Embark on a dark journey through this point and click adventure.
In the big, wide world of videogames, the humble point and click adventure is a fairly simple beast. I am not saying that I could make one, I wouldn’t even know where to start. What I am saying is that the mechanics of actually playing the game are very simple, you point and you click. They work with pretty much any graphical style and on any platform.
Sure, the puzzles differ. Some games will feature complex, interactive puzzles that might test a gamer’s reflexes or other skill, whilst others rely more on finding and combining objects in the correct, and usually most obscure, order. Quite often, whether or not a puzzle makes sense is a far, distant secondary consideration behind whether the puzzle fits in with the overall story.
And it is the story that distinguishes one point and click adventure from another. It would be true to say that the point and click adventure is not at its most popular at the moment. But that hasn’t stopped companies like TellTale Games from churning out games of this type, trying to mix up the genre into something new that appeals to the modern audience. Then we have Daedalic Entertainment who, rather than trying to mix things up and engage the audience with something that has evolved from the point and click adventure, are more interested in keeping with the classic mechanics and weaving an entertaining tale for the player.
Edna and Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes is the second Edna and Harvey game from Daedalic. The first title, The Breakout, saw Edna escape from a mental institution with the help of her talking, stuffed rabbit, Harvey. I know what you are thinking, sounds a bit dark doesn’t it? Well, despite appearances, Harvey’s New Eyes seems to follow that dark theme, with more than a healthy dose of morbid humour. A game for children, this is not.
This time around, Edna is not the main character. That role is taken by the sweet and silent Lilli, a seemingly angelic little girl who happens to be an orphan at one of those homes run by Nuns (I have seen them on TV, so I know they exist). As the story unfolds, this lovely little girl will find herself trying rescue her only friend, Edna, from a slightly crazed Psychologist.
It all starts very innocently, with young Lilli doing her chores whilst whistling a cheerful tune. It almost lulls the player into a false sense of security. But before long, the decisions that Lilli makes in the course of her quest will result in the accidental death of other characters, and the game reveals its macabre side. I would imagine that those who are thus inclined will analyze the deeper meanings of this game to death. They would probably also want to analyze why I found it so funny. It’s not something that will appeal to everyone, but those who enjoy this type of humour know who they are.
There is a naivety to Lilli that makes the player question what is actually going on, and this is emphasised by the fact that she never really talks. Instead, other characters have a tendency to fill in for her, or the marvelously sarcastic narrator frequently helps to move things along in a highly entertaining way. The tale that is weaved may be incredibly twisted, but it is engaging and enjoyable.
Visually, Harvey’s New Eyes has a cartoon-like quality with slightly subdued colours. The backgrounds are incredibly detailed, offering plenty for the player to see and smile at. Often, the voicework from these games that are translated from another language can be a let down, as it was with the previous game. But this time around, Daedalic have put the effort in and really hit the nail on the head. Both the voices and the dialogue fit with the overall feel of the game.
Point and click adventures may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but enjoying a good story is surely something everyone can enjoy. Lilli’s adventure in Harvey’s New Eyes is mechanically perfect, evidence that Daedalic know their craft. But the story’s dance on the dark side may be a little too dark for the lighter fans of the genre. That being said, if your sense of humour leans towards the dark side, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying this point and click adventure.