Magical goings on with a talking rabbit and a young boy called Jerry Hazelnut.
The point and click adventure game genre has been having a bit of a resurgence in popularity recently, and in some cases attempts have even been made to evolve the genre into something more suiting the modern gamer. But even without the evolution to the genre, a good story is something most gamers can get behind, and is the single most important aspect for a successful point and click adventure game.
German developer and publisher Daedalic Entertainment have been weaving more and more tales of late with their rather good adventure games. Daedalic should be seen as one of the major players in the modern adventure game genre, with titles such as The Whispered World, the Edna & Harvey games and the Deponia games under their belts. With each title they release, things seem to be getting more polished and more entertaining, and their latest title follows that trend being quite possibly the best title from Daedalic so far, leaving the expectations for their next title very high. But I am sure we will take a look at their next title when it arrives – now we need to spend some time with Jerry Hazelnut in The Night of the Rabbit.
And it is the story that stands out most in this charming adventure. Jeremiah Hazelnut is on the last couple of days of his Summer vacation and is desperate for adventure. He also has a deep yearning to be a magician, and it doesn’t take long before that particular dream seems to be coming true with the mysterious appearance of a letter that explains how to perform a spell, followed by the Marquis de Hoto, a talking red-eyed rabbit who just happens to be looking for an apprentice to learn the ways of the magician.
The player finds themselves traveling through portal trees to places like Mousewood, filled with talking animals and more than just a little dash of familiarity. The Night of the Rabbit seems to have taken inspiration from many children’s tales, such as the obvious Alice in Wonderland and the more modern Harry Potter stories, and as such has a familiar and comfortable feel that will make the settings and characters that the player comes across seem normal and not at all outlandish.
It can also be said that the characters, from the naive Jerry himself and the mysterious Marquis de Hoto, to the other random animals and such that the player meets throughout the game, feel like they belong and are interesting enough to keep the player engaged. Much of this comes down to the brilliant writing and the ways that the player interacts with them, but it should be noted that the voice acting in The Night of the Rabbit certainly helps. In many of the previous games from Daedalic, the voice acting has been somewhat lacking in the English language. But here, in The Night of the Rabbit, the voice acting is superb and fits perfectly, leaving no room for complaint.
The Night of the Rabbit is quite a large game, and the story weaves along at a reasonable pace by adding a level of threat to the otherwise cute setting. The ending, which I will not spoil, is the only real weak point to the story, but the journey to get there is a tale that will not be easily forgotten.
But if you want a story, read a book, right? This is an adventure game, and so we want puzzles. Fear not, The Night of the Rabbit is filled with puzzles for all players, and even some for none.
The puzzles are, for the most part, fairly straight forward. That is not to say that they are easy, as many of the puzzles will take a certain amount of brain scratching to figure out. But they are fair and will result in many “oh yeah” moments. However, there is the occasional puzzle that just feels a little too obscure and doesn’t quite fit, possibly leaving players feeling frustrated. The included hint system, which is cleverly integrated into the story, seems to make these potentially frustrating moments even worse by not actually being very helpful.
But these puzzles are relatively few and far between, and the gorgeous visuals of the game go a long way towards calming any frayed tempers that may result from unfair puzzles. The stunningly drawn environments and the cartoon-style animated characters come to life The Night of the Rabbit. The game may only be 2D, but there is a depth given to the scenes through the sheer quality of the graphics. Simply put, The Night of the Rabbit is beautiful.
Indeed, there is very little to fault in this latest outing for Daedalic Entertainment. The Night of the Rabbit combines an enchanting story with characters that the player will be drawn to, in a game that is very pleasing on the eyes and ears. With inspiration from many a children’s story, the level of difficulty and occasional jarringly obscure puzzles suggests that the game may not be as suitable for children as it first appears. But for lovers of point and click adventures, The Night of the Rabbit is a worthy undertaking.