The magical world of Jeremiah Hazelnut.
Daedalic Entertainment have, in recent years, become well known for their adventure games. With titles under their belts including the Deponia series, Edna and Harvey and, of course, The Whispered World, Daedalic seem to be almost single-handedly reviving the genre, and for that we thank them. The newest game out of their stable is The Night of the Rabbit, which is due at the end of May, and could well be the best game yet.
The Night of the Rabbit begins in a mysterious deep green undergrowth of twisted vines that branch out from a massive old tree, starting your adventure in the magical world of 12 year old Jeremiah Hazelnut, whose greatest dream is becoming a magician.
As you begin your journey, you’re greeted by an odd pebble headed figure, who appears out of nowhere, with arms and hands made of twigs and sticks, holding a lantern and asking if you are lost? While you contemplate this stranger standing silently in the dense fog, you’re briefly met with a red-eyed rabbit, wearing a purple smoking jacket and yellow tie. Occasionally a green creature appears and disappears in the distance and you wonder whether the fog is playing tricks on your imagination as you voyage into the unknown of this Alice in Wonderland style adventure. As you follow the rabbit, you disappear into a cloud of dust and reappear into a different world. A brief cut scene takes place and we are introduced in a dream bubble to Jeremiah’s mother, Mrs Hazelnut, settling her son into bed. As Jeremiah sleeps, red eyes watch him in the night.
The basic mechanics and interface using the mouse and keyboard will be easily picked up in this point and click adventure. Using the mouse, you can scroll the wheel to bring up the inventory. This is where the majority of the information you need is stored and where you’ll spend time collecting objects for your adventure. With the click of the right mouse button you can examine objects and left clicking enables you to take objects out of the inventory and interact with the environment. Objects can be combined to create other valuable or useful items and materials and you’ll spend a great deal of time looking through your inventory to solve puzzles.
As Jeremiah stirs from his deep slumber and realizes he still has two days left of his summer vacation, he begins his new adventure with great excitement. Jeremiah’s abode is a quaint country cottage, set in an enchanting and tranquil environment. At the front of the cottage, you’ll find a garden brimming with beautiful flowers, a garden filled with fruit and vegetable patches and a small kite swaying gently against the breeze high up in a tree. This is where you’re first met with the creative beauty that Daedalic Games are renowned for and you can see how graphically stunning this point and click adventure is.
Looking around the environment, you can see Jeremiah’s mother hanging out laundry on a washing line in the meadow. The depth perception is very well created and gives an amazing sense of life to the scene, as the laundry sways slowly back and forth on the line with the breeze. Jeremiah’s mother isn’t much of a conversationalist and she will have you finding random fruit through the forest, so she can make some home-made blackberry pie.
As is always the case in point and click adventures, you’ll go on your merry way, clicking everything and anything on screen to make sense of your new found environment. Some objects are self-explanatory, while others are a little bit quirky. Take for instance the talking radio, which randomly spits out information about a fitness program and funny banter. Occasionally you’ll be addressed by a character and you can choose an answer from the selected sentences. It’s all pretty basic and the level of understanding needed to play the game is quite low, making it the ideal game for all ages.
As you wander through the forest, you’ll find different things to explore. You’ll discover stone statues with a mystery behind them and even come across a mysterious purple letter that flies around the woods, desperately needing your attention. The storyline seems to combine aspects of Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland and, to be honest, feels magical.
As the story progresses, you’ll meet the red-eyed rabbit, Marquis De Hoto, and you will become his new apprentice. You will travel through portal trees, enabling travel back and forth through different worlds and realities. On your travels, you’ll discover a magic coin that reveals secrets in your environment, and unlock a hints system. Setting both of these systems to be unlocked as part of the story, rather than just having them available from the beginning, is a clever way of integrating their use into the actual story and increases the immersion.
Loveable characters will be met along the way, such as the dancing mice from Mousewood, a wise owl with a story to tell, some super smart squirrels and set of hedgehog brothers who may help you on your journey. The story is beautifully illustrated and has a very intriguing storyline; I literally had to be prized away from the game. It is mysterious and there’s a huge amount of detail to the characters and the surrounding worlds, making it difficult not to fall under Daedalic’s spell. The puzzles will see players finding and collecting items, or clues, and using them with each other. And there are plenty of secrets for players to find as they progress, such as the selection of magic dewdrops scattered around the environment which will later reveal something magical to players.
So far, Daedalic’s The Night of the Rabbit is on track to be a very impressive adventure. The game is being released on May 29th and I can’t wait to see where the mysterious red-eyed rabbit will lead me, uncover the stories of the mice of Mousewood and the mysterious treewalkers.