First Impressions – The Night of the Rabbit
Good point-and-click adventures are hard to come by in a world filled with epic 2D side-scrollers, FPSs, or even old reliable – action RPGs. For those who fondly remember our childhood adventures, when we lost ourselves in our storybooks, Daedalic Entertainment brings us the newest installment in their point-and-click collection: The Night of the Rabbit.GamerLiving got a sneak preview of the BETA, and we’re here to go through what will be awaiting you. So grab your “stuff, junk, and things,” and join us as we head down the rabbit tree-hole, and into The Night of the Rabbit.
The game starts off pretty dark and dreary. You begin the game by listening to a monologue from a strange figure in the woods speaking through the mist about his lost apprentice, and how, in the apprentice’s final hours, the speaker simply was not there for his student. We have yet to determine who he is via the demo, and what relation he has to the protagonist, if any, or perhaps even more coy on the developer’s part—if he is the protagonist. It’s a way that Daedalic Entertainment reminds fans of their previous games that, while The Night of the Rabbit may be entertaining and full of little jokes, or happy surroundings, every game they pump out will be dark and twisted in some way. You’ll see this cutscene end and find yourself controlling a very tall, very slender white rabbit with red eyes, wearing an old-fashioned, red tailcoat. The rabbit is on a mysterious path, when he bumps into Odd Figure who directs him to the “beginning of the story.” As if by magic, the game changes into a mystical, whimsical storybook adventure about a little 12-year-old boy named Jerry Hazelnut, our protagonist.
Jerry’s greatest desire is to become a magician someday, and he often dreams about what it would be like, though in his heart is afraid it’s not practical. While collecting blackberries in the woods one day, a magical letter whizzes its way into Jerry’s pocket. This bizarre letter contains a recipe, written in rhyme, which specifies a location in the woods to place a mixture after it has been created. Following the instructions, Jerry puts the concoction at the indicated spot and lights it aflame. In a puff of smoke, a gigantic magician’s box appears in the middle of the woods! As Jerry begins inspecting its contents, he comes across a magic wand and a hat. Suddenly, after tapping the hat with the wand, a rabbit emerges from the hat and greets him. A giant, slender, red-eyed rabbit named Marquis de Hoto, a very old and wise magician who takes Jerry on as his apprentice – and promises to have Jerry back before school starts. As an apprentice, Jerry works toward becoming a Treewalker – magicians who can move to different worlds through magical trees.
The mechanics are very easy to understand – you can right click and interact with people or objects, and even use items you find to interact with them and obtain your goals. An example of this would be finding a stick on the ground, and using it to clear away a spider web, so that you can get at the blackberries your mother needs for her pie. Everything you do in the game is a cause-and-effect, as you solve puzzles by putting events into motion (which means interacting with different people or objects). You can left click on things to find information about them, which will give you clues to help you uncover what you’ll need to do next to further yourself in the story.
As you progress through the game, you’ll notice that the illustrations are beautiful – throwing you back into the storybooks you grew up with. Jerry himself is reminiscent of Christopher Robin, only with Marquis de Hoto as a companion instead of Winnie the Pooh. The story takes place in Mousewood: a world where everyone is a vegetarian, the citizens are animals of various sizes and shapes, and magic is revered (not laughed at like the world Jerry comes from). Bright and beautiful scenes illustrated with a hint of age to them (similar to tales like Peter Rabbit) come alive as you make your way through this adventure and help Jerry become a true Treewalker. While you are in a 2.5D environment, every part of the game feels like a page in a storybook, and has a sunny orange hue as its main overtone.
The voice acting fits nicely into the scenes – from the quiet, mumbling, fast-talking squirrel in town to the loud, boisterous and slow-paced owl, you won’t be disappointed with how diverse the characters are. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the imagery and sound combine together to suck you into the storyline – be it chirping birds in the background, or the soft breeze blowing by your ears—you’ll really feel as though you’re in a grand adventure from your childhood.
Previously, in titles that Daedalic Entertainment had released (such as Edna and Harvey), the bizarre was key, and the delivery of humour was intentionally patronizing, with only brief moments of subtlety for those willing to spend the time looking. While some of the same type of humour remains in this game, it has a much less morbid undertone. The key to this game is that it is based on realistic and relatable storytelling – one that is easy to follow without losing too much of the mystery. I have a feeling that this game will take a dark twist sooner or later, but I’m willing to buy the game when it’s released and find out if that’s true for myself. The protagonist is easy to connect with – as we were all once young children with dreams, and read books where the impossible came true for one very special kid.
Daedalic Entertainment takes a boy’s dream of being a magician and transforms the game into a wonderful fairy tale of adventure and awe in The Night of the Rabbit. Where previous titles Daedalic Entertainment had released catered to a very specific type of morbid humour, like in Edna and Harvey, The Night of the Rabbit is a lot more relatable, and easy to get lost in. I, for one, can’t wait to play the full release, coming to PCs everywhere May 29, and see just how deep the tree-roots will grow.
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