Edna & Harvey: The Breakout




Genre:   Adventure

Developer:  Daedalic Entertainment

Publisher:    Lace Mamba & Viva Media

Released:  February 2011

PC Requirements:  

  • Operating System: Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  • Processor: 1 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM, 5.5 GB free hard drive space
  • Video Card: DirectX compatible 64 MB video card
  • Walkthrough

    Additional Screenshots





    by Becky


    Edna is the focus of this unusual adventure. Imprisoned in an insane asylum with her talking toy rabbit, Harvey, she wants to escape and she wants to remember. A good portion of her childhood has been erased by the treatments she's received -- all prescribed by the asylum's head psychiatrist, Dr. Marcel. In Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, Harvey jogs Edna's memory throughout the story using nostalgic quips, anecdotes, and flashbacks.

    "Where are all those annoying do-gooders when you really need them?" Edna

    The story opens with our heroine and her rabbit locked in a padded cell. Edna wears one of those ugly rear-opening hospital gowns. She is angry and rebellious and vulnerable. Her chief protection against pain is her sense of the absurd. Harvey is made from blue terrycloth. He is part heckler, part instigator, part comforter, and part goof.

    In almost every way, Harvey and Edna are a perfect team. Portrayed as animated characters in flat, blocky, hand drawn environments, they match the cartoon esthetic and the jazzy, freewheeling background music . But there is much going on under the surface that gradually darkens this lively, colorful world.

    A good chunk of the exploration involves gaining access to the asylum rooms without getting caught. You will become conversant with ventilation ducts, the roof, the automated laundry system and "staff only" rooms and corridors. To break out, Edna must discover and manipulate the foibles and fantasies of the asylum's patients. The results are sometimes surprisingly hilarious and occasionally intensely frustrating.

    "I need it to enhance my conductivity! After lightning has struck me, then you can have it." Aluman

    Edna & Harvey: The Breakout uses a third person perspective and a point-and-click interface. The game offers four different verb commands for interaction with characters and with hotspots: "look at," "pick up," "talk to," and "use." Most of the challenges involve combining and/or using various inventory items, though you will confront a few pattern challenges, dialog challenges, and a fair number of invisible triggers. Trial and error is sometimes necessary.

    There is a lot to see and do, and most uses of inventory items are logical. But occasionally my progress ground to a halt. One puzzle solution is so out-of-the-box that reference to a walkthrough was obligatory. Another pattern/matching sequence is fairly logical, but has too many unresponsive combinations; I finally solved it by sheer luck. A couple of times I returned to a scene to find that something had changed that enabled progress, though I wasn't quite sure why the change hadn't occurred earlier (I must have tripped an invisible trigger somewhere).

    "Shhh. The player was deeply impressed just now." Edna

    The main strengths of this game are its attention to detail, the writing, and the voiceovers. Hats off to Jocasta Gottlieb, who voices Edna, and Jonathan Tilley, who voices Harvey. They provoked, amused, and surprised me throughout the nearly thirty hours it took me to complete the game. (When you accompany Edna and Harvey, you get a lot for your gaming dollar.)

    Dialogs contain zany one-liners, absurdist commentary, puns, and references ranging from pop culture to classic literature. Breaking the "fourth wall" from time to time, the game comments on its players as well as its creators. For instance, Edna's group therapy sessions are composed entirely of game developers.

    Remarkably, virtually every interaction in this game brings a unique response. The translation from the German is uniformly excellent, even though hundreds (thousands?) of dialogs, hotspot rejoinders, and jokes had to be rewritten for English language speakers. The humor overall is more American than British -- though an occasional British term does surface, including that famous example of faint praise: "clever clogs."

    "Splunge!" The Mustard Bottle

    You can affect the gameworld in several ways. Edna uses a pen to scribble words or pictures throughout the asylum. For part of the game you can splatter mustard and ketchup, producing a satisfactory "splunge" sound. Also for a short while you have access to a dictionary/encyclopedia that will define things for you -- sometimes even sensibly.

    One downside: saving games and loading saved games takes several seconds. Since you can mark up or "decorate" so many objects in the gameworld, my guess is that the game has to check the current condition of all these areas while saving and loading. (It's worth the long saving process in order to see the results of your efforts.) There are no loading screens once you begin playing, so the actual gameplay progression is uninterrupted.

    "At last we can make our dream of an ice cream parlor come true." Harvey

    This game plays a lot like an old-fashioned LucasArts adventure game. Because of its 2D graphics, verb command interface, large inventory, and substantial length, it is (in some ways) more reminiscent of the classics than current games designed by LucasArts alumni.

    Edna & Harvey: The Breakout contains two different endings. I became so invested in Edna and Harvey's story that the endings had a wrenching quality, though each ending is consistent and suitable.

    Quick List for Edna & Harvey: The Breakout

    A wacky cartoon romp through an asylum and surrounding environs. A satiric exposé of psychologists, stockbrokers, preachers, philosophers, lovers, and other schemers and fools. Lots of loony dialog, one-liners and puns.

    Third person perspective, point-and-click interface. Smooth navigation. The space bar shows all hotspots.

    Mostly inventory puzzles. Some pattern/sequencing puzzles. The most difficult puzzles are the security camera room challenge, the cafeteria "matching" arrangements and the church organ sequence. No sliders, no mazes, no color based puzzles, one puzzle involving sound that can be solved by written clues. The laundry sequence and security gate sequences require quick clicking. You can't die.

    Memorable writing and voiceovers. Lots of character interaction. The game started me out chuckling, but left me wistful. Underlying darker themes make this game inappropriate for young children.

    If you take your time and try everything with everything else, the game can take up to thirty hours to complete. No problems with installation. One crash to the desktop.

    Aimed at gamers who enjoy oddball characters, inventory challenges, and wordplay. If you harbor feelings of nostalgia for the classic LucasArts adventure games, this game is for you.

    Final Grade: B+

    What I played it on: 

    Dell Studio XPS 8000

    Windows 7 Home Premium

    Intel Core i5-750 processor


    1024MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220

    Soundblaster X-Fi


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