Indie Review: Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes
Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes is the sequel to Edna and Harvey: The Breakout, but you don't have to have played that game to see through this one. Does Harvey's New Eyes provide a good adventure, or is it one to ignore? Read on to find out how it measures up.
- Addictive?Not really, it moves too slowly.
- Worth The Time?Yes, you won't experience something this bizarre anywhere else.
- Things LovedThe sheer lunacy of the game, the way you'll want to keep playing just to see what crazy thing happens next, the black humour, the helpful ability to highlight all objects you can interact with in an area, the perfectly fitting visual style, the soundtrack, the final boss fight.
- Things HatedIt can get quite dull at times, the puzzles are often not very intuitive and you won't have much help in figuring them out, the animation can be a bit choppy, sometimes you wish you could punch the narrator in the face.
- RecommendationIf you want to play something spontaneous, totally without direction, and extremely whack, then this is probably your best bet. Be warned that if you hate getting stuck and would rather impale yourself with a samurai sword than use a walkthrough, rather avoid this.
- Quick ConclusionEdna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes is probably the most bizarre game I've ever played. That's what makes it interesting, and often what makes it good. It has some irritating flaws, and can get quite dull at times, but it's both memorable and enjoyable - and twisted.
- Name: Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes
- Genre: Point & Click Adventure
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: Daedelic Entertainment
- Publisher: Daedelic Entertainment
- Price: $19.99 (R174)
- Reviewed On: PC
Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes is the sequel to Edna and Harvey: The Breakout, but don’t worry, you don’t have to play the first game in order to get into this one. Although, that said, this is definitely the most bizarre game I’ve ever played. In the game you take on the role of Lili, an extremely obedient orphan who lives in a Catholic orphanage and who seems to be unable to talk properly or break any rules. She’s tormented by the cruel Mother Superior, who attacks her for everything she does, and if this isn’t bad enough Lili is also subject to bullying and shunning by her peers. But while Lili simply tries to do as she’s told, people end up dying horrific deaths. However, it’s all wrapped up in a childlike innocence as, for example, gore is painted over in a bright purple by a strange gnome creature. And despite the horror of what’s going on, the game does well to remain humourous and charming.
The story is a bit bonkers, with various highs and lows. For starters, the game is voiced over by a narrator, who tries to be witty and humourous, but is definitely one of those narrators you wish you could punch in the face for the most part. He does get it right sometimes, and I suppose the effect of certain things wouldn’t be as dramatically emphasised without him, but you could argue that it would be less cringe-worthy without him. That said, Harvey’s New Eyes has some very clever writing at times, and the sheer lunacy of the story and its effective black humour is often what drives you to keep playing alone. Sometimes it does feel like it relies on this too much, as if to compensate for the shortcomings in gameplay, but that’s sadly where the issue is. The gameplay underneath can get both quite dull and frustrating at times, and you either may get bored at aimless wondering because you can’t figure out how to progress or you may not appreciate the game’s psychotic sense of humour, and if that’s the case the entire game won’t appeal to you. Unfortunately, that is the reality of Harvey’s New Eyes.
If you do appreciate it, however, then the game’s craziness will definitely manage to inspire you to keep playing on its own, just so you can see what happens next. The gameplay though is your standard point and click adventure game stuff. I very much approve of the game letting you press a button to highlight all objects in an area you can interact with, but despite this feature the puzzles can often not be intuitive at all, and you don’t get much help with them, so I wouldn’t blame you for getting stuck more than a handful of times. Granted, it’s a great move that the game lets you skip certain puzzle sequences if you don’t feel like doing them, but the focus should have been on the game’s hints and logic rather than that. You should be able to work out the solutions, and this game is hit and miss in that. Some puzzles are great, some are easy to work out and some are logical, but many have the most obtuse of methods that forced me to resort to a walkthrough, and I always find that to be annoying.
The game also makes use of a sort of small-scale open-ended puzzle system, where in your immediate environment there can be multiple puzzles to solve and no order to doing them. While this can be pleasing as you’ll be able to abandon certain puzzles you haven’t yet figured out in order to do other ones, it can more often than not lead you to become confused as your inventory piles up and you’re left without any direction of what to do. The catch is that the game’s lunacy will desperately make you want to see what happens next, but some of the frustrating puzzles will hold you back, and that’s an issue because the game becomes less about the gameplay and more about its story and humour, and as I said if it doesn’t appeal to you then it’s very likely that the entire game won’t either.
It will take you about eight hours to play through the game’s three chapters, and that’s something I can commend Harvey’s New Eyes for. It has a solid length, and it definitely becomes unique and whacked up as you progress onto chapter two and be made to use the game’s Restriction system, where Lili is, for story reasons I won’t spoil, prohibited from doing certain actions and will need to unlock them again and then remove one restriction at a time in order to complete puzzles. For example, you may be restricted from playing with fire, so you can opt to select and break this restriction, provided you’ve unlocked it in the story, but then your other restrictions will stand, and you can only have one removed at any given time, by simply clicking on them in the menu to activate or deactivate the restriction. They create inventive scenarios, but as with the rest of the game, often enough you’ll just be stuck for extended periods of time and may need to resort to a walkthrough or be forced to surrender.
The game’s visual style is a perfect fit, and it’s a wonderful mask to the psychopathic violence on display. It looks great, colourful and detailed, and Harvey’s New Eyes deserves full credit for it. The only issue that’s constantly present is that of choppy animation at times with regards to walking and character movement, but for the most part the game holds up well and it’s pleasing to look at. The soundtrack as well is a good fit, although the sound effects are mostly primitive. The upside though is that the voice acting is good, and definitely works in favour of the game’s charm and craziness.
The final word on Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes is difficult to give. On the one hand, it’s the most bizarre game you’ll ever play, and that’s often what makes it good. However, on the other, its irritating flaws, its lack of intuition with some of its puzzles and the fact that it can get quite dull at times definitely hurt the gameplay part of the experience, and if its black humour and sheer lunacy doesn’t appeal to you then sadly the entire game won’t either, because it relies heavily on that aspect. Still, despite its shortcomings, this game is both memorable and enjoyable – and twisted.