Broken Age Act 1 Impressions
January 31, 2014
Broken Age is a point-and-click adventure game from Double Fine. It is being released in two acts, and a full review will be done when the game is released in its entirety.
The most successful Kickstarter of all time has finally come to fruition… well, kind of. Double Fine needed to break up Broken Age into two parts in order to earn enough money from selling Act 1 in order to sufficiently fund Act 2, which is promised for later this year. As it stands at its $25 price point, it is a little salty for what is on offer in Act 1. However, those who purchase Act 1 will get Act 2 as a free update when it is released. This unorthodox release schedule asks of the player to have faith in Double Fine to complete the game. Double Fine is a studio of such experience, that I, personally, do not have a problem “investing” in Double Fine and Broken Age, especially after having played through Act 1.
Broken Age Act 1 is broken into two parts. The player may take control of Velouria (also referred to as Vella) or Shay (also referred to as Captain Sweetie), the game’s two main protagonists. The two characters may be switched between at any time. This proves useful when one is stuck on a puzzle and wants to change it up for a while and see what the other character is up to. The dual nature of the narrative is engaging and well executed. Though Act 1 ends on an expected cliffhanger, the conclusion was satisfying enough and I greatly anticipate finishing it up later this year.
Items that can be interacted with light up nicely so that player does not have to randomly click on every pixel of the screen wondering if they missed something. The puzzles are intuitive enough as point-and-click adventure puzzles can be. There will always be an amount following the developer’s potentially bizarre logic from time to time in any adventure game, but Broken Age Act 1 maintains a good flow and pacing never making the player feel helpless and lost like 2013’s The Cave could do occasionally. Broken Age Act 1 is full of “Ah Ha” moments, and clever puzzles. It walks a narrow line between old and new, perhaps leaning more heavily towards the adventure games of old, but then again, that is what the game promised from the onset.
Where Broken Age perhaps shines most is in its presentation and beautiful artistic style. Everything looks as though it was hand painted with fluid animations. The presentation is further enhanced by absolutely stellar voice performances that bring the characters to life. Broken Age is certainly undeniably charming, especially Vella’s little sister. The writing and humor are classic Double Fine and I unashamedly laughed out loud on several occasions and did a spit take that required a thorough cleaning of my keyboard.
I’m not going to go into story details, but I will say that Vella’s story is remarkably similar as to that found within Okami. Shay’s side explores fewer environments, and felt shorter than Vella’s. Broken Age Act 1 is likely an investment worth making. It offers an enjoyable 3+ hours of brain teasing and laughs. Let’s hope Double Fine can bring it home in only a way they can (and not suffer any delays or run out of money).