Edna & Harvey: The Breakout in Review – Crazy About The Looney Bin

I remember fondly spending a lot of time with adventure games back in the 80s and early 90s when the likes of Sierra Online and LucasArts reigned supreme.  TellTale Games has done a good job of recapturing that magic, as has Bulkypix with their recent release of Yesterday.  Now you can add Daedalic Entertainment to that list with Edna & Harvey: The Breakout.  This adventure game about a young lady and her bunny has humor to rival the best Sam & Max installment, artwork that is quite delightful and some great voice acting.  There is plenty of game play as well, which oddly enough might be its biggest detractor – there’s almost too much to do.  Still, this is one nuthouse I don’t mind visiting.

You play Edna, a girl that has been imprisoned in an asylum but you don’t remember why.  Your task is to get out and discover who you are, and you’ll have the help of the other inmates as well as your stuffed rabbit Harvey.  Despite the “bleak” setting of a nuthouse and some potentially deep subject matter the developers manage to make the whole affair rather whimsical.  The crazies are of course crazy, but the workers aren’t a whole lot better.  And then there’s your talking bunny pal who will often offer advice and in some sequences even helps you learn about your past.  You can look at many different objects and interact with all the other inhabitants, so expect a lot of dialog and back story to unfold while you are exploring.

When you tap on an interactive object you’ll be presented with a graphical menu of actions that you can perform on that object.  Using an object is as simple as dragging it onto another object or dragging it into the scene wherever you want to use it.  When you talk to a person (or sometimes an object) you’ll be presented with dialog options that you can select by tapping on them.  So far I haven’t run into any mini-games, and I’m not sure there are any, so the controls are pretty much tap or drag.

Typically I bemoan a game for being too short, but in this instance I think there is almost too much going on.  It seems like there is a lot of exploration and investigation without much problem solving.  I don’t mind all of the chats and background information, but one of the things I really liked about this style of game in the old days was that there was a good balance between wandering and doing, and I’m not sure Edna and Harvey has achieved that balance.  Thankfully the setting and characters are interesting enough that I keep plodding along, though I’m really hoping the balance sways more towards puzzle solving soon.

As I watch the game I feel like I’m looking at a cartoon.  The backgrounds are detailed, and the characters are well designed, though there’s a distinct lack of animation in anything except the characters themselves.  Still, I love the art style and could easily see something in this universe showing up on some station’s Saturday morning lineup.  The sound effects are pretty good too, and the voiceovers are just about perfect for the various characters.  The background music is quite entertaining and changes depending on what part of the asylum you’re in.

Edna & Harvey has a lot going for it.  There’s no question that the production values are high, and I’ve gotten my fair share of chuckles from it already – I’ve possibly even laughed out loud a couple of times.  I just wish there was a little more to do and a little less wandering around.  If you’re a fan of the old school adventure games you’ll definitely feel a sense of nostalgia when playing this game, but don’t dive in unless you’re ready for some hard core dialoging.

Grab It Rating - 4/5

App Summary
Title: Edna & Harvey: The BreakoutDeveloper: Daedalic Entertainment GmbH
Reviewed Ver: 1.1Min OS Req:4.0
Price:$5.99App Size: 1.24 GB
  • Interesting story
  • Colorful characters
  • Excellent voiceovers
  • Catchy music
  • Lots of dialog and little puzzle solving so far

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