Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes Review

Adventure title Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes performs an artful bait-and-switch during the early part of the game. It starts out as a cartoonish adventure game romp, focused on the soft-spoken and seemingly very cute protagonist Lilli. But before long, the game becomes decidedly darker.

It’s very much to Daedalic Entertainment’s credit that the game is so darkly humorous. Lilli has a secret that quickly becomes apparent: she’s not all there, mentally. As the overly zealous, game show host-sounding narrator chimes over the action, Lilli inadvertently causes deaths wherever she goes, and seems to seethe with a red-hot, hidden anger covered over by her school girl veneer. She’s at once totally innocent and completely guilty, and it makes for some fun ironic storytelling throughout the title.

Harvey’s New Eyes takes some getting used to, as all adventure games seem to — the opening portion is a bit on the obscure, what-the-hell-is-the-answer-to-this-puzzle esoteric side, but once things get going, it trucks along with a lot of life and some clever puzzles to solve.

Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes: PC (reviewed)
Developer: Daedalic Entertainment
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Released: Oct. 16, 2012
MSRP: $19.99

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first: Like a lot of adventure games, Harvey’s New Eyes suffers from a little bit of an obscurity problem. The first area of the game has players tooling around outside of a convent, trying to solve a number of puzzles, and several of those solutions are a little bit on the confusing side. It’s to be expected in adventure titles — there’s a fine line to walk between presenting puzzles that can’t be solved just through standard everyday experience, but which also make common sense. Though Harvey’s New Eyes stumbles at first, once players are acclimated to the world, things work a lot better.

And it’s the world that makes the game worth playing. The game is all about Lilli, a girl living at a convent and orphanage, who hears voices that tell her to burn things. Primarily, though, Lilli remains more or less in control, completing tasks given to her by various people. Among these is Mother Superior, the child-hating leader of the convent, and Edna, Lilli’s one and only friend.

If you happen to be familiar with the Edna & Harvey franchise, you’ll recognize Lilli’s friend Edna. She was the star of the first game, Edna & Harvey: Breakout, in which Edna fled an insane asylum and the sadistic doctor who ran it. Dr. Marcel is back, however, and has a new form of therapy for children — and is also hot on the heels of Edna.

All this is sort of peripherally important for Lilli, however. She spends the game solving problems for Edna and others, and that occasionally results in someone’s unfortunate, mostly accidental, death. One of the chief mechanics of the game is Lilli’s need to deal with hypnotism thrust upon her by Dr. Marcel. He’s repurposed Edna’s Harvey doll into an instrument of hypnosis, and uses it to put mental barriers in Lilli’s mind that prevent her from doing things such as playing with fire or drinking alcohol. Of course, those things generally end up being requirements for puzzles, and so Lilli has to find ways of breaking down the mental conditioning.

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