Short Report: Edna & Harvey – The Breakout

So after several years of having this game “incomplete” (got to somewhere around one third of the game), last weekend I FINALLY completed it. And boy is this game a trip especially towards the end.

Yup, that’s me. I’m sure you are wondering how I got into this situation…

On the cover, the game looks innocent enough, with its cartoony artstyle, the funnily written characters and the main character carrying around a blue plush rabbit at all times. But over time, the game reveals its darker tones. Let’s take it slow though, what IS the game and what is it ABOUT anyway? Basically it’s a classic point & click adventure by (as is usually the case nowadays) a german developer (Daedalic Entertainment), released in 2008. Additionally, this game originally started out as a university project. In terms of the base tech, that really shows: The game runs on Java, has rather long loading times, relatively basic graphics (though the artstyle is nice, kinda gives the game “character”) and only supports one low resolution of 800×600. So, if you want to run it in a window (as I often prefer with games), bring a magnifying glass!

On to the plot and main characters of the game, the main character is Edna, a girl that has been put into a mental institution. The reason: unknown, she does not remember a thing from her past. Thankfully she has her trusty sidekick with her: a talking blue plush rabbit, Harvey! I think we might have an indicator on the reason… In any case, she decides that she does not want to stay and tries to free herself. Very soon we learn that her father was sentenced to death for the murder of the son of… who else but the owner of the mental institution, as coincidence would have it. From there on you meet several of the other inmates, solve puzzles… well, you do what is usual in any point & click adventure. Well, besides maybe getting time-shifted to the past by your plush rabbit, but who am I to judge what’s usual.

Without going into spoilers, the characters, especially the main duo Edna & Harvey, are really well done, considering that there is a LOT of dialogue between the pair (and that one of them is a talking plush rabbit) and with the other characters. It’s too bad that the english dub doesn’t meet the quality level of the german version… The puzzles were usually decent, though one early on was annoying since it required relatively strict timing. One or two of the puzzles later on I was a bit stuck at, especially one that had a very obscure way of acquiring the item you needed for it, it was pretty much pure luck that I found that out by myself. Overall though, there seemed to be a less than average amount of “adventure-logic” in the game. I didn’t even mind some trial-and-error “combine everything with everything”, because there was a lot of different and funny dialogue built into the game for that and there were even some results in there that didn’t affect the puzzles or plot, but were put into the game just for the humor.

There isn’t much else to say I think, except for: PLAY THE GAME, especially if you understand German. While the graphics are rather simple / the animations are pretty crude and the base tech isn’t great (after several hours of continuous play time, the game actually crashed with an “out of memory” error for me, ONCE), the game makes up for all of that with charm, humor and the increasingly dark tone and plot as the game goes into its final third.

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