Once upon a time when the world was a more magical place and everything was an adventure to behold…do you remember? You don’t? Come…take my hand. I’ll show you.
The Night of the Rabbit, by developers Daedalic Entertainment, is a fairy tale point-and-click adventure that I can very much describe as Monkey Island meets Alice in Wonderland meets Harry Potter meets Beatrix Potter meets…well, any number of wonders, really. As a very jaded adult, there are few experiences that leave me smiling with the open-jawed wonder of a child. This game did that for me.
Night of the Rabbit tells the tale of young Jeremy Hazelnut, a boy experiencing the last few days of summer vacation. He aspires, as many young boys do, to be a magician and as luck would have it, he soon gets his chance when he meets the mysterious Marquis de Hoto, a large white anthropomorphic rabbit. The Marquis takes Jeremy as his apprentice and they journey to the magical land of Mousewood (filled with more anthropomorphic animals, of course), where Jeremy will complete his training to become a magician. Although the story starts off on a very light, fairy-tale tone befitting a younger player, it eventually takes a much darker turn, making the game doubly rewarding for players.
As far as point-and-click adventures go, it’s about what you’d expect from the genre with little deviation. The puzzles are a mixed bag: sometimes they’re incredibly straight forward, and there are plenty of clues to guide you as to what to do next. Other times they take on a mind-bending logic-churning complexity that would put the old Sierra puzzle designers to shame. It’s glorious! I’m an old-school gamer who cut my teeth on Space Quest, Monkey Island, and The Dig so I was completely at home in this game. The one thing that set Night of the Rabbit apart from many such adventures, however, is the appearance early in the game of a magic coin. Peering through the coin highlights all the interactive objects on the screen. This takes away the highly-frustrating pixel-hunt aspects of many similar games.
It’s going to be impossible to mention the beauty of this game without also mentioning how acoustically beautiful it is, too. The art style is so incredibly charming that you can’t help but fall in love with the game. But before you notice the artwork, you’re swept away by the musical score. The music lifting and enchanting, and I’ve found a new composer to follow in the form of Tilo Alpermann. Honestly, if you have the extra cash to spend, you’d be a twit not to pick up the version of the game with the soundtrack included. And then there’s the voice-work: it’s simply superb. It’s a treat listening to the voice actors. There’s so little wrong with the game it’s actually eerie.
Not to say that there aren’t problems, though. The pacing of the story in the beginning is a little slow, especially if you’re the kind to stumble over your puzzles. I also ran into a bizarre issue at one point where my moving the cursor would progress the dialog, so I was terrified of touching the mouse. Or the keyboard. Or the desk under which my PC lives. However, that problem disappeared and never resurfaced since, so it’s hard to replicate. The last minor problem I ran into was that saved games tended to forget the last two minutes of things you did before saving, so I’d have to check to make sure that items had left my inventory, or that dialog had happened after loading a game. Lastly: can an excess of charm be labelled as a problem? (Ed: No.)
I honestly can say that, after many years of being a dedicated console gamer, playing The Night of the Rabbit is like being welcomed home after a long journey. Welcomed home with your favourite food, and the books you most enjoyed as a child. If you have ever enjoyed fairy tales or point-and-click adventures, The Night of the Rabbit deserves your attention. And who, as a child, did not love fairy tales?
Final Score: 8.5 magical, talking prawns out of 10
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment