Posted: December 27, 2013
There's a lot to say about this game. There's so much about it that I loved, and though it has its flaws, I think the pros far outweigh the cons.
First and foremost, the real pleasure of this game is in exploring the world. Its environment and ambiance are fantastic. The art style, the many yet small world-building details, the sense of history and mythology, and the characters populating Mousewood all give layers upon layers to this world. And that's just the area in and around Mousewood--as the plot progresses, more worlds are opened to the main character, Jerry, and though they're less detailed than the "home world" of Mousewood, they're each interesting and beautiful in their own ways. They all contribute to the overall environment. I was definitely immersed.
Secondly, the story. (I won't give an overview of the basic plot, because the previews and official overview tell you everything you need to know on that front.) In the early stages of the game, I wasn't sure if the central plot would really solidify, and that might be one of the game's flaws--the main plot takes some time to launch. In the beginning of the game Jerry spends most of his time helping the inhabitants of Mousewood in small ways. The purpose is obviously to familiarize the player with Mousewood and with all the characters, and in that sense it did contribute to the world-building; however, it did feel a bit slow in places. When hints of the central plot did show through, they seemed a bit disjointed, all vaguely connected but with no discernible purpose or relationship. It was almost like soup that wouldn't thicken, and it did distract me at times. However, as I got farther into the game (especially at about the halfway point), the hints started coming together. The soup thickened. And the further I played, the more I found the story to be multilayered and imaginative. The final scenes of the game really click everything into place. The end made me want to immediately replay the game so I could more fully appreciate all the hints dropped in the beginning.
I'm not sure if this is a pro or con, but the puzzles were largely unremarkable. There were a few stand out puzzles I enjoyed, but for the most part they were pretty obvious.
The real flaws of the game, in my opinion, are more mechanical than substantive. The voice acting is often overwhelmed by the music/ambient noises in the game (bird calls, wind, bug noises, etc.). I'm not really sure what the problem is, if it's particular to my computer or to the game's software (I think it's probably the latter), but in many scenes I could just barely hear the voices with my speaker volume turned almost all the way up--which is a shame, because I liked the voice acting that I could actually hear. Sometimes there are strangely-placed, longish pauses in dialogue that feel awkward and make scenes drag. And though I do love the art, the moving animation can be a bit stilted.
Whether or not you buy the game depends on the experience you're looking for. If you want something fast-paced and high-action, I would pass. If you're looking for a fun, detailed world with colorful characters, and you have the patience to wait until the very end of the game to understand the full complexity of the plot, then I would highly recommend The Night of the Rabbit.