Adventure games are not as commonplace as the once were back in the early days of gaming. Rather than pointing and clicking to interact with items, gamers were lured away by 3D worlds with shooting and platforming and the rise of platformers and first-person shooters all but rendered the adventure genre defunct. Big budget studios could no longer sustain their businesses for games such as these that only catered to a niche market, so you find that these now only sprout from small indie studios.
Originally releasing over 8 years ago on PC, Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes is a sequel to the 2008 release subtitled “The Breakout”. You see the world through the playable character Lilli, a lovable but clueless child who manages to cause devastation with almost all her actions. Seen through the innocence of childhood the visions of horror are masked and edited to a PG version to protect her from the reality of the situation. The cartoon art style, although simple, adds to this effect.
The game is set in a boarding school which is clearly there to reform bad children and headed by a mean nun who is at her wits end and treats all the children there as trouble makers, especially Lilli. The first third of the game involves you carrying out tasks that you have been ordered to do and as the game progresses you unlock the ability to do what you want. Gameplay involve inspecting items, using an item or simply interacting with it with an extra layer of complexity when you can combine collected items together.
For the most part the puzzles and quirky ways to solve them is very entertaining, and usually seem to be fairly logical bar some leaps of faith. However, there are a few that will annoy you, namely the balloon wrench, you’ll know it when you see it. In the second and third chapter the world opens up and even some form of time travel or alternate realities mix up the environments drastically.
Lilli doesn’t say anything throughout the game, except if you unlock a certain ending. She mostly relies on the other characters to convey the story, and man can they talk. Some of the voices are great and others intentionally sound like nails on a chalkboard. Lilli’s best friend Edna is one of the main things that progresses the narrative. Edna escapes the convent and then is kidnapped. Themes from mental health through to conspiracies are touched upon making this title a little deeper than you may expect, especially with the simplistic art style.
This game doesn’t look great, and it won’t be pushing your PS4 to its limits. The obscure puzzles are great and the mini games also help mix things up. I commend the skip puzzle function for those who either don’t have the time, patience or the ability to solve them, because some of them are fiendish.
In a landscape where you have few options in the adventure game genre, Harvey’s New Eyes will satisfy the craving, but it may not be up there with the Monkey Island’s or Grim Fandango’s of the world.
- Replay Value