THE NIGHT OF THE RABBIT

 

 

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:  Daedalic Entertainment

Released:  May 2013

PC Requirements:   see review below

Walkthrough   Additional Screenshots

 

 

 

 

by gremlin

  

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.

Daedalic 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 pie.

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 Rabbit 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 inventory.

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.

Notable Features

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 really.

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.

Conclusions

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!

Grade: A-

What do you need to play it?

System Requirements (PC)

2.5GHz 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)

DirectX9.0c compatible sound card

6 GB HD space

System Requirements (Mac)

OS: MacOS X Lion (10.7)

2 GHZ (Dual Core) Intel

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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June 2013

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