Night of the Rabbit is the latest game from prolific point and click specialists Daedelic. Hailing from Hamburg, Germany, they are best known for the well received Deponia games and for publishing the utterly charming Machinarium, giving you some idea of the quality of this upcoming title.
Their games generally don’t try to reinvent the wheel and Night of the Rabbit is no different.
Our main character in the game is a young boy named Jerry, whose greatest dream is become a great magician. With two glorious days of childhood adventuring before the return of school, Jerry’s first task is to collect some blackberries for his mother to bake a pie, and this forms a tutorial which is brief but still feels a little patronising to point and click veterans. However soon after this, Jerry receives a flying, triangular letter instructing him to create something called a ‘Carrot Flame’ which forms the games first lengthy puzzle. It’s here that it soon becomes clear that the context sensitive interface and unobtrusive load times (you can also double click on an exit and be into the adjacent area instantly) allow the game to be almost effortlessly playable, crucial in a game of this type.
This strange device leads Jerry to a magic box that leads to being introduced to an anthropomorphic giant rabbit called Marquis de Hoto who wishes the young boy to be his apprentice and whisks him away to the magical world of Mousewood, where he must undergo a series of trial to become a magician.
The nature of the story, and the bright, hand drawn graphics, consisting of lots of colour surrounded by thick black outlines, give the distinct impression of the game being aimed at a younger audience, though it’s charm could equally appeals to a more mature audience, despite the absence of any humour or darker themes. I certainly found it a pleasant place to be in. One thing that does stand out in this sense is the music, which can be surprisingly morose in parts, and has undercurrents of sad wistfulness, hinting at possible darker themes to come.
Puzzles are the fairly standard interact object A with object B, but Jerry will pick up spells throughout the course of the story. One of these encountered in the preview is the ability to look through a coin and see past the world in front of him, into some form of spirit world. This was essential to complete a few puzzles and I even forgot about the ability so it will be interesting to see how even more spell and abilities are incorporated, as the developers have promised a wider variety of spells in the finished game.
Also promised but not encountered in the preview are collectables such as decks of cards or magical dew drops, which will flesh out the back story of the world Jerry finds himself in. A quick look at the bonus menu revealed a variety of audio reading, videos, sticker and the like that will be available as you progress through the game.
Night of the Rabbit is close to release (29/05/2013) and despite some clear declarations from the developer that some background, animation and cut scene effects are yet to be finished, the preview felt highly polished, despite the very occasional rough sound mix or slight unfinished quality to a cut scene. With the preview a comfortable two to three hours of gameplay, and being one sixth of the whole game, Daedelic’s latest promises to be a lengthy adventure.
If point and click’s are your thing, you would do well to keep your eye out for this title. Great to look at and charming, it is slick in execution and is uncomplicated to play. Even if the slightly childlike pitching may put you off, there looks to be enough charm here to offer something to gamers of all ages.