||Gaming Furever Scoring|
|Night of the Rabbit||› 4 / 5 ‹|
This is a game that needs to be appreciated for lengths at a time; open it up during a lazy Sunday afternoon, prop your feet up by the fire, and drown yourself in an incredible world. If you let it draw you in, you won't want to come back out, and isn’t it so rare that one could say that these days?
||May 28th, 2013||Final Score||4/5|
The point-and-click adventure genre has been a longstanding bastion of quality in video gaming. Titles like Day of the Tentacle, Monkey Island, and The Dig are ubiquitous to everyone that considers themselves a gamer, formative experiences for many, and archaic, if important, milestones in history for the rest. The amusingly ancient technique of "picking everything up and rubbing it on everything else" style of puzzle solution has always lingered like a dark cloud over more recent adventure games, and as more advanced, streamlined games continue to come out, interest in the storied genre has flickered to a mere candle in the dark.
It's unfortunate, then, that a game as incredibly, meticulously crafted as The Night of the Rabbit goes unnoticed, as it solves nearly every problem inherent in the genre.
Let us begin with the very first section of the game, the gentle easing into rusted mechanics of yesteryear. As your character, a young boy named Jerry, awakens, a friendly, if slightly off-puttingly accurate radio turns on and pulls you through a small tutorial. It takes its time - admittedly painstakingly - to introduce you to the mechanics as much as it can, assuming the player to have never even touched a point-and-click game. From there, you're gently pushed in the direction of the game proper, a few simple puzzles to whet your appetite - quite literally, as they involve berry bushes, which ramp up radically in complexity and difficulty - thankfully, the game’s logic is very solid in that regard, with extremely few puzzles leaving you with your head in your hands.
And then you meet a talking rabbit.
The game's strongest points are what really matter in an adventure game - atmosphere and narrative. The dialogue, music, and beautiful graphics wind themselves together into an incredibly believable and engaging world. What's most impressive is the voice acting; none of it seems phoned-in or phony. Every single well-written line of dialogue is immaculately delivered, each animal-person's voice befitting their species and role. The church mice are nervous and skittish, the squirrels hyperactive and playful, the owls stoic and serious and wise. The art itself is very smooth, stylish, and detailed without being at all muddled, one failing of many adventure games before it, though it lacks in any really high production values that could send it over the top.
You almost feel like you're there.
As a game, it reveals a triumphant mechanic to negate the tiring and pace-shattering trend of 'pixel-hunting' that adventure games tend to have. On every screen, upon pressing a designated button, Jerry will look through his lucky coin and reveal every single currently intractable object in the screen. This does not break immersion, nor make any puzzles any easier - you're a magician in training, after all, and you still have to figure out how to insert rod A into corner B. It merely removes countless minutes of frustrating clicking and mental note-taking that shatters a game’s pace.
While not exactly a full criticism of the game itself, as it’s extremely intentional, the game's initial pace can be considered 'glacial.' The beginning tutorial was irritatingly slow, and all the time spent in low-control situations and cutscenes in the first half hour or so were very trying on this reviewer's patience. However, again, this is extremely deliberate by the game's designers - every rock is overturned, every step taken in measured breaths, and, once allowed to take hold and be the immersive expanse it is, it picks up and shines.
Very rarely does the aesthetic work against itself - mostly in momentary mingling of setpieces from separate areas.
This is not a game that one could take little bits and pieces out of, snippets of playtime during the hectic midweek evenings people use to unwind without obligation. This is a game that needs to be appreciated for lengths at a time; open it up during a lazy Sunday afternoon, prop your feet up by the fire, and drown yourself in an incredible world. If you let it draw you in, you won't want to come back out, and isn’t it so rare that one could say that these days?
Vostok's Final Score: 4 out of 5