Edna and Harvey are
back in Harvey’s New Eyes, though now they are joined by a new
main character -- Lilli. The story in this sequel follows shortly after
the events in Edna & Harvey: The Breakout.
Note: when discussing this story-heavy sequel, mild
spoilers are hard to avoid. To steer clear of story spoilers of any
kind, skip down to the Quick List section of this review.
Edna has left the asylum and is a student at a
Convent boarding school. Her roommate is the sweetly innocent Lilli --
blonde, petite, and easily intimidated. Lilli does what she is told. Let
me rephrase that: Lilli always tries to do what she is told, though her
methods are a trifle erratic.
You assume the role of Lilli as she struggles to
meet the expectations of the school’s ghastly Mother Superior, an
autocrat who can’t pronounce the word “children” without stuttering
angrily. Most students have figured out how to dodge her wrath. Only two
of Mother Superior’s charges command her attention: a “teacher’s pet”
who is good at everything -- and Lilli, consigned to be an
errand-running domestic servant.
“I’m hoping to get scurvy for my guest
appearance in a pirate adventure.” Edna
The game’s set-up is familiar to those who’ve
played Edna & Harvey: The Breakout – an institution (this time a
school) full of wacky characters, absurd obstacles, and mysteries that
the heroine must overcome or solve. In the previous game, most
characters were insane. In Harvey’s New Eyes, the characters are
younger with more basic goals/needs. There’s the nasty school bully, the
handsome heartthrob, the in crowd “It Girl,” and the anxious dweeb.
Okay, there’s also the computer-geeky-voyeur, the idiot who thinks the
Knights Templar plotted conspiracies in the school chapel, and Edna.
Edna, now far apart from Harvey, is less
conflicted. She still blithely inhabits her own world, but clearly she
is in a better place. Her new situation is threatened when Dr. Marcel
(the psychologist/nemesis from The Breakout) arrives at the
school, bringing Harvey with him. Edna is certain that Dr. Marcel is
really there to return her to the asylum. She enlists Lilli as an ally
to smuggle her out of the school.
Dr. Marcel has been experimenting with Harvey’s
motivational abilities and mind skills, sewing sinister red eyes into
the rabbit’s limp body. He hopes to use Harvey as a psychological tool
to discover the culprit behind recent explosions and other odd incidents
at the school. Harvey’s arrival has a “through the looking glass” effect
on Lilli, drawing her into a series of strange, mind-bending scenarios.
“Hehe. Look at my funny chompers. They’re cute,
aren’t they?” Harvey
Graphics in Harvey’s New Eyes are
cartoon-like, with exaggerated angles and splashes of color. Cheerful
exteriors conceal oddities just beneath the surface. The game initially
conveys you to the school and its environs – including the collections
(junk) room, Mother Superior’s office, assorted balconies and stairways
and a confessional booth. The most memorable environments emerge after
Harvey appears and Lilli succumbs to his influence. These locations are
surreal, some disturbing with elements that would be horrific if
The characters are hand drawn with black outlines.
Faces have eyes and eyebrows, but no noses or mouths (except when
talking or whistling). Character movement suits the cartoon-like
character of the visuals.
Background music is unusually creative. The game
opens with a melancholy ditty that stuck with me for days. In the
chapel, you’ll hear apocalyptic organ music accompanied by drilling.
Mysterious electronic effects -- supplemented by drums and aspirated
grunts -- add atmosphere to the Goblin Gorge. You’ll also encounter the
reprise of tunes from The Breakout and Deponia.
Harvey’s New Eyes contains plenty of
character interaction. Dialog trees are revealed as icons depicting
various topics. Conversations exhibit a particular quirk – Lilli can’t
get a word in edgewise. Every character interrupts Lilli after the first
word, responding to what they assume she means to say. The narrator then
describes what Lilli is thinking. I know this sounds strange, but it
works surprisingly well. Voiceovers are professional and enhance the
game’s exuberant eccentricity.
As the story unfolded, I ricocheted from disbelief
to delight and to chagrin, often torn between laughing and cringing in
empathy. I was caught up in the story. Would Lilli start to stand up for
herself, realize what was really going on, and perform the increasingly
prodigious feats that other characters casually assigned her?
“Plus, our drummer had the plague.” Old Man
Hanging from the Coat Rack
Harvey’s New Eyes is viewed from the third
person perspective and uses a point-and-click interface. The verb
interface from Edna & Harvey: The Breakout has been simplified,
making interactions much smoother in the sequel. Pressing the spacebar
reveals all hotspots.
Most puzzles are inventory based, some with complex
combinations, and often drawing from the game’s wacky humor (the
solutions aren’t always terribly realistic). The game also features a
handful of standalone mini-games -- logic puzzles presented in a
close-up screen and requiring both text and image pattern analysis.
Unless you’re blessed with a fabulous memory, a couple of these will
require taking notes. (Some of the mini-games can be skipped.) After
Harvey’s appearance, the challenges involve problem solving in dreamlike
landscapes to change or access something encountered in the workaday
“Woogie. Woogie.” Harvey
Should you play Edna & Harvey: The Breakout
before attempting Harvey’s New Eyes? It’s a close call. Knowing
the story and characters from The Breakout adds to your
experience in Harvey’s New Eyes. But in some ways (easier
interface, no frustrating invisible triggers, a more compelling story),
Harvey’s New Eyes is a better introduction to the saga. One
quirky approach -- start with Harvey’s New Eyes until the end of
Chapter Two, then play The Breakout as a long flashback sequence,
and afterwards return to finish the last chapter of Harvey’s New Eyes.
“She could already hear the uproar from the
online reviewers.” Narrator
And now…let us sit upon the ground
and tell sad stories of the end of games. Harvey’s New Eyes has
three possible endings. You will encounter a certain statement: “Maybe
this wasn’t the happy end you were expecting.” This is correct. None of
the three was the ending I expected. The endings made me question many
assumptions going back to the game’s beginning.
The final mini-game contributes to the endgame
frustration. It’s a turn-based sequence apparently inspired by the
combat in pen-and-paper role-playing games (RPGs). And it’s a doozy. To
get to this stage in the game took me twelve hours. Overcoming the last
mini-game required almost four hours. More hours, going back and
replaying the challenge several times, were necessary before I
understood it well enough to beat it consistently. This one puzzle took
me almost as long to master as playing everything else in the game.
Why introduce, in an adventure game, a wicked
challenge from a different genre -- one that delays (for long hours) the
endings? Fortunately this challenge can be skipped, which mitigates the
frustration somewhat. And for those who have played RPGs and understand
the conventions, this puzzle may be a pleasing innovation.
For me -- I hated that final puzzle. And then I
encountered the disconcerting endings. I’m still licking my wounds and
Quick List for Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New
A sequel to Edna & Harvey: The Breakout.
Black humor in sunshine sweet packaging. Cartoon-like graphics, an
absorbing story that teases with gradually increasing shock content.
Surreal mind exploration at the behest of a manipulative toy rabbit.
Plenty of character interaction. Very good writing and voiceovers. You
can click through the dialogs.
Third person perspective, point-and-click
interface. Smooth navigation. The spacebar shows all hotspots. Unlimited
save slots. No glitches or problems with installation. You can’t die.
Underlying dark themes make this game inappropriate for young children.
Mostly inventory puzzles. Also some standalone
logic puzzles. The most difficult (and frustrating) challenge is a
turn-based RPG combat scenario. No challenges that involve quick
reflexes. No sliders, mazes, or sound puzzles; one puzzle requires
distinguishing colors and can be solved using text descriptions.
Depending on the duration of the final challenge, gameplay ranges from
15 to 18 hours.
Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes is aimed at
adventure gamers who enjoy tongue-in-cheek humor and absurdist scenarios
with dollops of darkness.
Final Grade: (B)rilliant (Plus) an Endgame Spanking
Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes can be
purchased via download from
The Adventure Shop or from
GameBoomers Review Guidelines