by June 18, 2020 @ 1:58 pm
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Daedalic Entertainment may be known for the acclaimed Deponia series of adventure games, but the publisher and developer’s humble beginnings date back to a little title called Edna and Harvey: The Breakout. Released in 2008, the game became a cult hit thanks to its silly characters and themes, as well as its old school adventure game mechanics. Fast-forward a few years, and Edna and Harvey: The Breakout – Anniversary Edition is now available on Nintendo Switch. The game makes for a mostly pleasant, wild, and quirky ride, and this version makes it the ideal travel companion.
In Edna and Harvey: The Breakout, you play as Edna, who finds herself trapped in an insane asylum. Edna has no idea how she got there, and her memory loss isn’t helping. She’s not alone, though — she’s got her talking stuffed bunny friend Harvey with her. Together, the duo are able to solve puzzles and hatch multiple schemes to break out of the asylum.
As you’d expect from a point-and-click adventure game, Edna and Harvey: The Breakout is rich in both story and puzzle-solving. While the story starts out simple enough, it quickly evolves into something delightfully absurd that includes pseudo-time travel.
Edna’s memory may not be all that great, but certain interactive objects can help her remember moments from her childhood. That’s when, together with Harvey, she’ll return to those memories. You’ll play through combined sequences of Edna’s past and present to learn new ways to solve puzzles and advance the story. It’s fun being able to go back to Edna’s childhood home and other locations, as well as exploring the different areas of the asylum.
Depending on how adept you are at solving point-and-click puzzles, you’ll potentially be in the same area for extended periods of time. As such, seeing the same screen for too long can get a bit drab, so the change of scenery when you relive one of Edna’s memories is very much a welcome change.
Speaking of which, most areas in the game are nicely detailed and feature a cool animated look to them. The only exception is the opening area, Edna’s room in the asylum, which isn’t too interesting. But once you break out of there, you’ll visit some really cool spots that are designed like a cross between a comic book and an animated sitcom. The art style of Edna and Harvey: The Breakout reminded me of that awesome surrealist show from the early 2000s, The Oblongs.
The game features full voice acting for all of its characters and situations. A lot of characters, like the prison guard watching Edna’s cell, give off a bratty South Park vibe. Some of the voice work can be a bit cringey at times, but for the most part, it’s pretty solid. When you take into account just how many lines of dialogue were recorded for the game — Edna can literally talk to every single thing that she interacts with — it’s hard not to give a tip of the hat to the voice actors.
Old School Point-and-Click on Switch
Edna and Harvey: The Breakout – Anniversary Edition is a lot of fun, and if you dig old school point-and-click adventure games, you’re likely to appreciate the offbeat characters and story here. This is a game from 2008, though, and as such it does show its age a bit. While interacting with your environments and solving puzzles is enjoyable, some of the brain teasers can be too vague. This can lead to frustration, even if you’re an adventure game veteran.
A lot of times, you’ll struggle to figure out a solution to a puzzle. You’ll find yourself using items you’ve had in your inventory for a while late in the game, and then you won’t have any use for others at all. It’s a shame this Anniversary Edition didn’t revamp some of the puzzles, as streamlining some of the more old-feeling ones would’ve helped to make progression much smoother. Yes, challenging puzzles are a major part of these types of adventure games, but so is story, and being held up due to a few less-than-stellar puzzle designs is a bummer.
The Anniversary Edition of Edna and Harvey: The Breakout features smoother cartoon graphics and a UI overhaul. These changes are great, and the updated visuals are especially cool thanks to how they essentially transform Edna and Harvey: The Breakout into a playable animated sitcom. You can switch back to the classic graphics if you’d like, too, so the option is there for old school enthusiasts.
While it’s available on other platforms, the Switch version of Edna and Harvey: The Breakout – Anniversary Edition is an easy recommendation thanks to its portability. Playing the game when you’re away from your TV or just lying on your recliner or couch is great. And while some puzzles can get frustrating, the slow-paced nature makes this a solid choice when you’re looking to just lean back and chill with a nice adventure game.
It can be a bit rough at times, and some elements of the puzzle-solving haven’t aged all that well, but Edna and Harvey: The Breakout – Anniversary Edition is still full of charm. The story is fun and weird, and the characters are mostly delightful. Plus the updated cartoon graphics really bring this tale about a girl and her talking bunny friend to life in a new way. If you’re looking for a good time with a retro point-and-click adventure game on Switch, Edna and Harvey: The Breakout is a solid choice.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
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