Games Gazette Logo

THE BREAKOUT: starring EDNA & HARVEY
(one has to wonder why rabbits often end up with the name 'Harvey' - surely not everyone has seen or even knows of the 1950 movie with James Stewart as Elwood. P. Dowd, the man with an 'invisible' 6ft Rabbit friend called Harvey)

This is the first time I have heard of EDNA & HARVEY but I hope it isn't the last. Edna is a very pale character with deep purple hair, pop-out eyes accentuated by black brows, a wide mouth, no visible nose and a cute girlie voice. Originally released in 2019, The Breakout is the 12th year anniversary of Daedalic Games and comes at a price just one penny off of twelve pounds, though a search will find this reduced to around £8.50 (ish) until 9th July 2020, either way it is good value or very good value for money - if you don't cheat at the beginning it could be the best $dollar per hour value game ever!

Harvey is her j-cloth blue cuddly-toy rabbit. To all intense and purpose Harvey is an ordinary, found in any kids store, soft-toy bunny but Harvey is anything but ordinary though. He communicates with Edna, answering her questions and giving her ideas and wanders around finding items and directions that Edna can use or follow. Of course no one else sees him act or hears him speak - he is really in Edna's consciousness and promoting her inner thoughts and memories (or is he?). He is your (Edna's) best chance of survival and escaping the Insane Asylum you are currently inhabiting; emphasise the word 'insane' and use it as an adjective to describe the asylum, not all of the inmates - the staff are just as mad if not more so.

 

The game begins like several other point-and-click games, with your character in a single room, a locked door, and seemingly no way out. After trying for nearly an hour I contacted the person from whom I had received this game to review. I said how long I had been playing and how far I hadn't got. I was told that I wasn't the first person to be perplexed about the start. This is a game where you have to do everything without help, there are no hints or in-game assistance, although there are times when Harvey can set your memory back in time, using his 'tempomorph' ability (Yeh! don't ask) where he can show/remind you/Edna of a similar situation as to the one now faced and how you got out of it then. You also have little time in these back-memories as it seems just as you begin to hit the right path you are pulled back to the present.

Sometimes you need to take control of Harvey.

 

Speaking of controls, the PS4 allows for the hand-held controller to perfrom all the necessary movements, Edna can walk, as well as look, take, use, these latter three can be at people, objects and items within her location or at the currently held item from her inventory. Sometimes I got a little confused with using the controls and figured getting to the Inventory and Using items, for examples, could have been a lot easier. When the screen offers you the chance to defeat someone/thing by cunning you have to be very quick and precise with your control use - many times I wasn't and many times I was sent back to my prison room. Thankfully the escape route you had created remains open all the time so within a few clicks you are back to the point where you were last arrested, only now with the knowledge of what will happen if you repeat what you did last time.

 

Do & Die tactics are often good, especially as you don't die or lose anything you were carrying, you are just placed back in your padded cell and within a few clicks you are back to the point where you were last arrested, only now with the knowledge of what will happen if you repeat what you did last time. (aka Wash, Rinse, Repeat).

Of course Edna isn't insane and there are plots and subplots for her being held there in her padded cell. But then, she does talk to and listen to and take advice from, a Blue soft-fabric toy Rabbit named Harvey, so perhaps she isn't 100% compos mentis (and neither is Harvey).

 

Regular point and click rules apply - if there is a hotspot (shown by a flowery starred curor) then do all you can when you locate it (you will usually find several on each screen). If you talk to someone and there is a list of 'Monkey Island' type questions you can ask, then make sure you ask every one of them. This is a mite tedious but generally worthwhile.

The speech is very clear, though occasionally a word may sound a bit odd (example Lab-a-tory (sounds like lavatory) instead of Lab Orat Ory - laboratory)

 

Visually it is beguiling with stunning scenery and backdrops, perfectly defined rooms and locations, with almost 2D (but actually 3D) animated characters; Edna really is a weird looking, dream-like creature. Harvey is just a floppy toy until Edna is on her own and needs assistance or someone/thing to bounce ideas off and discuss plans, then he is as animated as she is.

 

In case you are wondering how I got out of the cell at the beginning of the game, I cheated! I Googled it and found a text walkthrough from when the game was originally published. It seems that apart from the change of graphic style not a lot has changed, although some of the directions given in the walkthrough were to use buttons etc that don't show up on the screen, at least not as or where described.

There are times when you are led through the game by only having one option of where to go, but there are usually a number of options as to what you can look at, take and/or use, all showing up onscreen as small rings that change to a star-like shape when you are in the correct position to interact. I should say that when you are under pressure to use something, such as if you are about to get caught and need to hide or utilise some object or item, then you have barely enough time to change the 'ring' to the 'star'. Several times I fell foul of the slightly awkward cursor system, until, at least twice, I truly put the 'curse' into cursor!

Not sure how much left I have to go before finishing the game. It feels like I am close to the end mainly because the game is called 'The Breakout' and I have almost broken out.

I admit to using the walkthrough once more, I won't say exactly where, but it was in a situation where I thought I had worked out what to do but couldn't gain success. I had worked it out correctly except for one small thing, so once I knew that I was okay.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015