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The Night of the Rabbit – The Verdict

The Night of the Rabbit – The Verdict

I have to admit that I’m a sucker for a game with a good story, and it’s clear from the get go that The Night of the Rabbit is a game with a good story. From the orchestral music to the intricately hand drawn world, from the solid voice acting performances to the care and attention that has been given to the delivery of the story and its characters. All of these elements create a believable and engaging world that brings me back to my childhood and the excitement and enthusiasm I had for hearing stories of adventure and discovery.

To compare The Night of the Rabbit to any of Daedalic’s previous games would be a disservice to the company as this is clearly a different game with a different message to put across to the player. This particular story tells the tale of every child who grew up with an imagination and a dream of one day doing something amazing with their lives. This story tells the tale of Jeremiah Hazelnut, the boy who dreamt of one day becoming a magician. Little did Jerry know that his dream was not as improbable as first imagined and the journey that he takes in order get there is set in motion by a chance encounter with a rabbit pulled from a hat.

The mechanics and gameplay are much the same as you would expect from any adventure game, a few unique additions in the form of spells and magical items do keep the gameplay fresh however. Along the way Jerry can learn spells that let him turn night into day (or vice versa), see invisible leprechauns or even converse with rocks leading to much hilarity and an inventory rammed with miscellaneous items. The humour is gentle and amusing, appearing often enough to keep you smiling but not so often that you get tired of its tone and direction. This fits very well with the type of story The Night of the Rabbit is trying to portray, not distracting the player too much from its main points but often giving you a line of dialogue to chuckle over.

The Night of the Rabbit Screenshot Daedalic Entertainment Steam PC Point and Click Adventure

From the initial scenes of Jerry waking up to discover he still has two days of summer holiday left to the exploration of Mousewood, The Night of the Rabbit really performs well at keeping me engaged in the story. The unravelling mysteries of the forest keep me second guessing the direction of the story and how to progress with the game. Who are the mysterious foxes and lizards seen in Mousewood? Will I ever get to meet the Great Zaroff? And just what exactly is blue juice made from? The Night of the Rabbit is not without its flaws of course and with so many directions in which to venture the pacing of the game does suffer somewhat after the first visit to the town of Mousewood. It’s almost as if the games has its own Inception of puzzles, within puzzles, within… you get the idea.

On occasion one of these puzzles can prove illogical to the point that it slows the gameplay down to a crawl, halting progression and negating from the pleasant atmosphere of the gameplay. There is also an annoying oversight where the in-game journal does not record the information you would expect it to. On one or two occasions this meant I had to cycle thorough a whole riddle multiple times in order to dissect the meaning of each individual part. This on its own would not be such a major problem, but coupled with the before mentioned logical mind-boggling and you can find yourself going round in circles and resorting to trial and error in order to advance in the game.

The Night of the Rabbit Screenshot Daedalic Entertainment PC Steam Adventure Point and Click

While I would say that The Night of the Rabbit is clearly aimed at a younger audience, there is plenty here for gamers of all ages to enjoy such as the challenging puzzles and enjoyable world and characters. The game often hints at popular culture giving references to characters like Harry Potter and Mario and the general nostalgic feel of games like Monkey Island will keep 2D adventure veterans thoroughly content. With a play length of 9-11 hours there is plenty of game for your money. On top of the main story there are also collectibles, achievements and a card game that can extend the life of the game beyond even that.

It’s a rare thing that a game delivers such a warm sense of nostalgia and with The Night of the Rabbit being as detailed and well presented as it is, it’s easy to overlook its minor flaws. Even personal irritants such as characters talking over each other and the flawed hinting system seemed insignificant as soon as I entered another beautifully hand drawn area or met another of the games charming characters.

Verdict – Headshot

Platforms Available – PC
Platform Reviewed – PC

Review based on a copy provided by Daedalic Entertainment.

Please check this post for more on our scoring policy.

Tales of Monkey Island Episode 4 – The Verdict

Tales of Monkey Island Episode 4 – The Verdict

The name's  Threepwood... Guybrush Threepwood.
Agent Guybrush Threepwood: License to Keelhaul.

We’re now at the penultimate episode of Telltale’s adventures of Guybrush Threepwood, and it’s fairly easy to say that The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood is the best one yet. Indeed, it’s the best Telltale game out of everything they’ve produced. But at the same time, it’s also the episode that makes it very clear that these singular episode reviews are becoming more and more redundant. Which is a horrible thing to admit in any review, never mind the first paragraph. Bear with me here.

At the end of the last installment, Guybrush and LeFlay escaped from the belly of a giant manatee, and Guybrush has finally recovered La Esponja Grande in order to remove the Vodoo Pox currently ravaging all of pirate kind. However a betrayal from LeFlay sees the pair returning to Flotsam Island from the first episode to face his de facto nemesis (LeChuck without his vodoo pox working for the forces of Good) Marquis DeSinge. It’s a given to assume things don’t quite go according to plan and Guybrush finds himself in Pirate Court on trial for three completely unrelated misdemeanours – for which you must help Threepwood be found innocent, setting up your first puzzle for this episode. This episode also marks the return of a new classic character from the series is introduced and this time it’s the turn of Stan – the salesman with the funky jacket always trying to make a quick buck – who turns out to be your prosecutor, along with the reintroduction of some of the pirates from earlier episodes.

From used ship salesman to prosecutor. Not a huge career shift, then.
Telltale's version of Stan looks far better than his Escape incarnation.

This episode really shows that Telltale have been learning a lot this series. It’s a welcome relief to acknowledge that the rules of three puzzle system that had pretty much been the cornerstone of previous Telltale games finally put to rest, or at the very least be far less obvious this time around. There’s even a little nod to the annoyance of the rather lacklustre sound based jungle navigation puzzle of the first episode. The characters that were largely deadweight in earlier episodes have been culled, leaving only the really defined ones which is a marked improvement on earlier episodes. They feel as if they’ve had far more attention put into them, the bipolar judge/barkeep and Stan being particular highlights in this respect. There was a slight worry – and I know Steve mentioned this in his review of the previous episode – that Telltale would rely too heavily on the fan service to the detriment of the rest of the game, but this episode proves those doubts to be unfounded.

As has been the case all season, this episode continues the tradition of shining in the script department. Dialogue is genuinely funny and some of the scenes are marvellous. Anyone following the story so far knew Elaine and LeFlay were eventually going to meet and not only does the payoff deliver, it does so with aplomb – it’s one of the finest and funniest scenes in the episode. The puzzles are still for the most part well done, but I do hope Telltale start including less locks in subsequent episodes – it has the negative side effect of making it look like they’re slightly running out of steam with the current catch all solution to them with the same one being used three times. Overall they’re tiny components of the overall puzzles and thus a small niggle, but hopefully the last episode is setting up to solve this problem. There’s also a puzzle towards the end that, although makes logical sense once figured out, seems to ignore previously established game logic and might be a bit of a stumbling block. Again though, these are only minor faults in what is overall, an excellent adventure game.

Ahh, typical marital bliss.
Ahh, typical marital bliss.

So, back to the original point about this review being largely useless: as it stands, I’m telling you how good each individual episode is. The main problem with the game is that without playing the other episodes, this one is simply not going to make much sense on it’s own. To truly get the best out of it, you’ve got to play through the series. Yet at the same time, the episodes are not available individually. So as a review I’m faced with a bit of a dilemma – why should I mark this episode down because it doesn’t stand well on it’s own when it’s not even available alone? Well, it’s more of a self inflicted dilemma – this episode is certainly good enough to justify a purchase of the entire season. If you’ve been holding off buying until the complete package is out I dare say this may make you bring your decision forward a month, because it’s already worthy of standing proud in your collection and certainly to stand alongside the other Monkey Island games on it’s own merit.

The best TV series provide plenty of “Did you see?” moments the next day you want to talk about to people who’ve seen it, while simultaneously not give away too much to those that haven’t because you want them to experience it themselves. Sam & Max and Homestar became repetitive, and Wallace and Gromit massively ran out of steam towards the end. With Tales of Monkey Island, Telltale have finally nailed it. If the ending to this episode doesn’t make you look forward and excited for the next episode then it’s simply not for you. For the rest of us, The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood cements it – Tales of Monkey Island is good enough to deserve a renewal for another season.

A Pretty Bloody Good Game
Sail of the Century