You will come across one particular puzzle that will frustrate you with a couple of deaths, an hour of gameplay, and possibly a rush to an online walkthrough for guidance. You must find and interpret clues in items along the way. A notable item is the cake, which can make you shrink or grow, as some clues are only attainable at a certain size. It truly feels surreal when your head brushes the ceiling.
That said, the original version of The Rabbit Hole had glaring functionality problems. Walking speed was slow and movement felt unnatural. Controls were clunky, regardless of which controller you used. The remastered version has greatly refined the aforementioned problems, even if you come across minor glitches.
Overall, I would recommend The Rabbit Hole to escape room and puzzle lovers. The game is worth its cost, especially as the price has dropped from $5.99 to $3.99. The game has turned Alice in Wonderland into a thrilling puzzle, perhaps capturing the fear she must have felt when she fell deep into the rabbit hole.
Visuals: 4 out of 5 - It’s dark, but elegantly designed.
Playability: 4.5 out of 5 - The game is functionally simple yet requires complex puzzle solving skills.
User Interface 4 out of 5 - The tutorial, menu and overall user interface are easy to access and use.
Replay value 2.5 out of 5 - It’s a creative game idea, and a good challenge to share with your friends.
Final Score: 4 out of 5