Опубликовано: 15 декабря
The Night of the Rabbit is a splendid point-and-click adventure. The storytelling, aesthetics, and puzzle-centric gameplay are all somewhere between solid and outstanding. In all, it's like playing through a really good children's book, complete with lovable characters, sinister villains, and some surprisingly complex moral lessons.
Right off the bat, when you start playing this game, you will notice one of the game's biggest strengths--the lovely visuals. The Night of the Rabbit is simply beautiful. And even though each screen features a tremendous amount of detail, the game's various areas never seem cluttered. Important points of interest, such as items to pick up and tools to manipulate, are subtly and effectively foregrounded so that most (but not all) will draw your notice quickly as you explore new places.
The gorgeous environments go a long way toward shaping this game's effective atmosphere, as does its stellar music. Just listen to the title music at some point--it's lovely, evocative, and downright moving. Regardless of where you are in the game, you will be tempted to slow down and simply look and listen. The orchestrations usually focus on one or two instruments (such as fiddle, flute, or xylophone), and the music definitely carries a live-recorded vibe.
But while the game's visuals and atmosphere might be impressive, the game's single greatest strength is in its splendid cast of characters. It's hard to describe, but each and every character truly belongs in this game. Many of the characters can come off as a little one-dimensional at first, but as the game goes on, those same characters receive much greater depth and complexity in most cases (such as Steinberg the dwarf, the Little Man in the Green Hat, and the ornery hare patriarch). The game's cast of rounded, interesting characters even extends to its main villains and heroes. Jerry Hazelnut is not a simple character a la Link from the old Legend of Zelda games. And neither is his mentor, the Marquis de Hoto (and title rabbit)--or his eventual enemies.
The game also features excellent voice acting, which helps deepen the portrayal of the broad and varied cast of characters. Although there are a few oddly read lines here and there, and the subtitle text sometimes differs slightly from the spoken dialogue, the voice acting in this game is really well done overall. The voices for the different characters are as unique and interesting as they are, and the voices blend well into the fabric of the game's world and sense of storytelling. I can't imagine playing this game without listening to the characters' voices.
No point-and-click adventure can succeed without a top-shelf story, and The Night of the Rabbit definitely delivers the goods in this area. The story is rich and interesting, although the overarching plot can get a little confusing at times. This is one of those games that constantly promises that "all will be explained in time," and while most of the game's action doesn't depend on the purposefully obscure plotlines for meaning, it can still seem a little overbearing to go through so much of the game without understanding what is happening on a meta level. You don't even get a clear sense of who the bad guys are or might be until about halfway through the game.
In addition, the game is a little heavy on the front and back ends. There are too many layers of framing around the game in the beginning, and while the game does a nice job of integrating its tutorial so that it doesn't seem completely like a pointless exercise, you will wish the game would just step aside and let you play at first. The game's ending, too, features a lot of text and a lot of story exposition--mostly because the makers of the game save so much of the villains' backstory and motivation for the final sequences.
Nevertheless, The Night of the Rabbit's story somehow manages to live up to its lofty promises. By the end of the game, you really do feel as though you understand all the vagueries the game plagued you with earlier. The roles of the mysterious characters, the identity and purpose of the villains, and your role in bringing a peaceful resolution all come clearly into light at the game's conclusion. That said, I'd say the story's greatest strength is that it doesn't rap up every loose end or explain away every detail. Some characters who are in need at the game's outset are still in need at the game's end. Your actions don't solve every single problem in the game's world--they just show how so many problems can be dealt with through the power of community, friendship, and selflessness.
As a point-and-click adventure, this game requires a methodical approach. If you look everywhere and pay close attention to the game's visual details and textual clues, you can probably progress pretty smoothly. Most of the game's puzzles are highly intuitive, if you can remember which items you have and what the game's context clues suggested those items might be used for. The few times I checked a walkthrough for help, it always turned out that I was on the right track, and it was just the method I was messing up. That is a slight problem though--sometimes you can't easily figure out how to complete puzzles even though you know you're holding the right materials. A few puzzles are a little finicky or require an unintuitive arrangement of steps to complete.
Furthermore, the game's richest gameplay segments come at the beginning and middle. As the game goes on, and you finish exploring the core areas of the world, the game becomes much more linear. Once you reach the point where the game is introducing one new area at a time, you are likely done with the game's most interesting puzzles. Still, the end game's new areas and characters are just as fascinating as those from earlier in the game--and sometimes even more so.
The gameplay also struggles with some pacing issues. Jerry just kind of meanders from place to place regardless of plot context, and there are awkwardly long pauses between many lines of dialogue. The farther you get into the game, the more rough-around-the-edges the animations and loaded events (like subtitles/dialogue) get. But overall, if you can adapt to the game's slow-ish pace, your experience will be that much richer for it.
So yeah, The Night of the Rabbit is essentially an interactive storybook--a good story told by a masterful storyteller. It's lovely, it's deep, and it carries a surprisingly mature message: avoid humanity's darker instincts for selfishness and greed, learn to live peacefully with your friends and neighbors, and nothing is impossible.