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Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes

Score: 78%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes is the sequel to Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, a German game that was brought to the states a little while back. While I didn't get a chance to play the original, I've done enough research on the topic to know that you don't really need to know a lot about The Breakout to play through Harvey's New Eyes, in fact, you don't even play as Edna or her stuffed rabbit, Harvey. Instead, you take on the role of a strange and quiet, though disturbed, little girl named Lilli.

The visuals of Harvey's New Eyes keep to the style used in the first game. Stylized and cartoony people and locations give the game a child-like appearance, and with only a casual glance, the game can be mistaken for something with a much more upbeat tone than it actually has. Of course, this is primarily due to Lilli's issues and the fact that she doesn't seem to really recognize the havoc she brings about her, but more on that later.

Sound-wise, Harvey's New Eyes is fully voiced so that each of the characters has a distinct personality. Everyone from the Mother Superior at the convent to the crazy old man who looks like a science room skeleton stands out in his or her own right. Oddly enough, Lilli herself doesn't say more than the occasional "umm" and "err" as she attempts to hold very one-sided conversations with everyone. As an interesting twist, instead of Lilli coming out and saying what she wants to ask, when you select a dialogue option, the person you are talking to answers the question by restating it. For instance, if you wanted to ask about a recipe that someone stole from you, Lilli would just make some random noise and the person you are talking to would start their comment with "Oh, you're looking for that recipe?" or something to that effect.


Gameplay:

Like I said above, Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes is a follow-up to Edna's previous adventure. Edna is now a child living at a convent and when word gets around that Dr. Marcel, apparently the antagonist from the last game, is coming to the convent, she asks her best friend, Lilli, to help her escape before the doctor shows up.

Quite frankly, the story is okay, but nothing to make you really stand up and take notice. Very few characters show any real depth, and even the game's most important characters, like Edna and Lilli, don't tie any emotional strings to the player. This means that the mayhem and death that follows Lilli has very little effect on the player, but then again, given Lilli's strange personality, those events don't have much effect on her either.

Needless to say, Lilli is an odd character. She does everything she is told and handles every chore without question, but for some reason, disaster follows her every step. This is mostly due to the fact that Lilli is apparently a psychopath. The game is presented as if the player is being told a story, but it soon becomes clear that the narrator is Lilli's own inner voice telling the player what is going on. At first, you just notice little things like the narrator not quite explaining what actually happens in a scene, but there are times when his voice changes and he more or less commands Lilli to do things that shouldn't be done. The player is also treated to some of Lilli's odd delusions like seeing gnomes painting park benches or masks talking to her. What results is an odd feeling of not only following what Lilli is doing, but also identifying with her strange ways and learning how to solve problems the way this crazy little girl would.

A prime example of Lilli's internal problems comes in an early puzzle where Lilli not only drops a beehive on a boy's head, but then sics a nest of termites on him, only to ignore the corpse left behind and assume the boy simply decided to leave.


Difficulty:

There are two things that make a really great adventure game. One is story, and, like I said above, Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes's is okay but something you are likely to forget once you've beaten the game. The other is the puzzles, and Harvey's New Eyes not only has some strange and twisted puzzles, but I never really found myself stumped.

I recently played an iPad game called Pilot Brothers. This strange duo's adventure game had puzzles that were not just outside of the box, but there was no box in sight. In my review of that game, I said that it felt like the developers were trying to mimic the feel of Sam & Max, but failed. I also said that it could be just because I couldn't get into the characters' heads. Well, Harvey's New Eyes not only puts you in control of another crazy character that is reminiscent of Sam & Max, but it did so in a way that I was always able to solve the problem at hand. Maybe its just my own personal brand of crazy that lets me align more with Lilli than the Pilot Brothers, but for whatever reason, I was able to charge through any problem this strange game threw at me. I can't even say that the game is simply easy, I was just able to see how Lilli would solve the problems and know what tools I needed for what jobs.


Game Mechanics:

Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes is an adventure game through and through. Everything about it hearks back to the mid 90's where point-and-click inventory puzzles reigned supreme. A subtle difference between this game's controls and most like it is how it handles the cursor. One detail that you have to get right in an adventure game, and not all games succeed, is how to convey to the player what actions he or she can make.

Some games handle this by providing a list of options near the cursor that the player can choose, while others let you scroll through the different possibilities with the wheel. Harvey's New Eyes only has, at most, two options for each item you can interact with, and if there are two options, the cursor is split down the middle with each side representing a left or right mouse click. If you can look at something and pick it up, the right button has the look icon while the left side has the grab icon. It's a simple solution, and while it isn't the first time I've seen it, it is one that I've always felt works well and is worth mentioning.

Another feature, and one I am seeing more and more in adventure games, is the ability to press the Spacebar to see all of the items on the screen you can interact with. This not only includes objects to see and use, but also ways out of the current screen and into a different location. Again, this isn't anything new, but it is a trend that I've been seeing more and more and felt it was worth pointing out here in Harvey's New Eyes.

Overall, Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes is an amusing game with a weak story, but one strange and crazy character. If you like the demented antics of Sam & Max, then this game is worth checking out, and while I can't really speak for the followers of Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, it seems like fans of that game should enjoy this new adventure.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7, 2GHz Single Core / 1.8GHz Dual Core CPU, 1.5 GB RAM (Vista/7: 2 GB RAM), DirectX9.0c-Compatible Sound Card, OpenGL 2.0-Compatible Graphics Card with at Least 256 MB of Dedicated RAM (ATI Radeon or Nvidia Geforce recommended), 3.5 GB Hard Drive Space
 

Test System:



Windows 7 Ultimate, Intel i7 X980 3.33GHz, 12 GB RAM, Radeon HD 5870 Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c

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