Release Date: May 28th, 2013
The Night of the Rabbit is from the same studio behind the fantastic Deponia games that you’ll never hear me stop praising. Not only were they smart, funny, and clever, they also showed off strong story telling skills. So, you’ll have to understand where I’m coming from when I say that The Night of the Rabbit is a disappointment. It’s not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination as it represents a decent example of the point and click adventure genre. However, with story telling problems and broad characters, the game never really reaches beyond just being an okay game with some admirable qualities.
The Story that Eventually Happens
The main problem from The Night of the Rabbit comes from the structure of its story, even if it the story does sound like a good idea in the broad strokes. The story involves a wanna-be magician, named Jeremiah(Jerry for short) Hazelnut, who is looking for adventure on his last two days of summer. However, he stumbles upon a fully grown humanoid rabbit, named the Marquis de Hoto, who is looking for an apprentice so he can turn him into a magician. Through a magical portal, the characters shrink in size to visit the town of Mousewood, a place that’s filled with mice, squirrels, frogs, owls who have their own town, clothes, and primitive technology very much like that of humans. Meanwhile, they allude to this dark mysterious force that’s going to set up the game’s plot.
With a clever premise of the town of Mousewood and the use of magicians, these guys really are sitting on something that could be really great.
…these guys really are sitting on something that could be really great.
Unfortunately, the story is stifled by the plot and structure. The game follows a three act structure where the first two acts of the game asks us to trust that things are eventually going to start happening. The prologue starts off nicely with Jerry encountering Marquis de Hoto which makes it feel like the game is going to send Jerry off on an epic adventure. However, the first act just has Jerry sending out invitations while the second act just has Jerry learning the spells so he can use them on the antagonist of the story who eventually shows up by the third act when the stakes he presents to the story should have been clear throughout the entire story.
The Mild Entertainment Before the Story
To be fair, however, the first two acts aren’t completely void of anything interesting happening as Night of the Rabbit sends you on some entertaining things to do.
…the way Jerry learns the spells sends him out into interesting and unique settings
It does help that the game is induced with some humor, although, it’s not quite as hilarious as the Deponia games are, there were times that I chuckled at least. I don’t want to spoil any of the jokes, but I don’t think that the older than dinosaurs joke “Why did the chicken cross the road?” would have ever been as funny as it was in this game. Also, the way Jerry learns the spells sends him out into interesting and unique settings which seems to break up the games usual setting of Mousewood. It’s also a bit engaging interacting with the different characters as you help them solve their problems.
However, as fun as some of the characters are, they actually represent one of the weakest aspects to this game, which is weird as the characters in Deponia was one of the strongest aspects. Jerry works as a protagonist in this game even if he’s incredibly archetypal of the “boy meant for great things” and never really strays too far from just being an enthusiastic kid who wants to be a magician. The problem is with everyone else as they never break out of their broad characterization. A special mention has to go to the Marquis de Hoto who remains to be this mysterious figure throughout the game who never breaks out of this confident, magical teacher that Jerry can aspire to be. There are a couple of times where he would get miffed by a couple of off-beat situations that breaks him out of this persona he’s been trying to keep. It makes it seem like the story is going to take this character in an interesting direction, but it never really goes that far and he just remains static throughout the entire story.
Admirable Qualities the Game Presents
I know it sounds like I’m being really down on this game, especially when I said The Night of the Rabbit does have some admirable qualities. So, what is there to like in this game?
Well, for one thing, the overall look of this game is pretty outstanding.
…the setting never gets tiring
The environments are rich with color and detail, the characters are visually distinct and recognizable, and it’s all just pleasant to look at each setting in general. While the game rarely takes you through other settings other than Mousewood, the setting never gets tiring, and there’s a time where you can switch between night and day which keeps the same setting feeling fresh as they feel like different places from the sunlight and moonlight. Also, the soundtrack is pretty incredible as well, making use of various instruments to provide some powerful melodies.
Since this is a point and click adventure game, the entire game is made up of puzzles that you have to solve in order to advance the plot.
While trial and error is going to come into play, the solutions are never downright baffling and it all makes sense in the end.
The puzzles are usually a downside for games in the genre as the focus is on the story and writing; the game part usually gets in the way of the story. However, in this game, the puzzles do work quite a fair bit. They don’t work entirely though as it can still be unforgiving and they still are a nuisance in killing the pacing of the story, but it’s one of those few times where the puzzle solving is there for the sake of puzzle solving and it can be quite fun to do as they are challenging but remain somewhat consistently logical. The puzzles revolve around picking up items and using them on other things and sometimes they’ll involve spells as well. While trial and error is going to come into play, the solutions are never downright baffling and it all makes sense in the end.
The Night of the Rabbit is a rather enjoyable experience that’s decent enough in the long run, but it still feels like a miss overall. The game feels like it’s reserved just for the avid adventure game fans who prefer their games to be a bit more high class and clever as oppose to what is being marketed to the masses. And there isn’t really anything particularly wrong with that, but had it follow a better story telling approach along with a fun setting and some mildly entertaining puzzles, it would have been something really good. As for now, it’s just merely decent.
BOG’s The Night of the Rabbit Review Score
|Why so high?
Great artwork, colorful environments, some clever dialogue, good music
|Why so low?
Story telling problems, plot structure, and pacing