Video Game Review: Broken Age Part 1

Double Fine’s highly anticipated point-and-click adventure is finally here!

One of the early Kickstarter success stories, Double Fine’s Broken Age has been highly anticipated for a while now, and Tim Scafer delivers a lovingly crafted first half.

It focuses around two protagonists, Vella and Shay, as they break through the confines of their society which, on the outside, look nice and sunny, with dark undertones lurking underneath. Vella’s town of Sugar Bunting sacrifice young girls to a great monster, Mog Chothra. Everyone seems to be perfectly fine with this, Vella’s family are ecstatic that she’s been chosen for the offering. What follows is her breaking these traditions and fighting back against the gigantic beast. Shay’s story is based on a spaceship, of which Shay, a young boy, is the only human passenger. He’s been raised on the ship by two computers, each acting as his mother and father. Shay is sheltered from the outside world and treated like a child, which he rebels against when mysterious things start happening on the ship.

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Both stories are about what it’s like to be someone rejecting society, and what it’s like to grow up. A coming-of-age story wrapped in fantasy and sci-fi, Broken Age is a whimsical top notch narrative. In Vella’s story, everything is light and colourful. There’s a cute charm to everything, which amplifies anything sinister. From floating clouds to seaside towns, you are very much immersed in the world. On Shay’s spaceship, everything has been designed for a child to comprehend, so we have talking spoons, squeaky noises and plushy figures. Again, this whimsical nature makes anything darker stand out. The hand-drawn art style is truly superb and the voice acting is genuinely amazing, with Shay being voiced by Elijah Wood and Jack Black making a memorable cameo . The music is phenomenal, helping add atmosphere to an already impressive world.

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The humour is also very amusing. It’s entertaining for both kids and adults. Although nothing in the way of adult humour, it has some very funny points that I chuckled at. If I had to compare it with anything, I’d say the humour was slightly reminiscent of Adventure Time. Either way, all audiences with grasp the weird and quirky humour of Broken Age.

If I have to criticise anything, it’s that for a game that’s been in development for about 2 years, it’s quite short. I’m not comparing it price, but I just wanted more, and after I finished, I immediately went back to playing it again from the start. Double Fine are going to release Part 2 soon, so I’m waiting with bated breath, because the ending of first half is a whole load of WHAAAAAAT?!

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Another thing I could criticise is that, by paying homage to the point-and-click genre of using very weird logic to solve puzzles, it becomes quite hard at points, and in a slightly cheap way. You have to use a certain kind of logic to solve many point-and-click adventures, to the point where you just try and connect everything with everything else, rather than try and figure out the puzzle logically. If you try rational thinking in Broken Age, you’ll find yourself ripping your hair out over some very simple puzzles.

However, Broken Age Part 1 is a lovingly crafted adventure that people of all ages should check out. It may be over too soon, but it only leaves you craving more!

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