The Night of the Rabbit - REVIEW


Released at the end of May this year, The Night of the Rabbit is an adventure game set in the strange forest world of Jerry Hazelnut's late summer adventures. With a glorious art style and point and click puzzle play I sat down to explore the creative magical world and see if I could join Jerry in his enthusiasm for adventure.

I've played many adventure games over the years, starting in the days of Monkey Island and Full Throttle to the more recent, slightly less puzzling Walking Dead and some of Tell Tale game's other offerings. I've never played anything that has come out of the German developer Daedalic Entertainment's studios until now. It's obvious from the start that inspirations have come from the earlier Monkey Island games (young boy off on an adventure anyone?) and that Daedalic are dedicated to ensuring their narrative and artistic style is top notch.

The Night of the Rabbit begins with a strange sequence where you first meet the Marquis, a rabbit who accompanies you on your travels and acts as your mentor. Jerry doesn't appear until the second scene but the odd start quickly settles down. A bit too much in my opinion as for the next half an hour to an hour you spend learning the game's relatively simple mechanics and doing a few basic puzzles 'in the real world'. The slow start isn't helped by large amounts of time waiting for the dialogue to appear and then be spoken. Although this is somewhat counterbalanced by the fantastic voice acting for most of the characters, some witty conversations and the fact that you are talking to animals of all shapes and sizes with their own quirky characteristics.

I found that I wasn't pulled into The Night of the Rabbit in the same way as other adventures, the slow gameplay made it a chore to play and it was only after about three or four hours that any sign of fast travel appeared. Like most adventures you end up having to go back wards and forwards between locations to check items and try using different picked up things with other ones on the screen, and the slow speed with which Jerry sauntered became fairly grating after a period of time. However, the saving graces were the artwork and the score. Daedalic pulled out all the stops with their scenery artists and the first time that you visit some of the environments is nothing short of fantastic. As you get further into the game you encounter distant lands that are stunningly illustrated, and the character animation is also impressive. Changing scenery also led to changing music and much of this was dramatic and bright, certainly a positive for the game.

As perseverance got the better of me I came to enjoy the experience that Jerry's imagination gave me. Whilst some of the puzzles were simple and some were really a process of trial and error the gameplay became less tiresome as more elements were added, including magic, which plays a large part of the later game, something hinted at towards the beginning. The desire to complete the game grew stronger with hours played and I estimate it took me 18 in total, maybe slightly more. Certainly the feeling that this was simply a child's game with some added subtleties for the adult audience faded as the intensity increased. The complexity of the puzzles didn't seem to increase dramatically through the game but this may be due to getting used to the developer's ideas. A quest to collect lizards was the part that I spent the most time on because of one specific element with a sticker and some balls but once past this I encountered nothing more complicated. Although not as good as the puzzles within offerings from established studio such as Tell Tale Games, The Night of the Rabbit is mature enough to have a firm placeholder within the genre.

Extra features to the gameplay which add to the playthrough include collecting dewdrops and stickers that are hidden amongst the backdrops, and simple optional elements that give cards. Once collected these give achievements along with the natural gameplay ones, a helpful extra to encourage additional playthroughs. The collected cards can be used to play a card game from the menu. Save games can also be created at any point, which is perfect for me as I am not a fan of checkpoint gameplay in adventure games but there is an autosave in case you forget.

I can't give The Night of the Rabbit a perfect review due to the clunky, slow gameplay and sometimes seemingly irrational puzzles, but as I said above it can hold its own as an adventure game and the brilliant artwork, score and game length certainly make it worth a play. It's currently available from the following sites, with a premium edition including the soundtrack, audio books and a game comic:


PS: All screenshots are stock due to not being able to take any in game on my Win 7 PC (even on basic colours).

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