Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes



Genre:   Adventure

Developer:   rondomedia

Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment

Released:  October 2012

PC Requirements:  

  • OS : Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7

  • CPU: Athlon®- / Pentium®- 2GHz Single Core, 1,8GHz Dual Core

  • RAM: 1,5 GB RAM (Vista/7: 2 GB RAM)

  • Video Card: 256 MB, OpenGL 2.0

  • HDD: 3,5 GB

  • DirectX: 9.0c

Additional screenshots   Walkthrough





by Becky


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 depicted realistically.

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.

“Erm…” Lilli

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 world.

“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 grieving.

Quick List for Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes

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 Steam.  


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