Video Game Review: Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes
For any fans of point-and-click adventure games, Daedalic Entertainment should be a familiar name. The German developer and publisher have earned a fair bit of recognition, particularly concerning their skill in bringing some of the best adventure games to the consumers. Titles such as Machinarium, Tales of Monkey Island, Gemini Rue, and Deponia have helped solidify their status as a champion for adventure game enthusiasts. Their latest adventure, pun wholeheartedly intended, is Edna & Harvey’s: Harvey’s New Eyes.
As you may have surmised from the title, Harvey’s New Eyes is a sequel to the 2011 release Edna & Harvey: The Breakout. This time around, the previous hero, Edna, plays second fiddle to Harvey’s New Eyes new protagonist Lilli. Lilli is a young, blond, mostly speechless girl who lives in a convent with several other children. Unfortunately for her, she has earned the acrimony of the Mother Superior Ignatz and has been tasked with all the menial chores required to maintain the convent. These tasks require, as one would expect, puzzle solving, and lead Lilli on her, well, adventure. But, as with all adventure games, the story is the meat of the game, so revealing anything more would defeat the purpose of playing it.
All in all, Harvey’s New Eyes is a fairly standard affair, including unusual conversations derived from unusual characters while solving seemingly simple tasks with unusual solutions. Adventure games, point-and-clicks in particular, have a specific rational and logic that is required on behalf of the player to progress in a timely fashion. I do not possess that specific rational and logic and thus, I am not one of those players.
At certain points in Harvey’s New Eyes, game play devolved into a tempestuous storm of trial-and-error, looking for one specific item, or combination thereof, hindering all progress until said item is found and or used. This frustration is only further compounded by the ability to predict and solve some puzzles before they had been presented to Lilli. Daedalic Entertainment seems acutely aware of this and have implemented the ability to tap the spacebar to highlight areas that can be interacted with. This simple addition prevents players from having to scan the entire screen with their cursor, looking for that one last object required to progress. In acts of self-deprecation, the writers manage to turn this weakness into charming quips.
Despite this, the humor managed to starve off the willingness to quit the game. Despite the vibrant and colorful art with a hand drawn appearance, reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, it is thematically an intensely dark game. For example, Lilli, despite being a young, shy girl may or may not, in fact, be a mass murderer. Such innocent art contrasting the theme creates a surprisingly provocative experience. This dichotomy is further expounded by the writer’s ability to write cringeworthy humor just as well as the clean.
While point-and-click adventure games are far from my favorite genre, the fact that Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes was able to keep me engrossed, despite my frustrations, speaks volumes about the quality of the experience. The humor is the only reservation I have when recommending this game to the average consumer. While it was the key factor in keeping my attention, humor is exceedingly subjective. Should this particular style of absurd and potentially offensive humor not align with your own, there is nothing else to warrant purchase.