Hand-drawn visuals, majestic torii gates, and bunnies that play hide and seek with you because they're living their best lives - these are just some of the ways the bunny overlords of Usagi Shima sap all the stress of the workweek away with a single tap. The relaxing idle game not only gives off plenty of Neko Atsume vibes (the cat collecting game I was obsessed with way back when) but it also takes inspiration from a real-life bunny island in Japan called Okunoshima - and yes, it's every bit as charming as it sounds.Table of contents:
The little bun-buns themselves are just absolute bundles of joy - they'll lounge around in onsens, nibble on some dumplings, or stuff themselves into toy banana beds with their butts sticking out because they're just that adorable. The game also stays in sync with your time, as your island will be bright and sunny during the day and then come alive with all the cosy lights from lanterns when the sun goes down.
The core gameplay loop here is to scatter various knick-knacks on your island then come back a little later in hopes of chancing upon a rabbit or two hanging out and chillin'. You're essentially at the mercy of these rabbit masters because if they happen to enjoy their time on your island, they'll leave you little "tips" when you go offline, which is what you'll use to buy more items from the shop to prettify your island.
You can buy toys for them, but you can also just purchase decorative items like stone lanterns, sakura trees, bamboo forests, koi ponds, and the aforementioned torii gates. Every so often, a special bunny will drop by and leave gold carrots, which you can use to buy more buildings such as a milk tea shop, a ramen house, a dumpling cart, and so on.
It's entirely free to play, but you have the option to watch ads if you want to double your carrot rewards or speed up the construction time for a new building. This monetisation model is perfect in that it allows you to enjoy the game without any pesky interruptions, and only asks for a small time investment should you choose to do so (there are also some in-game purchases you can buy to help support the solo developer, of course!).
It's hugely thanks to how ridiculously adorable the bunnies are - these little furballs smile up at you when you pet, rub, feed, and take photos of them in irresistible ways. They'll shove themselves into difficult places and haphazardly try their darnedest to conceal themselves behind bushes until you find them, so there's just no possible way you can hold back going "awww" each and every time.
There's also that sense of exhilaration you'll get when a new rabbit drops by - my favourite so far is Ebi (which is Japanese for shrimp), because he's a rabbit with a tempura shrimp somehow stuck to his back (because why not).
When you get right down to it, I believe Usagi Shima is a daily reminder that, at the end of the day, we should exert our efforts in caring for beings other than ourselves. The game is also a great way to attract some attention to Okunoshima - and if the bunnies there are every bit as lovely as the ones in the game, I'd definitely love to book a ticket to the island as soon as possible.