Preview: The Night of the Rabbit

Preview: The Night of the Rabbit

NightofRabbit4The last Daedalic Entertainment adventure game I played left me in a weird place. Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes has stale puzzle-design and some forgettable characters that detract from the game’s smarter moments when it toys with player agency, and makes you feel horrible about what you’re doing. It was strange in its best moments, unnerving even, and tedious in its worst. But there was something there, underneath it all.

The Night of the Rabbit, Daedalic’s latest adventure game, looks to be aiming for something very different, but equally strange in the three hours (it’s unclear if it counts the amount of time I left it paused) I played it.

Harvey’s New Eyes used its colorful, children’s coloring book art style to form a dichotomy with its violence. In The Night of the Rabbit, the art reinforces the fantastical nature of the story, with its abundance of magic and clothed, talking animals. It works, considering you’re seeing it all through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy.

nightofrabbit2The scenes following young Jerry Hazelnut’s meeting with a bipedal, magical rabbit, who he becomes an apprentice to, remind me of Harry Potter’s trip to Diagon Alley with Hagrid in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone. Both boys are amazed when they’re introduced to a world where magic is used regularly, and all of the mysterious and goofy eyes of its inhabitants are on them.

Like in Harry Potter, The Night of the Rabbit sets up a world I want to learn about. What do the animals eat? What do they do for fun? What do they fear? What do they care about? Many of those questions are answered during the conversations you have, and the environments you can explore. The animals are more than happy to speak to you, and each scene is dense with information. Depending on how interested in it you are, it can be a lot to take in, especially considering much of it isn’t vital to the puzzle solving.

Having only played what was described to me as about 1/6 of the game, it’s hard to see where the puzzle design is going. I solved typical, introductory stuff. I was told what to pick up and how to piece each thing together in the first puzzle, and later on, was mostly poking around to see what I could interact with. Judging from the mysterious opening scene, the game could involve some time-travel/trans-dimensional puzzles. Jerry wears a special coin around his neck that lets you see things you can click on by clicking the middle mouse button, and it can also see things other characters cannot. It’s used once to actually solve a puzzle in what I played, but I could see it being used more later on.


There are hints at bigger things happening, and that’s where I assume the game will start to play with what seems like a uneventful world. I could be wrong, but I get the sense that something weird is coming, much like the latter half of Harvey’s New Eyes, which ended up being my favorite parts of that game.

It’s difficult to see exactly what direction The Night of the Rabbit is heading in, but I can see it’s got a larger story to tackle. Adventure games are incredibly good at pulling you into another world, and The Night of the Rabbit seems to be embracing the strengths of the genre, and has created one worthy of exploring and finding its secrets.

The Night of the Rabbit is scheduled to release on PC and Mac May 29, 2013.