Back in the day a good point and click adventure seemed to arrive every few months, many of them filled with dark humour, interesting storylines and some off-kilter puzzles. Edna and Harvey never made as much of a mark as the Sam and Max games but this new edition gives us a second chance to get to know them.
This isn’t the first Edna and Harvey game to appear on Switch. We’ve already had the sequel, Harvey’s New Eyes. last year. Personally, though, if you haven’t played that one then start here. In this first Edna and Harvey game we are introduced to Edna, a young girl who just happens to be an inmate in an insane asylum. We know as much about how she got there as she does, which is nothing, and the first task is to break out.
The subject matter is a good excuse to provide some dark humour and unique environmental puzzles, from the other inmates to the guards and then, later, a whole cast of other interesting characters. In fact these characters provide the best part of the game, all well written and voice acted.
There’s also some time travel involved, which is used to help work out some of the key puzzles elsewhere, though I won’t go in to too much detail and spoil the story for those who haven’t played before.
Puzzles range from the fairly obvious (how to open a window) to the downright mad, pull-your-hair-out kind just due to the fact that Edna sees the world a little differently. It does mostly get the balance right but there will be times you’ll be diving for a walkthrough if you can’t bear being stuck in one place for two long, especially as this is designed as a mostly single-screen per puzzle game.
An issue with bringing these adventure games to console is the control scheme and this is one area where this game falls down. There are visable points to ‘click’ on by using the right thumbstick to highlight them but it’s no substitute for a mouse pointer. On Switch I would have liked to see the option to use the touchscreen, which is sadly absent here.
Voice acting and writing are great and I loved the strange story, though it does manage to go off track a little towards the end. It’s amazing how the graphics and sound have been cleaned up and updated and it’s also great to be able to compare the old and new versions as you can toggle the game from the original to the anniversary mode at any time.
While modern gamers may find some of Edna and Harvey to be a little tricky and the single screen style gameplay a little constricting, it’s worth playing for the story alone. It may not be up there with the best of Lucasarts adventures, but the girl and her little blue bunny certainly deserve the spotlight in this remake.