It’s two days until the summer hols end, and young Jerry is determined to have one last great adventure before he succumbs to the drudgery of school, homework and the inevitable toilet head dunking courtesy of overweight bullies. At first his amazing escapades consist of collecting berries and chatting with his mum, but Jerry soon gets his wish when a supernatural letter flies into his mailbox. It appears to be some kind of mysterious incantation, and without so much as a ‘gee, I wonder if this might raise Beelzebub and bring about the end of the world’, Jerry sets out to gather the necessary ingredients and perform some witchcraft. So begins Night of the Rabbit, the latest point n click adventure game from Daedalic Entertainment (Deponia, Edna & Harvey).
Thankfully the incantation doesn't conjure up any dark lords – just a six-foot talking rabbit with impeccable dress taste. He introduces himself as the Marquis de Hoto and promises to teach Jerry all the magic he’ll ever need - presumably an anti-toilet-dunk spell, and some way to turn invisible and sneak into the girls’ changing rooms. Not exactly enthralled by the prospect of more berry picking, Jerry buggers off to a mystical town where he finds himself rubbing shoulders with mice, voles and other oversized woodland creatures.
We’ve already played the first three hours of Night of the Rabbit, charting Jerry’s initial exploration of the town, and so far we love what we’ve seen. The artwork will be immediately familiar to anyone who’s played the Deponia series, consisting of beautiful hand-drawn scenes and characters with a cartoony slant. And what a set of characters. From a desperate street vendor and his strangely mute son, to a mischievous Leprechaun who likes to steal tools, you’ll meet all manner of frankly mental creatures. Even the seemingly normal cast members, such as the well-spoken and dignified Marquis, give the impression that there’s all manner of surprises lurking beneath the surface.
Jerry’s adventure starts off quite low-key, with no real antagonist to defeat (aside from a malevolent crow and the aforementioned Leprechaun) and no real threats to speak of. You’ll find yourself helping out the town residents with their little problems instead, and preparing for some kind of initiation ceremony to welcome Jerry to his new home.
Despite this, we never felt that Night of the Rabbit’s beginning was ‘slow’ (although some undoubtedly will be put off). Instead it’s a gently paced introduction to the characters, which is entertaining thanks to the off-the-wall conversations and pleasing visuals. We’re also interested to see how Jerry’s mystical vision – the ability to see things that others can’t – plays out. At the basic level, it highlights any collectible items and hotspots, which is a great relief if you find yourself stuck because you didn’t pick up a stick three screens back. However, it also comes in handy for revealing portals and invisible creatures, including the damn pesky Leprechaun.
Night of the Rabbit is released on May 29, and we’ll bring you a full review soon!