What is it?
What do twelve year
old boys dream of? I know I dreamt of becoming a pilot (until someone
pointed out the 20/20 eyesight requirement), but other boys dream of
being a mighty magician. Jeremiah Hazelnut for one; the protagonist in
The Night of the Rabbit.
Entertainment's Night of the Rabbit is a mouse-driven, point and
click adventure that tells the story of the last two days of Jeremiah's
(or Jerry, if you prefer) summer holidays ('vacation' for those across
the pond) - an adventure that takes you through the field and past the
crossroad at the end of the lane, through portal trees into Mousewood
and far beyond.
Will Jerry learn the
secrets of the Treewalkers? Will he become a great magician? Or simply
make friends with Plato the frog and Kitsune the fox?
Is there a plot?
We begin with
mysterious and shadowy figures discussing stories, beginnings and
endings, in a place between dream and reality. There's an albino rabbit
in a frock coat, and a pebble-headed stick figure who're leading the
way. Then we're introduced to Jeremiah Hazelnut, 12 year old schoolboy,
dreamer, adventurer and magician-in-training. There are only two more
days of the summer left before the soporific prospect of dusty
classrooms, fading chalk-boards and dull school-books will return.
Plenty of time for a magical adventure between worlds, and blackberry
In fact, that's your
first task: to find the blackberries for the pie, so it's off into the
woods for you, but not before a (skippable) tutorial in how to operate a
point and click game, from a radio DJ who seems to be able to hear what
Jerry says, despite being a disembodied voice in an antique wireless.
The story progresses
into the woods, where Jerry is eventually introduced to the Marquis de
Hoto (the albino rabbit), discovers the portal tree, and begins his
journey to become a Treewalker. In the process Jerry has lots of tasks
to do, principally in and around the town of Mousewood (populated mainly
by, you guessed it, mice, but also rabbits, moles, hedgehogs, owls,
magicians, lizards, and many others), and in four other worlds reached
via the portal tree network. The story comes to a climax with a four act
play, and a magical duel with the principal antagonist.
How do you play?
The Night of the
is a point and click adventure; you really don't have to use the
keyboard for anything, although there are keyboard shortcuts for a
couple of features. The inventory is accessed by pressing the I key,
which is pretty standard, but you can also bring it up with a scroll of
the mouse wheel (assuming you have one). Whichever way you scroll to
bring the inventory into view, the opposite direction will hide it
again. You left click to interact with objects and, in the inventory,
you can right click on items to get a description from Jerry. There are
times when you need to combine inventory items, which is done simply by
left clicking on the first item (to pick it up) and then left clicking
on the second item. Regardless of whether the objects combine, Jerry
will comment. However, it is worth knowing that there are so many
inventory items that the old tactic of 'try everything with everything
else' is going to take a while!
The actual game play
takes place across many scenes. Jerry is your avatar in his world, but
he walks where you click (where possible) and will comment on many
things in every scene. Jerry's walking speed isn't especially fast, but
nor is it intolerably slow. And when you need to traverse several scenes
to get to where you want to go, you can double click on the exit of a
given scene and skip the walking around altogether. Later on in the
game, you get access to a fast travel option as well, though by that
stage, I was sufficiently familiar with the routes around Mousewood that
I made little use of the facility.
The inventory is the
key way to access all the non-in-world actions, and to get to your
spells (once you learn them). The menu (save, quit, journal, bonus
items, etc.) is given as a small line of icons on the 'stem' of the
inventory towards the bottom left of the screen, and the various other
game tools (a story book, a set of 'Quartets' cards, Jerry's coin (a
hot-spot finder) and his magic wand with the spells attached) are all
displayed in an easy to reach area around the outside rim of the
The story book is an
interesting tool in The Night of the Rabbit, as it enables you to
use time as a tool in solving puzzles. There are things you need to do
at night, and things you need to do in the same place, during the
daytime. This obviously doubles the number of scenes the developers had
to create, but that's not our problem, we can just enjoy twice as much
of their artwork.
This game maintains
the Daedalic Entertainment house-style of hand drawn graphics we've seen
in previous games from this German company; such as The Whispered
World, Deponia, Torchlight II, and Botanicula.
The scenes in The Night of the Rabbit are lush and detailed, with
plenty of life in them. There are full screen effects that add to the
atmosphere (such as a snow storm), and lots of indications of the
biological aliveness of Mousewood. To back up the hand drawn graphics is
a rich soundtrack with plenty to listen to; there are a few themes that
crop up time and time again, but without becoming tedious.
The voice acting shows
a high degree of talent in almost all areas. There are a couple of
clunky characters, but little to complain about really. Indeed, those
characters that I find clunky might very well have been deliberately
written that way. There's certainly no indication that the game is a
translation from German. There's one exception to this, and that's in
the commentary in the game of Quartets. There are definitely some odd
phrases being used in there, which is a shame, but a minor blemish
Whilst we're on the
subject of characters, I have to comment on the size of the cast of
characters. They are everywhere: dancing, guarding, governing, baking,
sleeping, crafting, trading, beguiling, hiding, irritating, coughing,
farming, exploring, delivering, playing, or just waiting for something
to happen. There's a great deal of life around Mousewood.
With this being a
Steam game, there are 'achievements' that are recorded in your Steam
account. There are several that you will inevitably pick up by
completing the story, but there are plenty more that are associated with
special deeds within the game, or finding particular objects, or finding
all of the audio books hidden in the game, or beating everyone at the
game of Quartets (very similar to the game Go Fish). The bonus menu,
accessible from the main screen, gives you access to the list of
achievements, as well as the audio books, the cut-scenes, a place to
practice Quartets, and review your sticker collection. For what appears
to be a simple point and click adventure, there is a lot of bonus
content. I've not managed to collect all the dew drops, or stickers, nor
have I played Quartets with as many people as I could have done. So even
though I've 'finished' the game, there's more I can go back to do again.
My experiences of
Daedalic Entertainment games have been almost entirely excellent, and
The Night of the Rabbit continues this winning streak. It didn't
crash, Jerry never vanished between objects he shouldn't have, the sound
was reliable, and the subtitles accurate (I always like to have
subtitles on in case external influences get in the way). And critically
importantly, I could Alt-Tab between the game and the walkthrough I am
not ashamed to say I had to use to figure out some of the next steps on
occasion. This is admission of failure on my part, not that the game is
especially obscure, or logically inconsistent.
I enjoyed my journeys
with Jerry throughout the worlds, and would be pleased to recommend it
to anyone who has two days left of their summer holidays!
What do you need to
Single-Core-Processor or 2GHz Dual-Core-Processor
2GB RAM (2.5 if
Windows Vista/7/8 OS)
OpenGL 2.0 compatible
graphics card with 256MB RAM (shared memory not recommended)
6 GB HD space
OS: MacOS X Lion
2 GHZ (Dual Core)
2 GB RAM
6 GB HD space
(I used a home-built
64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium (SP1) PC running on an AMD Athlon 64 X2
Dual 5200+ processor, with 6 GB RAM, and a Sapphire Radeon HD4670 512MB
video card, with on-mother-board, built-in sound card)
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