Broken Age (Part 1): Review

David C February 11, 2014 0


Double Fine Adventure could be called the kickstarter of games on Kickstarter, now named Broken Age, the point-and-click adventure by video game legend Tim Schafer and his team at Double Fine basically showed the money available on Kickstarter and the problems with this funding model.

From issues actually funding the full title, to reports of Double Fine failing to keep up with publisher demands, there has been times where Broken Age looked shaky. Even with the $3 million in funding, from a Kickstarter that only asked for $400,000, it has been a bumpy ride, but the game is finally here, sort of. 

Step Into Schafer’s World

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For those old enough to remember titles like Monkey Island, Full Throttle, Grim Fandango and more recently Physchonauts, the comedic mind behind those games has been working on Broken Age, but it isn’t just a comedy story without a backbone.

The world built in Broken Age is split into two different stories and two different people, Shay and Vella. From a background perspective, there is nothing drawing the two characters together. Shay lives in a spaceship with his AI Mom and Dad, completing automated missions that his younger self used to enjoy.

Vella, on the other side of the universe, is the next in line to be sacrificed to the demonic God Mog Chothra. Her family are mostly happy with this, even though Vella is still young and has a whole life ahead of her.

The idea that draws the characters together is rebellion. Shay wants to break free of the care-free life in the spaceship and wants to actually help people in the world, while Vella wants to break free of the demonic God, not wanting to face death, but rather put an end to Sugar Bunting’s dark days.

This may seem dark and grim, but Schafer has a nice way of creating a world that is a perfect balance of humor and imagination with enough grit to keep the story of the two escapees interesting, looking for a way out of their depressing situation. Although Vella may be in more immediate danger, it starts to become apparent that Shay’s situation is one that also needs attention. 

Classic Point & Click

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broken-age-2Broken Age is not built to define a change in the video game industry or to add new mechanics that show how point and clicks should be made in 2014, it is a knock-back to the old classics, underneath a new coat of paint.

The design of the world is rather remarkable, not just the visuals of characters, but all the small bits that build into this world. It is not just the unique art style that makes the setting and story more inviting, the characters are full of life, Double Fine has brought in a huge cast of celebrity voice actors to play the roles, including Elijah Wood for Shay.

The voice cast, characters, setting, art style, soundtrack and scenery all make Broken Age more enjoyable. From what would be an average point and click, you find a game that enthrals you in the story and leaves you at “end of part 1”.

There is more to see and more to do in Broken Age, this is not the end and may just be the beginning of a long story, where the two world’s of Vella and Shay collide.

Is It Worth The Money?

The point and click does suffer the same problems every point and click game does nowadays, questions about whether the game has any merit to playing it, over watching a Let’s Play. Is Broken Age really worth $20, a game that can be completed in a few hours and has only mildly challenging puzzles?

The answer is yes and no, depending on what type of gamer you are. Games like The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite have opened up the video game’s market to highly story-based games, with enough gameplay to meet the needs of most gamers, who will happily fork out $60 for the title.

When you take most of the gameplay away and replace it with X on Y mechanics, alongside a lot of cut-scenes and story, do you still have a game or an experience you are simply following along for the thrill. That question will be debated, but the story of Broken Age is enough to draw most gamers in, who enjoyed other story-based games.

The game may not be finished, this is only Part 1 of Broken Age, with more to follow. If you can feel good about paying $20 for an unfinished title, in the hope the next episode will be equally as good, if not better, then this could be the series for you – we would certainly recommend you try it out.

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