Broken Age Review
Shay has spent his whole life as the lone human aboard a spaceship. Now a teenager, he's grown tired of the faux missions designed for a child that are provided to him each day by the ship's computer. He doesn't really know why he's there, but he's begun to realize that he's a prisoner of both his routine and the ship itself.
Vella lives an idyllic life in a small country village surrounded by a loving family. Well, not quite idyllic, for we soon learn that she is to be among the maidens sacrificed to a great monster known as Mog Chothra each year in exchange for it sparing the village. But Vella isn't a typical maiden, and if she can't convince her fellow villagers to stand up to Mog Chothra, then she's determined to find a way to fight the monster herself.
Broken Age tells both of these stories in parallel, letting you switch between the two at will. While they are both quite different in terms of goals and setting, you can probably guess they are somehow connected. That connection is teased at the end of the game at the time of review, but the story will be continued, and hopefully concluded, when part two is released as a free update to the game.
The story is certainly intriguing, doubly so because you have two interesting stories that run in parallel with the underlying mystery of how they're connected. Episodes within each story play out as almost separate stories unto themselves, making for a compelling and dynamic narrative that keeps you hooked from beginning to end. And while there's plenty of humor in the game, the underlying themes are poignant, dark, and thought-provoking.
As for the gameplay, Broken Age is an adventure game in the classic style. The world is broken into individual screens for you to explore, and hotspots in each of these locations are activated with a click of the mouse. Some items can be collected and placed into your inventory, saved to be used with some object on another screen to sole a puzzle and move the story forward. Conversations with characters are conducted by selecting from a list of responses as you work your way through all of the branches of the dialog trees.
The puzzles start off pretty easy, so even if you're new to adventure games you shouldn't have much trouble with them. They do get a bit trickier towards the end of Part One, so it may be that the game's developers were looking to ramp up the difficulty as the game progresses and if so, Part Two may prove to be more of a challenge.
I enjoyed my time with Broken Age. I found the story to be compelling, and I kept coming back to play the game in much the same way I keep making time to read another chapter in a book that's hard to put down. I also liked the game's simple cartoon-like art style. I would have liked more challenge from the puzzles, but I can't say that the game's gentle difficulty detracted too much from the overall experience. If you appreciate games as storytelling devices, then you'll enjoy your time with Broken Age.
Final Rating: 88%. Point and click adventure games can still weave a magical tale.