Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes PC Review
You might not have heard of Daedalic Entertainment before, but you’ve probably heard of their work. The German developer behind The Whispered World and the recently-released Deponia series, Daedalic have created a slew of well-received point-and-click adventures for the modern market. They aim to continue this with their most recent offering, Edna and Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes.
Despite what the title might suggest, you actually play as Lilli, who is referred to by the game as “the most virtuous little girl” in the world. Despite her kindly ways, she is bullied at almost every turn by her classmates at the convent, as well as the tyrannical Mother Superior. The poor Lilli never tries to upset anyone, but it seems like everything goes wrong around her. Also, she’s often the cause of accidents that result in the violent deaths of her classmates; but that’s fine, because the gnomes that follow her around cover their corpses in pink paint.
There’s probably something you should know about HNE: it’s absolutely mad. All the characters are bizarre, the plot is deliciously nonsensical, and the jokes feature some startlingly black humour. At first the game gently lowers you into its wonderful world, but once you hit the second act, you’re on the fast service to crazy town. As you progress forward, the game loses its grip on reality entirely and becomes more like a bizarre fever dream. In fact, some of it is.
Of course, a point-and-click is nothing without its puzzles, and HNE has plenty. There’s nothing too taxing, so you won’t find yourself alt-tabbing to a walkthrough that often. Longtime adventure game fans will catch on fast, whereas newer players will easily follow the signposts to the solutions. There are a few leaps of logic (and a wonderfully knowing segment involving a wrench) but nothing too out the box.
Where HNE does suffer somewhat is the way the puzzles are structured together. Many of your goals are shopping lists of items to gather up (in many cases, they actually are just that) and the “challenge” only lies in finding where the items are in the world. You’ll often backtrack through several sections just to grab one other item you couldn’t get early, which is nothing but time-wasting. It’s a lazy design choice that only exists to artificially lengthen the game, and detracts from the other puzzles in the game.
The art style is an excellent cartoony style that works incredibly well with all the dark humour thrown around. The style is reminiscent of preschool cartoons and is a great juxtaposition to all the violent murders being carried out. Unfortunately, the art style is let down by some poor animation, with many cycles being clunky. Whilst it doesn’t affect the gameplay in any way, it does somewhat tarnish the work put into the character design and environments.
The voice work in game is all solid, with a stand-out performance coming from the narrator. Not only does his dialogue often break the fourth wall, providing inspired, meta-commentary on events, but the actor chews every bit of scenery as he performs them. This sounds like a criticism, but his overdramatic, cynical, and somewhat derogatory performance perfectly complements the game’s dark comedy stylings. Another quick note on voices: Lilli, despite being the main character, doesn’t actually say anything throughout the game. She mumbles and murmurs nervously, often being interrupted by other characters. As you can imagine, hearing her murmur “yes” and “no” throughout the entire game begins to grate on your nerves after a while, and you’ll soon find yourself skipping through the dialogue.
Edna and Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes is an odd game with an even odder sense of humour. There’s a definite Python-esque feel to its jokes, with some genuine laugh-out-loud moments that you won’t see coming. Unfortunately, it’s held back by some poor puzzle design that dragged out the story longer than it needs to. It’s still worth playing, but these flaws really hold it back from being anything more than a one-time playthrough.