Last year, Daedalic delivered unto us Edna & Harvey: The Breakout. With an insane asylum as its setting and simple, cartoon-style visuals, the indie developer's old school 'point and click' game generated mixed reviews from the critics. Whether you loved or loathed it, you certainly wouldn't label it a run-of-the-mill adventure.
For those who enjoyed the original, the sequel promises more of the same: morbid humour, quirky graphics, and let's not forget the twisted but intriguing plot. No big deal if you haven't played the first game, either, as this is an entirely fresh tale.
Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes is set in a convent school, run by a tyrannical nun who believes harsh punishments and child labour are de rigueur. While Edna and her blue, fluffy sidekick do have roles in the game, the main character this time around is Edna's BFF Lilli, a shy young lass who, at first glance, appears as docile and obedient as Edna is mischievous. However it quickly becomes apparent that our girl has some deep seated issues.
For starters, there's the alarming body count; wherever Lilli goes, folks seem to meet with an untimely - and rather gruesome - demise. And if that wasn't disturbing enough, weird 'censor' gnomes appear at the scene of each 'unfortunate accident', painting the gory bits in a garish shade of pink, effectively masking the deaths from Lilli's perception. To say it all seems a bit disturbing and surreal would be an understatement, but that's part of the game's unique... er... charm.
While many of the characters aren't exactly memorable - especially since their screen time tends to be temporary - you'll encounter some interesting ones, such as a psychotic lunch lady, a man who is older than Methuselah, a chain smoking clown / child therapist, and of course Mother Superior herself. Doctor Marcel also reprises his role as the creepy psychiatrist with questionable methods.
As for difficulty, there are a couple of gnarly, obscure puzzles, where the solution isn't immediately apparent, but on the whole the game won't present too much of a challenge to seasoned adventure gamers. In addition to the main adventure there are several logic puzzles to solve; should you find them too tricky they can be skipped, if you don't mind forfeiting the associated achievement.
The classic point and click interface is extremely simple to use: left click at a spot on the screen and Lilli will move there. A basic list of actions includes 'look', 'take', and 'use'. The inventory is easy to access and manage, and a simple tap of the spacebar will highlight on-screen hotspots you can interact with. It's child's play... although given the subject matter, you probably wouldn't want to allow the little 'uns to play it - even with the simplistic and appealing cartoon graphics.
If you're a tad squeamish or the thought seeing characters getting bumped is a major turn off, don't worry; all the nasty stuff takes place off screen. Nevertheless, it's pretty obvious what has taken place, and somehow the gnome-painted aftermath leaves nothing to the imagination. Music and voice acting is of a good standard, and with the exception of Lilli (who never utters more than two syllables at a time), the characters have screeds of dialogue. The story is well paced, although there are a few places where some of the monologues seem to drag on.
For those who like their adventures on the darker, twisted - but still humorous side, Edna & Harvey: Harvey's New Eyes might just tickle your fancy. A worthy successor to the original.