Broken Age is a beautifully well written coming of age story, intertwining two characters from very different worlds with similar problems. Players will play as both Shay and Vella, who are teens that must overcome problems including sacrifice, isolation and other typical problems every teenagers face while growing up. Tim Schafer and his team started Broken Age as a Kickstarter, only asking for $300,000 initially but ended up receiving way more than expected and got over 3 million dollars. Act 1 was originally released on PC, but now with Act 2 out players can play this game on multiple platforms including PC, Playstation ( 4, and Vita ), Android and Apple. This will be a single review for both Act 1 and Act 2.
Starting off the game, players have the option to play as either Shay or Vella. The game is tailor-made in a way that allows you to start off a portion of Vella’s story that gradually switches over to Shay’s. Vella lives in Sugar Bunting, a village where everyone bakes cupcakes and pastries. Every season of this time of year, a monster visits each city asking for a sacrifice from the town. ‘Mog Chothra’ the monster takes the town’s sacrifice in exchange for protection of the town. This year it’s Vella’s turn to be sacrificed, which is considered a great honor in the eyes of the city. However, to Vella it’s stupid and she rather fights back instead of giving in to Mog Chothra’s demands. This is where Vella’s story takes off.
On the other hand we have Shay, a teenage boy who is wandering in the deep depths of space. Following a boring and repetitive daily routine, Shay seeks out real adventures. His mother, a computer A.I., makes sure to keep her ‘sweetie pie’ safe, making Shay repeat this loop that causes him to take drastic measures. Learning things he never should have learned, this throws Shay into an adventure he isn’t quite prepared to take on.
A good adventure game needs to have some things in order to be one of the best, such as great voice acting, interesting and compelling story in addition to relatable characters. Broken Age offers all of this, and it’s the developer’s way of attempting to remain at the top of their game. In the beginning of any game, players usually, more often than not, develop a bond with their characters, thereby making you care for their story and impacting the decisions you make. For me Broken Age took a little time to break in. Not fully aware of where ethics and morals stand, you will find yourself treading half way through Act 1 before realizing the bond you may have for your characters. As far as sound goes, right off the bat you should be able to tell that the voice acting is going to be superb. From the main characters like Vella and Shay to background characters like Marek and Alex, all the acting feels well done and the comedy aspect in the game complements the game very well. At some points in the game, you will find yourself smiling from pure enjoyment while there’ll also be moments where you’ll genuinely laugh out loud.
The aesthetics of the game are outstanding, giving a Disneyesque cartoon feel to the overall presentation. Never once do the graphics fail to impress, and the visuals do a good job of keeping the momentum of the game rolling as the game progresses. The sceneries will keep you entertained through Act 1, but with the return of Act 2 they seem to be recycled. As overused as the scenery is, the gameplay manages to keep this game fresh enough to maintain players’ interests long enough to see the story through.
Like many point and click adventure games, there are many puzzles. Most of the gameplay revolves around complex puzzles and choosing dialogue choices to play out each scenario. At first puzzles will give you a sense of achievement, but as the puzzles get harder, they become less rewarding and more frustrating. This frustration will have you scrambling to the internet for help which makes the game more of a chore than enjoyment. The inventory system is easy to use with the Playstation’s interface. Clicking a simple button will pop your items up. This is one of the most problematic things Broken Age faces with the PC version, which has you dragging your mouse all the way to the bottom left hand corner, which could get very tedious and annoying especially with all the times you need to enter the inventory menu. Regardless, Broken Age offers some of the most rewarding puzzles and gameplay in recent point and click adventure games to date.
Broken Age is a beautiful game that explores deep emotions and is entertaining every step of the way. The story always has you thinking of what’s going to happen next, which will have you itching to grab those controllers until the game is finished. It’s one of the games I would definitely recommend to anyone who loves adventure games or people interested in the genre. So have you played Broken Age yet? Let us know in the comments below if you liked it and for all your gaming reviews, keep it locked to FGE!