Edna and Harvey: The Breakout – Anniversary Edition Review

It was with ease that I was able to boot up Edna & Harvey – the Breakout and finish it in a few days – not necessarily because it was so easy, but it’s the type of game that holds my attention whether that be for toying with the old grey matter or to chill out. Point and click games don’t encourage any rage quitting as such, but that doesn’t mean that this game doesn’t have its frustrating parts.

This edition is the 10th year anniversary of the game, and to celebrate, the artists have completed an overhaul of the original graphics. Edna & Harvey isn’t a title I’m familiar with, so it doesn’t bring back any memories or the like to be able to switch to the in-game pixelated version of the game. If you don’t have the nostalgia for it, stick with the modern graphics as they are fantastic. The artwork is much like the 90s cartoons you’d see on Nickelodeon or similar point and click titles such as Sam & Max Hit the Road, only they’re crystal clear and in some respects, look like you’re playing a cartoon – if it weren’t for the slow pace.

To give a breakdown – and that’s no play on words here, you play Edna who finds herself locked in a padded room with only a chair and table at her disposal. She doesn’t know where she is due to a memory condition. Thankfully she is accompanied by her cloth bunny named Harvey, to whom she gives a voice with her offbeat imagination. Through her relationship with Harvey, you can click on objects, and it will trigger dialogue hints to solve a puzzle. Edna & Harvey – the Breakout looks like a typical point and click, but the interface is a little bit clunky at times and does feel a little too linear in comparison with some of the greats. The controls on the Switch don’t feel entirely natural as you don’t have a free-roaming cursor to select items, nor can you touch the screen. Well, you can, but nothing will happen.

In the early stages, you’re limited to a few rooms, but once you find out that you are being held captive in an asylum, you can quickly explore room after room. Usually, in these games, the areas are restricted so you can break things down separately. There are pros and cons to this freedom, however. The immediate advantage is the accessibility to the crazy characters, and gorgeous scenery, while the con side of it is you’re not entirely sure where to focus your attention first, so there’s lots of going back and forth, and you cover quite the area.

The areas you explore in the game are fantastic, and there’s a whole bunch of quirky characters to engage with. Most of their ‘challenges’ are easy to interpret and solve, while others have you climbing the walls a little until you speak with Harvey or use him to interact with an object for his thoughts (usually a hint). He also has the power to take the two of them back to a time in Edna’s past to uncover a hidden truth, all the while walking around as if he were a real bunny. He just can’t interact with anything.

Scrolling through available objects is done through the right analogue stick, and you switch through each item one by one then have a verb wheel to look at, speak to, pick up and use an object. One of the standouts in this game is the dialogue. Not only is it well-acted, but due to Edna’s state, she has conversations with inanimate objects, making exploration that much more enjoyable. Granted, there aren’t that many items you can pick up and use, but it does make the game feel just that little bit more interactive.

As can be imagined, there are dialogue paths, and there are plenty of them – again, all acted out. It was quite refreshing to have more than one option, but you’ll often find that you can go through every single one and it won’t alter your path particularly. I embraced it though as it took me back to some of the LucasArts classics – and there’s the typical reference to Guybrush et al. in the dialogue.

Harvey is a narrative device to help you uncover your past and eventual escape, but he’s also there to bounce off some of the problem-solving. The puzzles themselves are quite restrictive and not always logical. However, Harvey gives a reasonable amount of hints so that you aren’t stuck forever, and you can even take control of him in flashbacks. These scenes are enjoyable when it comes to the story and dialogue, but as for problem-solving, you mostly go through the motions in order of how it’s presented, and there’s no real flexibility.

Daedalic Entertainment knows how to make an engaging point and click adventure, what with the Deponia series, but as I was unfamiliar with Edna & Harvey – the Breakout, I had no expectations. The aftertaste was a pleasant one, and while this won’t go down as a classic, it was an enjoyable experience that perhaps didn’t make the most of the Switch’s controls. With a mouse, this would have been perfect to control, but the alternative for the Switch would have been touchscreen options – which was overlooked and as a result, made the experience a bit clunky in places. The story is a simple one, but I enjoyed it, and the voice talents were great. Still, considering the amount of dialogue in the game, some of the actors – notably Harvey, felt like they were phoning it in a couple of times and a little bit indifferent.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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Edna and Harvey: The Breakout – Anniversary Edition Review
  • Gameplay - 7/10
    7/10
  • Graphics - 9/10
    9/10
  • Sound - 8/10
    8/10
  • Replay Value - 7/10
    7/10
Overall
8/10

Summary

Edna & Harvey – the Breakout is a beautifully handcrafted visual treat. Some of the puzzles are a bit hit and miss, and you would expect with the genre, but the greatest letdown was the control system wasn’t really up-to-speed and would have benefitted from the touchscreen.

Pros

  • Gorgeous sceneries and quirky characters.
  • Full of voice-acted dialogue.
  • Enjoyable yet straightforward story.

Cons

  • The control system is poor.
  • Some of the acting felt a little indifferent at times.
  • A bit too much freedom, where you take your eyes off the objective.