The mind of a child is a truly magical thing. Ideas and imagination flow freely and without filtration. The Night of the Rabbit stars Jerry Hazelnut, a young man in the last few days of his summer vacation. After stumbling across a riddle (and after a rather drawn out introduction), our hero meets the Marquis de Hotto – a magician/rabbit who takes Jerry on as an apprentice. Their adventure takes them to many wondrous and whimsical locations.
However not all is as it seems, and bleaker themes become prominent as the quest progresses. Without giving away too much, the goals and motivations of multiple characters become unclear and the story will keep you guessing along the way. In fact the narrative is one of the game’s strongest components, combining strong voice acting with an engaging script and characters who are both creative and memorable. The narrative feels as though it’s being presented with children in mind, but uses language and themes more suitable for a mature audience. It’s an interesting dichotomy, and one I appreciated.
The adventure plays out in a very traditional point and click style. Most of your time will be spent clicking around the world, conversing with anthropomorphic animals and picking up items whose necessity becomes clear once the required puzzle pops up. While the control mechanics are simple and inviting, the puzzles can range from simple one step solutions to vexing multi-step, multi-screen enigmas. While some solutions jump right out at you, others are obscure and demand trial and error. This became irritating at times – sometimes I knew what I needed to do, but the game was waiting for me to take an extremely specific set of steps before I could progress. In other situations I was completely in the dark, and the game offers very little in the way of guidance. Having said that I almost always had a great sense of satisfaction once I broke through the game’s logic.
There are many other interesting features present in the game including a functioning day/night cycle, a basic card game, and a multitude of spells that can be cast. The most helpful feature is the Magic Coin, which highlights all the points in the environment you can interact with, but does little to help you understand their significance.
The Night of the Rabbit is artistically gorgeous. The world is detailed and inventive, with a huge range of aesthetics represented over the course of the game. The characters are straight out of a storybook, and the whole package looks like a watercolor painting. The level of detail is really impressive, and the use of blur and color blending gives a real sense of depth. Such a well realized environment really makes scouring the land for clues a much more welcome exercise. The music also fits well into the environment but takes a back seat to the visual experience Night of the Rabbit offers.
The Night of the Rabbit is visually stunning, and will appeal greatly to fans of the adventure genre. It packs interesting characters and design ideas. Although there are some hiccups in pacing and puzzle design, the overall charm of the world makes it well worth a look.