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I saw an absurd game about rabbits at Summer Game Fest, and I’m obsessed with it

A rabbit and a man recreate the Creation of Man in Rusty Rabbit.
NetEase
Summer Gaming Marathon Feature Image
This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

My favorite thing about going to an event like Summer Game Fest isn’t playing big-budget titles I’ve been anticipating for years — it’s finding stuff I’ve never heard of. Last year’s show introduced me to Cocoon, which ranked high on my own year-end list for 2023. This year, I once again have found a hidden gem on the Summer Game Fest show floor that’s become my most anticipated game of the fall: Rusty Rabbit.

When I sat down for a meeting with NetEase for a hands-off demo, I knew nothing about the upcoming 2.5D platformer beyond its name. My eyes lit up as soon as the developers on hand began talking about it and showing me gameplay. It’s the most ludicrous elevator pitch I’ve ever heard for a game, one that bursts from the top of the building and keeps going into the stratosphere.

Rusty Rabbit is a Metroidvania set in a postapocalyptic world. It’s not a dystopian game, though. While humans have abandoned Earth, adorable talking rabbits have inherited it. In the years following mankind’s fall, rabbits began to learn about human society through the art and tech they left behind — but they’ve interpreted it all wrong. They piece together that rabbits are a chosen race created by God and quite literally think that the book Peter Rabbit is the bible, telling the story of “St. Peter.”

If your jaw is already on the floor, it’s about to go even lower.

The adventure stars a middle-aged rabbit named Stamp who “chain-smokes” carrots. He’s a scrapyard tinkerer who has built himself a fancy mech that can dig up valuable metal. If you watch the trailer and feel like his Japanese voice actor sounds familiar, that’s because he’s voiced by Takaya Kuroda, the voice of Kiryu Kazuma in the Like a Dragon series. I swear to God I am not making this game up.

A rabbit in a mech slashes a machete in Rusty Rabbit.
NetEase

All of that alone would already have me sold, but I was especially bought in after watching a live demo. Rusty Rabbit is a 2.5D action platformer where Stamp barrels through junkyards in his mech. He has four different weapons, which include a shotgun and sword. He also has a drill that can cut through blocks of metal and give him experience points in gameplay, which is reminiscent of the excellent Steamworld Dig. After leveling up, Stamp can upgrade all of his weapons to unlock a deep list of upgrades and combos. It’s a shockingly deep combat and traversal system. Some late game upgrades I saw had him flying around with a jetpack and doing multi-hit combos with his sword.

While its action (including a boss fight against a piece of heavy machinery) looks strong, it’s the absurd visual style and humor that is drawing me in. The rabbits themselves look precious, which makes the fact that they’re tough scavengers with grizzled voices all the more funny. Several jokes had me laughing out loud in the demo too. My crew is called the “BB’s,” but none of my pals can agree on what that actually stands for. One bit of dialogue had every character saying a completely different acronym as they talked about the group. It’s a hysterical slice of Abbott and Costello-style comedy and I’m ready for more.

A rabbit in a mech fights a machine in Rusty Rabbit.
NetEase

With a September 24 release date confirmed, Rusty Rabbit feels primed to become 2024’s most eclectic release. Plenty of games with oddball concepts like this tend to be one-joke memes, but Rusty Rabbit doesn’t look like it’s falling into that trap. Its Metroidvania gameplay seems surprisingly deep and fresh, adding its own spin to the genre with its trash-collecting gameplay. If it’s even half as delightful as what I saw this weekend, I’ll be there for it on day one.

Rusty Rabbit launches on September 24 for the PlayStation 5 and PC.

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Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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