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The first graphic adventure by Tim Schafer in sixteen years, Broken Age began two years ago in a historic, record-breaking Kickstarter campaign. Now it's here in all its beautiful, 2D, hand-painted glory, with an original orchestral soundtrack and an all-star vocal cast.
Release Date: Jan 28, 2014
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Recent updates View all (2)

Controller and Touch Support!

April 16th, 2014

Hey all, we just updated Broken Age with full controller and touch support! All of these modes should just work (at the same time actually!), but there's an updated controller remapping section in the options menu if you want to tweak it. And try messing with the right stick and triggers in game and the d-pad in the inventory for some super pro moves. Let us know what you think on the forums!

15 comments Read more

Broken Age Act 1 Release

February 18th, 2014

Thanks to all of you lovely folks who checked out the game during our backer beta from January 14-28. We thought it would be good to drop everyone a note about the release build that went up after that. This build included the following stuff:

New interaction options
  • There are now options to toggle between click and drag interaction modes
  • Inventory is now mapped to right click on PC and Linux
  • Added mouse sensitivity options

Art and animation polish
Lots of scenes were re-painted at a higher resolution and many animation pops and sorting issues were fixed up!

There was also just a lot of general bug fixing during this period. I'd recommend checking the game out again before act 2 releases.

AND THANKS FOR PLAYING!

48 comments Read more

Reviews

“Act 1 of Broken Age is a gorgeous, impeccably written adventure that simultaneously tugs at my nostalgic core, while ushering in a new era for the point-and-click genre.”
9.5 – IGN

“...delightful, beautiful, utterly charming and you really should play it right this second.”
9 – Polygon

“I haven’t felt this surge of nostalgia and excitement about a game in a long time, and I truly think Broken Age will be looked back fondly as one of the greats.”
9.5 – Destructoid

About the Game

The first graphic adventure by Tim Schafer in sixteen years, Broken Age began two years ago in a historic, record-breaking Kickstarter campaign. Now it's here in all its beautiful, 2D, hand-painted glory, with an original orchestral soundtrack and an all-star vocal cast.

Broken Age is a timeless coming-of-age story of barfing trees and talking spoons. Vella Tartine and Shay Volta are two teenagers in strangely similar situations, but radically different worlds. The player can freely switch between their stories, helping them take control of their own lives, and dealing with the unexpected adventures that follow.

They said adventure games were dead, but then Broken Age punched its hand out of the grave and grabbed you by the wrist and you screamed just like in the end of Carrie except what you screamed was "I love adventure games so much!" And sorry I spoiled the end of Carrie.

Act 1 is available now, and the act 2 conclusion will arrive as a free update later this year!

Key Features:

  • Pointing
  • Clicking
  • Original soundtrack, composed by Peter McConnell, recorded by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
  • All-star voice cast, including Elijah Wood, Jack Black, Jennifer Hale, Wil Wheaton, and Pendleton Ward
  • Dialog Trees!
  • Some jokes. Unless you don't think they're funny, in which case we totally weren't trying to be funny.
  • A whole bunch of awesome PUZZLES
  • This one really hard puzzle that you won't get but you'll look it up online and not tell anybody
  • All your hopes and dreams

PC System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP Service Pack 3
    • Processor: 1.7 GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, ATI Radeon 4870 HD, Intel HD 3000, or equivalent card with at least 512 MB VRAM
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 1500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
    • Additional Notes: Must have OpenGL 3 with GLSL version 1.3
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.2 GHz, AMD Athlon 64 2.2Ghz
    • Memory: 3 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460, AMD Radeon HD 6850
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Hard Drive: 1500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
    • Additional Notes: Must have OpenGL 3 with GLSL version 1.3. Some users may need to disable Steam overlay.

Mac System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or later
    • Processor: Intel Core Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4850, NVIDIA GeForce GT 120, Intel HD 3000, or equivalent card with at least 512 MB VRAM
    • Hard Drive: 1500 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Must have OpenGL 3 with GLSL version 1.3
    Recommended:
    • OS: Lion 10.7.X
    • Processor: Intel Core i series processor
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6770, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460
    • Hard Drive: 1500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Compatible Sound Card
    • Additional Notes: Must have OpenGL 3 with GLSL version 1.3. Some users may need to disable Steam overlay.

Linux System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
    • Processor: 1.7 GHz Dual Core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, ATI Radeon 4870 HD, Intel HD 4000, or equivalent card with at least 512 MB VRAM
    • Hard Drive: 1500 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Must have OpenGL 3 with GLSL version 1.3
    Recommended:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or higher
    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo at 2.2 GHz, AMD Athlon 64 2.2Ghz
    • Memory: 3 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460, AMD Radeon HD 6850
    • Hard Drive: 1500 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Compatible Sound Card
    • Additional Notes: Must have OpenGL 3 with GLSL version 1.3. Some users may need to disable Steam overlay.
Helpful customer reviews
328 of 386 people (85%) found this review helpful
813 products in account
22 reviews
5.0 hrs on record
After an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter campaign, Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine have decided to return to their roots with their first point-and-click adventure game in over 15 years. Similar to their past projects like Grim Fandango and The Secret of Monkey Island, Broken Age features unforgettable characters, puzzles, unique themes, and plenty of humor.

The game centers around two characters each from a drastically different walk of life. One half of the narrative follows Vella, a girl who is to be offered as a sacrifice to an enormous monster known as Mog Chothra. While the other half of the story focuses on a boy named Shay who finds himself trapped on a spaceship under the watchful eye of an overly protective computer that holds him prisoner under the pretense of safety. Both of the characters yearn for change and freedom in their own way. While Vella is surrounded by overly zealous villagers that cling to tradition, Shay is completely isolated and patronized by an overbearing computer as he’s forced to endure the same routine day after day.

The puzzles are quite satisfying, they’re not overly complex but they still require some thinking which is a refreshing change from most recent games in the genre. They consist of scouring the environment for various items which can be combined with one another or given to certain characters. The amount of overall polish added to the dialogue is impressive, as you’ll most likely try to use the items in your inventory in clever ways to prompt humorous reactions and responses.

The art style is unique and really sets the game apart. While not being overly impressive on a technical level, Broken Age is brimming with personality and has an undeniable charm. The game feels like a children’s book come to life but the underlying themes and subtle humor make it appealing to players of all ages. The environments are varied and interesting to look at while the characters are all quite memorable.

Sporting an all-star cast, the voice acting is top notch which brings each of the characters to life with standout performances from Elijah Wood as Shay and Jennifer Hale best known for her work on Mass Effect (Femshep) as the megalomaniacal computer. The soundtrack is also well done, fitting the mood and atmosphere of the game perfectly.

Unfortunately, the game is quite linear and doesn’t really offer much in terms of re-playability. The different dialogue options add a bit of humor but have little to no impact on the story. For example: choosing to lie to certain characters won’t change the way they perceive you and will have the same effect as telling the truth.

Act one is also fairly short, lasting around 4 hours and it ends with a bit of a cliffhanger which will leave you anxiously waiting for Act two. Broken Age probably would have benefited from being released all at once but Act two is promised at no additional cost at a later date.

Overall, Broken Age is a charming game with a strong narrative, great humor and memorable characters. It’s proof that there is still room for creativity and innovation amidst the slew of modern action titles. Broken Age not only revives the point and click genre, it helps redefine it.

TLDR? This review is also available in video format:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kNp4HjhyQY


Pros:

+ Strong Narrative
+ Solid Voice Acting
+ Great Sense of Humor
+ Reasonable Puzzles
+ Fantastic Art Direction
+ Charming and Unique


Cons:

- Cliffhanger Ending
- Short Length (3 - 4 hours long)
- Linear
- Dialogue Options have little influence on the story.
Posted: January 29th, 2014
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372 of 572 people (65%) found this review helpful
102 products in account
1 review
2.1 hrs on record
Warning, this is a biased backer's review!

I admit it, I can not distinguish between the objective quality of an early 90's computer game and its impact on my emotions at the time. I am one of the many sentimental fools who like to believe that it is possible to recreate the overall experience of a DOTT or the later (fantastic!) GRIM FANDAGO in the mind of a mid 30's guy if you just have the right ingredients.

And then Tim Schafer comes along, with an idea to good to be true. So, give the man some money! Release the kraken! Just let him create for god's sake. It was the easiest decision of my life. And so many people did the same thing. So the game was hilariously overfunded.

Today I believe that the money killed it. If he'd just gotten the 400.000 he'd been asking for, he would have been forced to stick to established mechanics for adventure games (don't forget, that's what he wanted to do, a classic 2D Point and Click, a "Double Fine Adventure") and work out some funny puzzles. No milestone in gaming history but a nice and small project for the fans.

So, what is this "Broken Age"? It is an ambitious interactive animated movie. The word "game" is not part of that definition for a reason. The production value is high, it looks good (if you like the art design) and It certainly can be a real jewel for a new generation of gamers, let's say the 12-year olds of today. I was twelve when I played Schafer's early works and I didn’t complain about gameplay details, I just loved the experience. Broken Age however simply doesn't get to me.

Here the problem. Broken Age was not supposed to be a game for 12-year olds. It was supposed to be for the backers, for the old f***s! Hardly ever was a target group this precise and he obviously didn't even try to hit it. Tim Schafer knows how to make games for his generation. He proved it over and over.

So, what's wrong with Broken Age?

1) It's not a game.

Some say it's too easy, I'd say it's not even a game by definition. After the first 20 minutes I wondered why they bothered implementing an interface at all. For the way the story unravels a movie would have been the appropriate medium.

2) Marketing was a strong design factor.

No one can blame Schafer for having sales in mind. He is a businessman after all. But this game should have been an exception for it was fully funded. The overall appeal of the game is that of an IOS or Android port. Versatile mouse controls are missing in favour of multi platform marketing.

3) The dramaturgy doesn't work (Small Spoiler?!)

Tim Schafer is usually good at building tension and relieving it. He makes you empathise with the characters. Broken Age has a serious timing and immersion problem. After about 10 minutes of gameplay your character has to fight for her life but it doesn't stress you at all. It's like it doesn't matter and the other characters don't care much either. Given the actual drama of the scene it happens way too early and the story is not building up to it. It is a feeling of alienation that is highly unusual for Schafer's work.

If I didn't know anything about the background of "Broken Age" or who made it, I'd say: "Well, this is an interesting indie debut! Let's see what the guys can do when the come into some money!" But as a result of the most anticipated Kickstarter gaming project from a designer legend like Tim Schafer, it is an utter disappointment.
Posted: January 17th, 2014
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211 of 319 people (66%) found this review helpful
21 products in account
1 review
5.3 hrs on record
So, I waited to finish act one before jumping to conclusions. First an important note about myself, I´m a 27 years old art director specialized in animation, I work for the game and advertising industry. So, I probably suffer a little because of this during gameplay; it´s hard to fool someone that knows where all the strings ussually hide. Also, english is my third language. Beware.

I honestly think that Tim got all wrong here, out of good intentions, but wrong indeed. I dont think he jumped the shark (I enjoyed VGAS mini adventure a lot) but the lack of focus and strategic management is intriguing. Tim has no problem seeing all that´s wrong about publishers and their intrussions in the creative process, but he clearly doesnt see that his workflow kind of depends on them. Running out of money in a proyect is not something to become used to. Specially when you propose a semi-open comunication platform.

DoubleFine invested in this game more than they should. For me, this was the first intrussion into the kickstarter work dynamic. For them, its a "make or brake" project. Why? Dunno. Maybe their finances justify such a bold move, but that desition made the backers accesory. The fact that they depend on a larger sample to justify the investment, leaves us out of the picture. We paid for a game, and on the run they decided to make another one. Tim presents it as a "bigger game" but to be fair, that´s not a precise term. Broken Age turned out to be wider, not bigger.

Dont get me wrong, it´s probably the right move, with PC sales declining and tablets sales trough the roof, priorizing the casual tablet gamer represents a bigger target audience. But, it cant be denied, they used our money to make a game for other people. People that probably dont even know about the kickstarter campaing.

I made a list of Tim mistakes, since I think the team really warned him about everything im goint to point out:

1) Not having a game idea ready before the kickstarter or changing it on the fly due to budget increase. This is clear from the documentary, over 2 months of the guy writing alone and delaying both the art, animation and programming team. The proof behind this is the fact they ended up using test levels and characters in game. They didnt had the time to turn their backs to that amount of work.

2) Not hiring a 2nd writer so he can do what he does best, direct the damn thing. This is derivatory from point 1. It´s clear how Tims writing hurt the game. He was behind on the game concept, behind on the game name, behind on dialog. Animating without dialog is frustrasting, as most of the work ends up being redone or retouched. You can move ahead, but you have to pretty much do it all over a again ( or at least supervise it ) so theres little time saved. Tim clearly delayed production time, and even worse, couldnt concentrate in writing ( his words ) due to "interruptions".

2) Not listening to the community manager, that was the only one with the gut to tell the guy what everyone was thinking. The idea was too big for the budget. And at the end we got a small game that feels empty.

3) Making Bagel a human chokepoint. This was ( since it´s my area of expertise ) the most intriguin desition of all and i know it really hurt the game. I'm a Bagel fan, but the idea of a game with his style and his style only, is flawed, because the guy only has 2 hands. Not only this, Bagel is more of an artist than a game art director nowadays. The art team suffered this desition; Bagel, because of the work load and responsability towards composition in a bigger scope, and the rest of the team for being subdued to someone elses stlye. This shows in the current version of the game. The contrast between scene and scene its hard to swallow, I personally can tell who draw each background.

5) Changing the scope of the game "because he cant think of a smaller game" and then make it smaller due to budget constrains. The amount of concept art developed for this game is morbid, mostly when you consider how little we got to see implemented. All those hours of work could be better spent in many other areas that clearly needed of polishing.

6) Priorizing art over gameplay. Now we get to the rough part. Yes, the game can be funny, but sincerely it isn´t really fun. Shay´s portion of the game altough conceptual feels empty and streamlined. I didnt break free, they gave me the perfect tool for every single puzzle, because of reasons. I solved the teleporter puzzle even before knowing why i should solve it, i saw it coming from the distance.

7) Being OK with exploiting employees. This really got my gears going, since it's something that I suffer myself. Tim made a big game, because his a big boy that only knows how to make big games, and because of that, art directors, illustrators and animators, had to work overtime, because his damn schedule DOESNT MAKE SENSE. His words. I was OK with it ( I work overtime due to passion, not explotation ) untill I hear it from the man itself, he made a game that REQUIRED fathers to spend time away from their children. That's wrong, it doesnt matter how you present it.

8) Forgetting that implementing audio and doing animation tests takes a lot of time. This is linked to point 2. Dialog really delayed everything. Without lines you cant record them, without the records you cant take your time to carefully choose the best takes, and then tie them to animation that actually makes sense with the tone and cadence of the voice. So little time to polish shows. At least for me, this was a deal breaker. The quality of the game it´s so sporadic that the beautiful made the ugly look more ugly.

9) Leaving the sound team alone. Yup, this one is hard to write, since it´s clear in the documentary how much passion went in to the game. But, the voice takes they endedup choosing are baffling, many dont fit the tone, and in many cases, not only does the voice acting missfit the emotion of the dialog but the animation also does so, so we really see it. Watching a character moving his arms and opening his mouth like he's screaming, only to hear a calm voice whisper to my ears is baffling. I re-watched the voice acting episodes, and saw many takes much clear in intention than the ones they ended up using ( example, bellas "screw you bird" was off, really off ).

The score has moments of greatness, I must be sincere. But often, the disconnection, the lack of time to adjust things is palpable. What use is a director if he doesn't have access to his most powerful tool, saying "No, you got it wrong, do it again.".

10) Playtesting and making a simple game simpler, because you forgot what adventure games are all about. If you test a puzzle game, and fear that your user is going to get stuck, then you really dont understand how adventure games work. Chokepoints, are most necesary, they build up tension, that is released, and that´s what you call satisfaction. Play "The Dig" if you forgot how that feels. The fact that the internet is a thing, is even more of an incentive for such dynamic. If you get really stuck and feel really ♥♥♥♥ty about it, you dont have to buy a magazine to move forward.

11) Backwards rationalization. Tim did this so many times that I lost count. It goes like this: Tim: "I WANT A". Reality: "You can only get B" Tim: "Now that I think about it, B is much better because..." It´s hard to make a game specially when you keep moving the target over and over again. When Tim said "part 2 has to be much harder" he really meant that part1 should be much harder but he couldn´t do anything about it.

12) Forgeting to make smart production choices. Tim grew fond of shotting himself in the foot. I wouldnt be so harsh if it werent for a single game: "Swords and Sworcery". Made with little over 200,000$ in less than 8 months, the game is a great example of smart and creative choices, that fit a low budget perfectly.
Posted: January 20th, 2014
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67 of 91 people (74%) found this review helpful
327 products in account
16 reviews
3.8 hrs on record
in this game you make a tree vomit
Posted: January 28th, 2014
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59 of 83 people (71%) found this review helpful
203 products in account
1 review
4.0 hrs on record
As a backer of the Kickstarter for this game, I was given early access to Act I. So I won't spoil any of the story, but I will say that this is a very good adventure game experience, on par with the classics of the Golden Era (80s & 90s). I've been waiting for these games to come back and what better way to re-usher them in than with a brand new game from Tim Schafer himself, an adventure star who designed the likes of Full Throttle, Grim Fandango, and Day of the Tentacle. He also had a hand in designing the first two Monkey Island games by Ron Gilbert. These are adventure gaming classics. I've only played half the game so far, but the other half is coming in a few months as of this writing. That said here are my thoughts:

The Good:

-Story. Very intriguing. I was very invested in both the girl and boy's characters and was quite interested to see where their stories would take them and how they'd eventually intertwine. The experience was not unrewarding and definitely wasn't a disappointment!

-Writing. Tim's humour is expectedly very present in the game. His trademark sarcasm and wit are strewn throughout the dialogue and even into some of the look of the locations. It's a very bizarre and funny world Tim has created, but not too bizarre. Just recognizable enough to not seem too far out and unrelatable.

-Art style. The 2D painted artwork style is fantastic. I was initially skeptical in the beginning of Bagel's art style, once I'd seen some of his work in one of the hidden backer forum threads on the Double Fine forums. But I have to say that my skepticism was misplaced. This game has a lovely quality and very pleasing aesthetic. The artwork truly does resemble a beautiful painting come to life. And despite this it is absolutely brimming with detail in every scene. It's beautiful to just sit and watch, but it also works very well for the gaming experience and story. Some of the girl's locations actually reminded me of Curse of Monkey Island, even though the styles are wildly different. While the boy's space ship is unlike anything I've ever seen for a space ship. It's all very unique and with just a dash of familiarity in it as well.

-Animation. Truly charming and natural. Everything seemed so alive. Not like puppets on strings, but real characters that were moving on their own. Special care was given to these animations. Every one showed amazing attention to detail and added a great deal of character to everything that moved. Every character in the game had their own unique persona that spoke volumes about their motivations and intentions. One of my favourite aspects of the design of the game!

-Voice acting. Top notch. Every voice puts a life and an identity into their characters in a way that binds them to their personas where I could not justify turning voices off and just reading subtitles. The voices are truly special and unique and are really part of the experience in a huge way. So don't mute them.

-Soundtrack. Peter McConnell did a fantastic job with the soundtrack. The themes are very fitting and atmospheric, yet the themes for the boy and girl and their locales are separate and distinct from eachother, as should be expected. Peter doesn't disappoint. As a backer, I also received the soundtrack to the game which I immediately put straight on my player for my long drives to work. And it's played by a live orchestra. Can't beat that. Truly effective work. Bravo, Peter.


The "Wish-It-Was-Better":

-Puzzles. The heart of the adventure game experience (combined with story). There are some great puzzles in this game, but as a veteran adventure gamer I was expecting a bit more of a challenge. Especially in the beginning, the puzzles were fairly simple. I assume to ease in new or rusty players. Luckily these simple "tutorial" puzzles didn't last long at all end began to become more complex soon enough, to my relief. As long as I was thorough, however, I never missed anything. Years of adventure gaming has taught me to leave no stone unturned and to keep a mental map image in my head of where certain characters, objects, and puzzles were located. This made it easier to deduce when and where I'd be needing certain objects or what objects I might need in certain areas. I ended up acquiring all of the objects I needed ahead of time before I needed to use them, which sped up the gameplay a bit. But that's due to my obsessive style of exploration. Other gamers might not share this and thus wouldn't run into the same problem, which would probably extend the experience for them. There was no so-called "moon logic" in this game, which many classic adventure games were infamous for. Personally, I never had a problem with extremely hard puzzles and enjoyed them, but many others (especially nowadays) don't share this feeling. Luckily, they won't be disappointed with this game as a result.

-Length. Keeping in mind that I have only played Act I, I still have to say it was somewhat shorter than I expected. If Act I is truly an exact halfway point in the game, then I can only hope that the puzzles in Act II are much more difficult. I wish it was longer. I'll have to put it away for a year or two after completing Act II and come back to it to see just how long the game actually is with a fresh perspective from beginning to end.


Overall, the world of Broken Age is an immensely pleasing and fun one to live in and explore. The story is gripping and mysterious. By the end of Act I you are left wondering just WHAT in the world is going on! It left me wanting more, but in a good way. Luckily we will be getting more! I encountered no bugs whatsoever. The game played extremely smoothly and there were no unexpected quirks. I was finding myself missing the skip dialogue function from the older LucasArts SCUMM engine games by pressing '.'. Instead it only lets you skip entire "cutscenes" of dialogue. Not a huge issue, as there never really was anything that I needed to skip specifically to get at something new from a repeated conversation. I would like a "retro" filter shortcut for the game to make it seem all pixelated and 90s looking if only for the novelty. ;)

I highly recommend this game to those who enjoy a good story in gaming and those who appreciate a work of art. Newcomers to the adventure genre who are mildly curious but fearful of ominously difficult puzzles needn't worry as everything is intuitive and logical, but still challenging enough I feel to give you a great experience without seeming too easy or too short. Adventure veterans may find the challenge a little lackluster, but what little it may lack in puzzle challenge it makes up for in pretty much everything else. It won't be the next puzzle masterpiece adventure game, but it is surely a very good start to the great Adventure Resurgence! It appeals to old and new fans alike and, I feel, is the perfect bridge to link the two together. Take us onward, Double-Fine! Here's hoping for more adventures after Broken Age!
Posted: January 14th, 2014
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