Beware of the white rabbit! A certain Alice can vouch the fact that pale, dapper bunnies mean nothing but trouble. Apparently Jeremiah Hazelnut, the main hero of ‘The Night of the Rabbit’ (the newest Daedalic Entertainment adventure game) wasn’t aware of that fact. Oh well, if someone wants to become a magician, just like Jerry, he or she needs to be prepared for weird stuff happening all around. Just be careful what you wish for…
The life of Jeremiah Hazelnut, a very curious and adventurous twelve-year-old boy, was rather ordinary, not to say boring. When we met him for the first time, the biggest worry in his life was that he had only two days of summer holidays left until school. Not giving in to the depression, Jerry decided to make the best of the remaining freedom. Fortunately, an odd and magical letter, containing a recipe for a strange ritual, that appeared in the postbox outside his home gave him just the perfect idea.
Little Jerry couldn’t have possibly known that the ceremony he performed would summon the famed Marquis de Hoto, the titular six foot tall rabbit clad in a purple coat, who nominates Jerry as the magician’s apprentice. Not only that, but the two of them travel into another world inhabited by very civilised mice, rabbits, squirrels, owls and all the sundries. During the course of the game, the boy has to not only learn spells and help the locals, but ultimately save all the interconnected worlds. Not a small feat for Jerry… and the player.
The story in ‘The Night of the Rabbit’ unfolds at a very slow pace. Some people might be bothered that at the beginning not much happens, we’re burdened with tasks verging on “bring this, bring that, take care of this” as we run around the city of Mousewood, getting to know its enchanted population a little better. I didn’t mind too much, though, because after initial languidness, the plot eventually thickens. Despite being a production aimed primarily at the younger demographic, the game is not as light-hearted as it may seem at first glance. It never becomes overly consumed in angst and the humour is always there to lighten the mood, but you definitely cannot brush off the whole plot as childish and without any depth. Just play the game yourself to see what I mean.
Many developers of recent adventure games want to make their title stick out from the crowd by introducing some ground-breaking changes to the interface, at the same time making it very user-unfriendly. Not Daedalic Entertainment, thank God. ‘The Night of the Rabbit’ is a fully-fledged point’n'click game with easy controls. Everything can be done by mouse, opening the inventory included (just scroll the mouse wheel).
Speaking of inventory, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen one so aesthetically pleasant and cleverly done. Apart from the usual set of gathered items, we can also see there is a magical coin, used to highlight the hotspots and invisible items, and a few spells that we learn in the course of the game. They become handy when ,for instance, we need to talk to a statue or make a plant grow faster. The game’s help is also available as a mean of a spell named Advice Seeker. Upon casting it, the Marquis drops a hint. The thing is, this help is not overly helpful and more often than not we found ourselves hopelessly stuck.
The ‘Night of the Rabbit’ is certainly a demanding game in terms of puzzles. There are no manual challenges like jigsaws, but it doesn’t mean that we’ll just breeze through this adventure without seriously racking our brains. It’s crucial to remember that Mousewood is, in fact, a magical realm and many laws of logic or physics, to which we are accustomed, simply don’t work there. That’s why to solve many puzzles we need to think in a very ‘outside of the box’ kind of way. It’s hard to get bored though when the creators have prepared so many achievements to collect and so many optional objects to find: dewdrops, stickers and even audiobooks with fairy tales. You can’t forget about the game of cards called quartet. We can play it optionally with most of the NPCs we encounter. Taking all of this into account, it takes many, many hours filled to the brim with fun to actually finish the game.
Beating it is even more enjoyable, as we consider the audiovisual side of the game. Daedalic Entertainment is famous for their gorgeously drawn 2D graphics and the studio didn’t let its fans down this time either. The animation was also great and the cut-scenes, though not very frequent, nicely done. The same with the music, that of which built the atmosphere masterfully. I can still hear the main theme in my mind when I close my eyes. I can’t really complain about the dubbing either, since the English cast did a great job on this one.
All in all, The Night of The Rabbit is worth recommending to all adventure game enthusiasts, but maybe even people new to the genre can get mesmerised by this production’s undeniable charm. Just give it a chance, you won’t regret it. And excuse me now, I have a certain rabbit to follow.
FINAL SCORE: 8,5/10
+ A long and entertaining adventure
+ Intriguing plot with more depth than you expect
+ Gorgeous graphics and beautiful music
- Help is not really helpful
- Slow beginning