Nintendad

[Review] Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes – Nintendo Switch

Reviewed by Anna Leah Karasik

  • Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
  • Publisher: Daedalic GmbH
  • Release Date: 14/08/2019
  • Price:  £17.99 / $19.99

Intro

This title is a direct sequel to the game Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, and like its predecessor, the story of this point-and-click adventure contains a disturbing plot wrapped up in a cute, pink bow. If you’ve never played the original game, you will miss some key callbacks to the previous plot – but with a brand-new main character, newcomers to the series can still appreciate this as a story that stands on its own.

“See how everything will unravel…”

We begin with an opening credit sequence that’s too haunting to skip: set to the tune that you’ll hear through much of Chapter 1, the lyrics of this creepy song seem to allude to a dark story ahead. However, much like the ball of thread that we see in the credits – and which our hero keeps throughout the entire game – this is a tale that gradually unravels, slowly revealing its sinister secrets.

Be a Good Girl

Lilli is a quiet convent girl. So quiet, in fact, that she can barely get a word in edgewise before others fill in the gap for her. Her best (and only) friend is Edna – the main character of this game’s predecessor. Despite always going above and beyond to help people, you’ll soon discover that this cute little girl tends to leave death in her wake – though, she doesn’t seem to notice.

As wicked as headmistress Mother Superior can be to Lilli and her classmates, a bigger evil is looming. Evil psychologist Dr. Marcel, who is now crippled and bent on revenge after the events of the first game, has developed a new method of hypnotizing children into obedience using a red-eyed rabbit doll. Once Lilli is subjected to his treatment, it becomes a lot harder to do whatever it takes to save her best friend from Dr. Marcel’s clutches. Lilli will need to fight the behavioral blocks forcing her to be a “good girl” if she’s going to help Edna.

New Eyes, New Perspective

That brings me to the mechanic that sets this game apart from your typical point-and-click adventure where the player simply gathers and combines items to complete quests. Veterans of the genre know that it’s common practice to throw absolutely everything at the wall, and see what sticks: exhaust every dialogue option, take absolutely everything obtainable, show everything in your inventory to every NPC, et cetera. However, Lilli is hypnotized early in the game: Dr. Marcel imposes a number of behavioral blocks on her so that she will be unable to do things that are “bad.” Want to try lighting something on fire? BZZZZT! “You must not play with fire!”

Luckily, Lilli can overcome this by putting herself back into a trance with the rabbit doll, and tracking down the demonic manifestation of her mental block. Through a series of puzzles, she proves to the demons that sometimes it’s okay to do bad things – if you have good intentions. 

There are several of these behavioral blocks, which are unlocked one by one through the story. The catch is that you can only ignore one block at a time. This little caveat seems pointless, though. At no point in the game do you have to ignore two rules at once, so it really only serves as an annoyance to the player: get shocked, select the rule you want to ignore, watch a little animation, rinse and repeat. When you’re on a roll going from quest to quest, it feels like an unnecessary roadblock. Outside of that, the behavioral blocks themselves do serve as a clever way to keep players on the right track.

The puzzles themselves are exactly what you’d expect, though: find items, solve problems, encounter the next problem. Whether you’re uninitiated or you’ve played every point-and-click on the market, you’ll find a healthy level of challenge here. A note: there are also puzzle minigames, but if you’re only in it for the hunting and gathering, you can opt to skip these by pressing the + button.

Colorful Cast of Misfits

Although Lilli is all but silent, the narrator fills us in on her every thought, while also giving snarky commentary on her actions – sometimes going so far as to break the fourth wall. Not only is the narrator fully voiced, but every single word of dialogue is – down to the minigame instructions. The voice acting breathes life into the quirky cast, inviting you to sit back and enjoy their meandering conversations, even if they aren’t related to the plot. 

You’ll be hard-pressed not to chuckle at the dialogue, with its general silliness and outdated pop culture references. This game is also rife with dark humor, as well as winks to the genre as a whole. With all of the meta moments, it’s hard not to see this game as a homage to classic point-and-click adventures. 

Insidious Entertainment

Although running around to find silly combinations of items to fulfill seemingly menial tasks may not sound like “fun game” material, you won’t get far into this story before you realize that all of Lilli’s actions are meaningful in the grand scheme of things. The best word I can find to describe this game’s story is, indeed, “insidious,” as its intensity creeps up on you.

The plot builds up to a big revelation that will have you questioning everything that’s happened up to that point. Then comes the tense moment where you can choose from three endings – two of which, I’m sad to say, fall flat, simply cutting away to a quick comment from the narrator about the moral of the story. The third, while still a little underwhelming, was the most satisfying, and sees Lilli own everything she’s learned throughout this wacky – and very dark – adventure. 

Pros

  • Charming dark and meta humor
  • Compelling plot
  • Fully-voiced dialogue

Cons

  • Clunky main mechanic
  • Ending falls flat

Verdict:
Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes provides a healthy challenge and a compelling story, held back only by a clunky mechanic and a mediocre ending.
4/5

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