Edna & Harvey: The Breakout is an odd, odd game. You control Edna, who’s been locked in an asylum by the evil Doctor Marcel. I know he’s evil because the floating brain in a jar told me. Why is she locked away? Well, Edna has no idea. She has no memory of her life previous to the padded cell. All she has is her little blue stuffed rabbit, Harvey, who completely agrees with her, that she isn’t in fact mad and that something sinister is going on.
Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, from Daedalic Entertainment and Lace Mamba, is a classic point and click adventure with something like one hundred and twenty different scenes, all nicely hand drawn and kept in line with the quirky ‘is she mad’ feel to the to the game. The story starts with Edna and Harvey in their cell. A brief click around reveals loads of dialogue and it soon becomes evident that this is going to be one of those games where simple logic isn’t always the correct solution. Luckily, if you come across a puzzle that you have no way of solving, for example, how to unscrew a screw without the use of a tool, then good old Edna has the ability to ‘Tempomorph’, which means she can travel back in time through her own memories, together with her subconscious companion Harvey, and find out a new ability, such as biting off toenails to use on the screws. Okay, so it’s an old school adventure with a bizarre twist, meaning you can pick up an unlimited amount of objects and combine them to create either a solution to a puzzle or to simply help you stop a door from opening.
As for the puzzles, they vary from the relatively easy and straight forward to the downright complex and obtuse. The latter can become very frustrating with moments of pure loss that cause your eyes to glaze over. That said, it’s not impossible, but most of the really intricate puzzles have you going back and forth to different rooms over and over again, eventually giving you a bit of a headache and the need for a change of scenery.
If there’s one thing you have to nail down in a point and click it’s the story. Luckily, E&H:TB’s storyline has a number of twists and turns, which admittedly keeps you playing, just so you can find out what exactly is going on. Complete one part of the story and it nicely leads you into the next, giving you a good five or so hours worth of entertainment.
The graphics are big, bold and beautifully drawn, the animation can be a bit jagged in places but it’s easy enough to look over tiny graphical glitches when you’re on the roof of the asylum and the landscape in the distance looks pretty. The voice acting is surprisingly good. Edna’s voice, being the one you will listen to the most, doesn’t grate on you or become as annoying or as screechy as that old lady in the local Chinese with the voice like an electrocuted cat. The other voice actors are clear and concise, meaning you don’t have to go back and ask the same questions over again because you missed them the first time. The music is a funky, yet dark beat that sits in the background without becoming a nuisance as do the sound effects that add that little extra to the weird world of Edna.
Unfortunately the game has a number of issues, those being the usual inherent to this kind of genre. The puzzles can be annoying, as I said before, but some of them can be really, really annoying. Luckily, I managed to find a video walkthrough for some of the elements, it was in German, but it got me past those areas that were about to make me give up completely. Further, while the nice scenery is one thing, why does it take so long to load from one scene into the next? There were times where I thought my computer had crashed when travelling, not to a new scene, but to one I had previously visited. Finally, I don’t know if this was just a glitch on my PC, or something wrong with the game, but occasionally I couldn’t open a door to an area I knew I needed to return to in order complete a puzzle. I tried everything, but it finally took a quit and reload before the door opened again.
I admire the colourful graphics and the work that’s gone into E&H:TB. It’s funny in places and kept me going, albeit sometimes out of pure stubbornness, but I kept playing. However, it doesn’t fare to well when compared to some recent point and clicks, like Kaptain Brawe. The game certainly isn’t terrible, but unless you are a die-hard fan of old school adventures then Edna and Harvey is not going to bring you much interest once you get past the initial humour and novelty.
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