Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Review: Broken Age - Act I (PC)

broken age
Broken Age tells a story of… well, that part’s still up in the air because this is only Part I but more accurately, I don't want to tell you anything about the story.

The game opens with no explanation. Instead Broken Age begins with two characters seemingly leaning back-to-back but separated by time and place. Click on either one, it doesn't matter since players can jump between the space-faring Shay and the would-be monster killer Vella on the fly (to a point). And that’s about as much of the game as I'm comfortable revealing because Broken Age is best left to be explored and be surprised by  and find answers like why Shay is stuck on a space ship or why Vella feels the need to kill the giant Mog Chothra.

broken age

Even with that description, it feels like I've given away too much.

In generalities, Broken Age is a point and click adventure game full of style, wit, a few good puzzles, and a sap-vomiting tree.

Broken Age isn't one of those adventure games that's taxing on the brain. The puzzles roll out in a (game) logical manner and there was only one spot where I felt a little stumped and, so help me, I dug out a pad of paper and pencil to overcome that bump in the road. Some reviewers have pointed out that the game is easy — especially if you have any experience with Sierra and LucasArts games of yesteryear — but that doesn't bother me. Rather, it's a positive. I can stop, appreciate the scenery, and just relax rather than have to stop the game, and walk away to calm myself down, a practice I adopted in my early adventure game days as preferable to snapping a mouse in two or punching out a monitor to relieve the frustration of trying to figure out some stupid puzzle.

The simplicity of the puzzles means Act I is over pretty quick, but I can't wait to hand this off to my kids so I can watch it all over again.

Broken Age - Act I snaps closed just as things are heating up with a twist that I thought I'd figured out but then there's another twist that has me anxious for Part II. I haven't felt this kind of anticipation since LOST — I need to see what happens next!

- Aaron Simmer

The Good:
- Looks so, so good!
- Some great voice performances
- Accessible and not overly-taxing
- It's an adventure game! (I wear my bias on my sleeve!)
- I hear calypso...

The Bad:
- Stops just as it starts getting really good
- Some the character pay-offs probably won't appear until Act II

Score: 8.5 / 10