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
+ Strong Narrative
+ Solid Voice Acting
+ Great Sense of Humor
+ Reasonable Puzzles
+ Fantastic Art Direction
+ Charming and Unique
- Cliffhanger Ending
- Short Length (3 - 4 hours long)
- Dialogue Options have little influence on the story.
Posted: January 29th, 2014