As I have mentioned in the past, Tim Schafer is one of my favorite game designers. I pretty much love all of the games he has had a hand in designing. When I first heard about this game, Broken Age, I was intrigued, but was a little turned off that it was going to be only on the PC. However, as time went on and I saw more of the game, it quickly became my most anticipated game of 2014. After seeing footage of the game during the VGX stream, I quickly preordered the game. I downloaded the game on release and beat it twice. I instantly fell in love with the first part of this two-part adventure game. I don’t want to waste any more time, so let us get started with the review of Broken Age Act 1.
The story revolves around two teenagers, and I will explain their stories separately and try not spoil it for people who haven’t played the game yet. The first story revolves around a boy named Shay, voiced by Elijah Woods. He is stuck on a massive spaceship that is run by the ship’s supercomputer that is voiced by Jennifer Hale. Shay is basically doing the same thing every single day, and wants to try to escape this rut that his overprotective supercomputer “mom” has him in. He also thinks that she is hiding something from him. Luckily, he finds a way to shut down the activities, and ends up meeting an unknown person in a wolf costume named Marek, voiced by David Kaufman, who will help him see what the mother computer is hiding from him. The second story revolves around a girl named Vella, voiced by Masasa Moyo. She lives in a village where she has been chosen to be part of a sacrifice to a giant monster known as the Mog Chathra. Through some puzzle solving, she escapes and begins a quest to find out how to kill the giant monster. What can I say about the story? It is unbelievably charming. The story kept me interested in both Shay and Vella and their interaction with other characters. Elijah Woods and Masasa Moyo do a fantastic job with their performances as the two characters. Even though the first act’s ending is a cliffhanger, it is to be expected. I mean, this is Act 1, after all. You need to wait for the next act to see what happens. It also helps that this is one game, and they aren’t sequel-baiting us like a lot of games do. Anyway, like I said, the story is just amazing.
Broken Age is, to no one’s surprise, an adventure game. I mean, if you didn’t know what it was before, you know now. You have the ability to start the game by either playing as Shay or Vella. You can also switch between the two at any time, but for me, I played through Shay’s story first, and then Vella’s. That is just how I played it. The main puzzle-solving aspect is like past adventure games from Tim Schafer’s library, where you pick up items that you find or are given to you, and use those items to solve puzzles. Some of the puzzles are easy, but I really don’t mind that. I don’t mind a challenge, but when it’s that one challenge that is keeping me from progressing and enjoying the game, I think that is an issue. For example, let us talk about one of the most infamous moments of Space Quest IV, the Skate-o-Rama. I know a lot of people still love this game, but this one little section of the game almost ruined it for a lot of gamers because it is really difficult. It ruins the pace of the game. I might have gotten stuck on a few of the puzzles in Broken Age, but I never felt like it ruined the experience at all. I will say though that I kicked myself after finding out the solution to those puzzles I was stuck on. The game is only a few hours long, but that is to be expected with the genre.
This game’s graphical presentation is beautiful. The 2D painted look is amazing to look at. The animation is smooth, the designs are memorable, and it looks unique among a lot of games that are out now and those that are coming out this year. The music is very atmospheric, and I was pulled into this weird world that Double Fine Productions has produced. The voice work is some of the best I have heard in any adventure game. Elijah Woods, Pendleton Ward, Masasa Moyo, Jack Black, Will Wheaton, Jennifer Hale, David Kaufman, and the other actors do a great job portraying their characters. This game’s humor is also one of the best things about the game. There are so many great jokes and smart writing, that it makes me wish a lot of games made these days had writing this strong.
On the negative side of things, I don’t really have a lot to complain about. I still need to play Act 2, and we all know it’s being made. This isn’t going to be like the Dark Matter incident on Steam where the game had no ending. I guess one of the things, if not the only thing, I have to complain about, are some bugs. One of the bugs was I didn’t see part of the Double Fine logo appear when I started up the game. Another bug I ran into was that the game kept crashing when I tried to load the game a couple of times. Other than that, I really have no major complaints for this game.
This is easily one of the best games to come out of the Kickstarter fad that is going on right now. The game is hilarious, smart, creative, well-executed, and is all around fun. If you were like me and didn’t have a reason to get Steam, you now have a reason. I would highly recommend you get this game for your PC. This makes me excited for the next part of this adventure and Double Fine Production’s next Kickstarter game, Massive Chalice. I sit here anxiously waiting for the next act in Broken Age. The game will be officially released on January 28th. Just be careful of those talking trees.
This game gets a 9 out of 10.