Missing out on the original game in the series – Edna & Harvey: The Breakout – Harvey’s New Eyes is my first interaction with the charmingly unique characters and bizarre and rather dark story that Edna & Harvey has to offer.
A seemingly innocent blonde orphan girl – Lilli – is stuck doing chores at a convent school, which is run by Mother Superior. Being bullied by the other kids and finding herself always at the receiving end of one of Mother Superior’s unwanted tirades – she hates children you see – one would think that Lilli would be having a terrible time at the convert. As it turns out, Lilli sees the world differently and only her friend – and roommate – Edna understands her. Wanting to escape before the psychiatrist arrives – to brainwash her – Edna asks for your help to remove all evidence of her being at the school while she tries to escape.and she will no longer be herself.
The premise involves nothing noticeably dark or sinister – besides the head of the school having a true hatred for children. It doesn’t take long for accidents to start occuring at the school as anywhere Lilli goes, something bad – really bad – is bound to happen. Take for example the chore that have been bequeathed to Lilli of removing termites from the tree overlooking the cliff outside the school. Not wanting to disappoint Mother Superior, Lilli finds some honey and drips it across the yard to a bench where a student was sitting, Lilli can’t find any trace of the student afterwards, but instead finds a gnome – that she sees on occasion – painting the world a bright and cheerful pink color. To her this is nothing out of the ordinary, but to the player it becomes apparent what this represents.
Not straying far from the traditional adventure game formula, Harvey’s New Eyes will be familiar for anyone who has played a point-and-click game in the past. Hotspots in the environments will allow you to collect and use items on them. Initializing conversation with characters is necessary to keep the plot moving forward. The streamlined interface gives you easy access to your inventory at any point. The narrator provides a comical response every time you try to combine items that have no relationship with each other. An optional tutorial can be played at the start of the game giving the breakdown of the game’s mechanics – I recommend not skipping it as the writing is quite humorous.
Not being able to get in a word edgewise, Lilli remains silent throughout the adventure expect for the occasional, “but” or “umm.” Other characters will complete her thoughts and just about have entire conversations by themselves. Already touched upon, the writing is superb – from the narrator to the dialogue between the characters. Lilli’s thoughts – which are represented by the narrator – contain funny observations into how she perceives the world around her.
The visuals are bright and colorful with hand-drawn stylized art that helps to bring the unusual and unique characters to life. The soundtrack switches depending on the area you are in with heavy pipe organs in the church to a more mellow soothing melody outside the convent. Spending more time in specific area, you may find the infinite looping repetitive music to get on your nerves.
The dark overtones are definitely for a mature audience especially with Lilli “accidentally” removing other kids from the convent. The puzzles for the most part are item-based, requiring you to use the correct item in order to gain access to other items. There are a couple that require logical thinking in order to complete, but are far and few between.
If you can appreciate the dark bizarre nature story undeather the charming colorful exterior of Edna & Harvey, you will enjoy everything that the game has to offer. If only the real world was populated with mounds of pink blobs and magical painting gnomes.
Note: The Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes review was written based on the PC version of the game provided by the publisher.