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Edna & Harvey: The Breakout

For: iPad

Definition of insanity

Product: Edna & Harvey: The Breakout | Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment | Format: iPad | Genre: Adventure | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Edna & Harvey: The Breakout iPad, thumbnail 1
Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

If that's the case, then Edna & Harvey: The Breakout is as crazy as its protagonist.

For while it reminds us of a lot of the things we used to love about point-and-click adventure games, it also repeats a lot of the genre's old mistakes.

Dark humour

On the positive side, Edna & Harvey: The Breakout's story is quirky and involving.

Playing the part of Edna, an apparently mentally disturbed girl who talks openly with her cuddly Rabbit Harvey, your first task is to escape your padded cell.

The next step is to find out why you're being experimented on by your ex-neighbour and how your father came to be convicted of murder.

This sounds like a dark, gothic tale, but believe it or not the tone for Edna & Harvey: The Breakout is as light and airy as you could imagine - albeit with a slightly unsettling undertone.

Talk the talk

Indeed, the strongest element of Edna & Harvey: The Breakout is its dialogue. There's loads of the stuff, with custom spoken phrases set aside for every interactive object, action, and character in the game.

All of this dialogue is well recited by a talented cast, too. The off-the-wall humour does start to grate after a few hours in its company, but overall it's very well done - especially considering the politically incorrect material.

We did notice a few translation issues where some of the original German character names confusingly slipped in, but otherwise it's all been handled very professionally.

Edna herself makes for an interesting lead, especially when held against the dull meatheads and shallow cartoon characters we're usually asked to play as on our iPads.

Mental breakdown

Unfortunately, it's as a game that Edna & Harvey: The Breakout suffers. That might sound silly - this IS a game after all - but games of this kind are split fairly evenly between story and interactive elements. And the latter is ultimately found wanting.

Interacting with Edna's surroundings works reasonably well. You interact with hotspots by touching them and then selecting the appropriate contextual action. You can attempt to use, pick up, examine, or talk to almost anything in the game.

It's not always easy to touch these icons - they can be fiddly, too small, or too close together for comfort on a number of occasions. Given that the game was designed with precise mouse control in mind, that's perhaps no surprise.

Overall, though, it's functional enough. Where the game falls down is in the puzzle mechanics.

You don't have to be mad to play this...

Edna & Harvey: The Breakout just doesn't make enough sense. Finding solutions to the problems you face is too often a matter of trial-and-error and interminable wandering.

You'll hit impasse after impasse where your only recourse is to tread back over old ground and touch every interactive element in every combination. Or you'll turn to an online guide for help, as we did on occasion.

Either way, your immersion in the world will be lessened, as will your will to go on.

Edna & Harvey: The Breakout is the perfect example of why we loved the old point-and-click adventures back in the day - and also why they fell out of fashion. There's still space for intelligent puzzle and story-led gaming on iOS, but such games need to make accessibility and logical progression a priority - two things that are sorely lacking here.
 
Edna & Harvey: The Breakout
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 15 August 2012
A bright and humorous point-and-click adventure with excellent dialogue but frustrating gameplay - just like they used to make 'em
 
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