The Night of the Rabbit Review!
A genre that has been overlooked in the last few years is that of the great point-and-click adventures. This style of game has always been fun and puzzling, and a game that has both of these by the bucketload is The Night of the Rabbit.
As children, we pretty much all dreamed about having some form of magical powers, and in fact some of us as adults still do. Unfortunately until scientists pull their fingers out and do something to make that dream a reality, one of the few ways we can get our magical fix is through video games. No other form of entertainment lets us really know what it would be like to be a wizard and use our powers for good or evil – depending on your inclination. And no game is more charming than the 2013 point-and-click adventure The Night of the Rabbit, available for PC and Mac through Steam for $20/ £16.99. The thing that makes this title really stand out is that there aren’t really that many point-and-click titles out there which drag the player in to a wonderful world with challenging puzzles and an enjoyable story.
The Night of the Rabbit lets us play as 12 year old wannabe wizard Jeremiah ‘Jerry’ Hazelnut on the last few days of his summer vacation, and he is looking for a bit of adventure before heading back to a world of endless tests and detention (at least that’s how I remember school). While walking around the woods near his house Jerry receives a strange letter and poem that leads to him a rabbit, Marquis de Hoto – who just happens to be a magician and asks Jerry to be his apprentice. The Marquis then takes Jerry on a journey to different a world – Mousewood – which is a magical town where Jerry is the same size as the tiny woodland critters that inhabit it. Mice and squirrels aren’t the only occupants of Mousewood however, there are also some evil forces that Jerry and the Marquis have to try and deal with.
The story is charming and engrossing, which does take a bit of time to get going, it has a real fairy tale feel to it without making it totally child-like, there is something for gamers of all ages. Child players will enjoy the storybook feel to the whole thing and any adults that pick up this title will be taken on a trip back to their long forgotten childhood. Jerry also makes a welcome change from the modern protagonists of today’s adventure games, rather than being focused on revenge and violence, all Jerry wants is to have a fun adventure before he returns to school. He has an innocent and good natured feel about him, which only just adds to the magic and charm of The Night of the Rabbit.
The gameplay is your standard point-and-click formula, reminiscent of classics such as Monkey Island and Broken Sword. Jerry’s adventure involves interacting with the citizens of Mousewood, collecting items found around the world and using the skills he acquires to solve puzzles that will crop up in his story of wonder and magic. Things aren’t always as simple as they first seem, as you may need to combine items in your inventory to get the job done. This increases the difficulty a little and make you sometimes really think what your next step will be, and whilst this dynamic is nothing new in point-and-click games, it’s inclusion in the Night of the Rabbit helps add to the challenge and prevent the game from becoming too linear.
My only real criticism of The Night of the Rabbit is that there is sometimes too small of an area to click on when trying to interact with objects or picking up items. It isn’t too much of a problem when there is only one or two items in a quite large area, but when there are a few objects placed near or even sometimes on top of one another, this can lead to some items being easily overlooked and even the ones you do spot can be hard to pick up. When I think about previous point-and-click adventures such as Broken Sword I never had this problem, as when you place the mouse cursor over the item you wanted, the game always reacted in the way you would expect. In The Night of the Rabbit you may find yourself trying a few times to get it to react the way you want. In an otherwise hugely enjoying game, this sometimes frustrating problem can make you just give up on The Night of the Rabbit, but if you are able to push through it then you get to be part of a great adventure.
During your time in Mousewood, you can’t help but feel like you are part of a beautiful fairy tale, and the visuals reflect this. The whole thing is wonderfully brought to life using a technique of hand painting the backgrounds, in a similar but more subtle style as Okami. This just adds to feel of the game, making us feel more and more like we are part of story book. You could even go as far as to say that this is a kind of interactive story book rather than a video game.
Daedalic Entertainment haven’t just spent all their time making the world of The Night of the Rabbit a truly beautiful place to visit, Jerry and the characters that star in his adventure have also been rendered perfectly. They are still in keeping with the storybook feel but have been brought a little more to life, which of course is totally needed as you don’t want to be walking around looking for a certain citizen of Mousewood and you can’t find them because they have faded in to the background. It really does feel like game developers Daedalic Entertainment have really thought about how to keep to the feel of the game as much as possible, and I would say that they have greatly succeeded in this area.
A beautiful looking game is nothing without an audio score to support it and this is something else that The Night of the Rabbit has by the bucketload. The music that developers Daedalic Entertainment decided on helps set the scene for the game, it cements in the fairytale feel of the game. You won’t find anything particularly different from any music heard in any magically adventure/ fantasy based children’s television show or video game, but it is tried and tested system so nothing different is either needed or wanted.
The voice acting is also done to a very high standard, which is sometimes lacking in independently made video games. Every single character has a unique voice that fits in with their personality, the developers looked at the character in detail and found someone who sounded like what they particular person or animal to speak like. For example, for the voice of 12 year old Jerry someone who sounded like a 12 year old boy was used, not someone’s mate Dave from down the pub who owed a favour to a member of the development team.
Overall I would say that The Night of the Rabbit is a very enjoyable title that is worth picking up, and for the low price of $20/ £16.99 and the fact that you can download it through Steam (you don’t even need to leave your front room), there really is no excuse not to pick this one up. No matter what your age is you can safely assume that you will have a great time playing this game; there will be challenges, puzzles and enjoyable characters to interact with. For children it’s a great way to start getting in to playing video games, and if you are an adult then it is a fun way of reliving a long lost childhood.
Until they find a cure for not being magic, The Night of the Rabbit is a great way to whet your appetite for it.
Written by Guest Contributor: SteelFox