Wonderland Nights: White Rabbit’s Diary – Review
Follow Genre: Visual novel
Developer: Sky Bear Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Platform: PC, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Tested on: Switch

Wonderland Nights: White Rabbit’s Diary – Review

Site Score
Good: An intriguing set of sidestories filled with fleshed out characters
Bad: Audiovisual presentation is lacking
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

With Wonderland Nights: White Rabbits Diary, publisher Ratalaika Games is adding another visual novel to their growing library. This title, which takes inspiration from the popular story of Alice in Wonderland, was developed by Sky Bear Games and won multiple awards upon its initial release on PC in 2020. Console players can now also experience the game and venture down the rabbit hole to discover what Wonderland Nights has in store. Did Sky Bear Games put a Cheshire grin on our face or is it off with their heads?


We’re all familiar with the story of Alice in Wonderland, and how our heroine ended up living happily ever after once she finds her way home, but what happened to Wonderland itself once she left? That’s the question that this visual novel aims to answer, and things start off directly where Alice’s adventures end. With the Queen of Hearts dead, the Heartlands are plunged into chaos. Hera, heir to the throne and successor to the evil Queen, attempts to take control but the other Kingdoms that make up greater Wonderland are also eyeing up the position of ultimate ruler. In the middle of this geopolitical conflict, we find the familiar faces of the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat. This unlikely duo must rapidly find their new roles in a situation where the balance of power is constantly shifting, lest they end up as outcasts. To make matters even worse, Alice is still on everyone’s minds, with Wonderland’s inhabitants afraid that she might return and make things even worse.

We didn’t quite expect a visual novel set in Lewis Carol’s psychedelic fantasy world to present us with a tale of political intrigue that would rival Game of Thrones, yet here we are. Sky Bear Games expands on the familiar cast with a wide array of noble characters, and while we can’t exactly go into detail about them, because getting to know these characters is what the game is all about, rest assured that you’ll grow to know and love many of them. There is more than just politics in play here, as these characters all have their hopes, dreams, and secrets, and as you play through Wonderland Nights again and again, you’ll discover the ins and outs of each character. The excellent writing is the highlight here, with clever twists and turns and plenty of humor.


The visuals for Wonderland Nights were provided by established illustrator Rose Northey, and as much as we like her other work, we do feel like that in this case, they’re more of a miss than a hit. The overall aesthetic feels like a mix of actual medieval illustrations with the artwork you’d expect to see in a deck of traditional playing cards, which makes sense given the source material. In practice, however, the artwork comes across as cluttered and messy, and the White Rabbit in particular isn’t consistent in its design. Given that Wonderland Nights is presented through static images, performance isn’t an issue here, so there’s that at least.


There is an impressive amount of dialogue present in Wonderland Nights, and surprisingly enough, the game is fully voice acted. Granted, the voice acting is a bit of a mixed bag, with many of the performances coming across as hammy or forced. While this might be deliberate, because the majority of the cast consists of snooty royalty, it didn’t quite land with us. Likewise, the background music fails to add any meaningful value to the game and often doesn’t line up with the emotions that are being portrayed by the characters. To make matters worse, the audio mixing isn’t up to par, with specific character voices being significantly louder than others, and we ultimately resorted to simply turning off the game’s audio altogether.


Although Wonderland Nights is billed as a visual novel, there is a lot more to it than you’d expect if you’re only familiar with titles like Caffeine or fault – StP – LIGHTKRAVTE. There are actual gameplay elements present here, and these are your main tool in shaping the future of Wonderland, by matchmaking potential rulers and influencing the political situation. Players take on the role of the White Rabbit, who acts as the personal assistant to the new Queen of Hearts. The royal families from the other three kingdoms visit the Heartlands and it’s up to you to plan how they spend their day. By putting specific representatives together you’ll manipulate which alliances are formed, and how people vote over things like war, trade, nation borders, and even the use of magic. You don’t have direct control over the kings, queens, and their offspring for which you schedule meetings, and it’s a matter of seeing how things play out during conversations and adjusting the schedule for the next day accordingly. With only four days to shape the future of Wonderland, and the Queen of Hearts threatening to separate your head from your body, you sure have your work cut out for you if you are to ensure that your goals align with her interests.

Planning a day is simple enough in theory. You simply select one of six activities, including jousting, tennis, falconry, croquet, music, or high tea, and assign two royals to each. Each royal has a specific set of hidden likes and dislikes and this influences how they respond both to the activity and who they are partnered with. It’s likely that you’ll end up having to rely on trial and error on your first few runs of Wonderland Nights, but you’ll gradually get to know the characters and improve your matchmaking on subsequent attempts to make it to the “good” ending. Information you learn about characters is logged in the Cheshire Cat’s codex, which becomes an increasingly helpful tool as you return to Wonderland over and over again, seeing how different pairings play, while also unlocking more achievements.

You’d half expect a game with so many factors to keep in mind to suffer from an unclear and obtuse interface, but things were surprisingly intuitive. In this regard, Wonderland Nights stands in stark contrast with something like Long Live the Queen, which is the most similar title in terms of concept that we’ve played recently. We were also particularly impressed with the sheer amount of in-game events present in Wonderland Nights. There is technically a finite number of possibilities, given that there is a set number of days, royals, and activities, but there are hundreds of in-game events. Wonderland Nights narrowly avoids the pitfall of becoming a repetitive affair where you get the feeling that your choices don’t really matter and where only one or two minor details change on a second playthrough. In this regard, it’s perhaps the most impressive choice-driven visual novel we’ve ever encountered. The game does offer a ‘skip read text’ option as well as a log, which are certainly welcome additions.

That said, there are a handful of elements present here that prevent Wonderland Nights from reaching perfection. Seeing the individual stories and interpersonal relationships between the royals play out is delightful, but the framework that Wonderland Nights is built around can be a bit of a slog. The voting rounds that bookend each day are particularly repetitive and egregious. The threats that the Queen of Hearts utters towards the White Rabbit feel hollow and empty once you realize that there isn’t a true “bad” ending, even if you fail to meet her goals. Even so, there is plenty to like here and once you become invested in the little side stories and aim to collect every possible achievement, you’ll start to see the hours simply fade away, which is ironic given the White Rabbit’s obsession with time management. Add to this that the game doesn’t exactly break the bank either with its €6.99/$6.99 pricing, and you’ve got a visual novel that is well worth considering.


Despite the underwhelming audiovisual presentation, we were drawn into Wonderland Nights in ways we didn’t quite expect. The political intrigue and interpersonal relationships between the various characters ensured that we became invested. Wonderland Nights turned out to be an unexpected timesink, as we didn’t even come close to seeing everything play out despite putting several hours into the game. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as we can look forward to returning to Wonderland over the next few times, chipping away at those achievements. The game’s ace in the hole is the low price point, which ensures that picking this one up is a no-brainer for genre fans.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Wonderland Nights: White Rabbit's Diary - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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