Broken Age Act 1 Intro:
Back in 2012, veteran game creator Tim Schafer launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund an old-school adventure game. The response was overwhelming. The project was fully funded within hours of it being created.
And now, finally, the first act of the game Tim Schafer set out to create is here. People who were skeptical about the feasibility of a Grim Fandango-esque adventure game in today's day and age can rest in peace. Broken Age Act I is beautiful, haunting and fantastically written.
Broken Age takes the style of gameplay that Monkey Island made popular and enhances it with the power of current technology. As a result, Broken Age looks amazing and the art style is memorable. And what is even more impressive is that it manages to create a story that is instantly compelling and has moments of profound sadness and light-heartedness. The story is set as a parallel adventure of two principal characters - Shay, who is stranded and lonely boy aboard a spaceship, and Vella, who is a girl who decides to fight back against the sacrificial rituals of her village. Tim Schafer is known for infusing his characteristic brand of humor into his games, but in Broken Age he leads us on an exploration of the themes of loneliness, rebellion and the human condition. You will find yourself musing about the characters, the meaning of the story and the deep underlying truths that the adventure talks about.
What I really Liked:
The great writing isn't only limited to the story either. In various places, the writing informs the construction of fantastic puzzle set-pieces. The team at Double Fine have created a living, breathing, quirky world that has its own laws and whims, and exploring it at length is a great joy. Broken Age drives home the very things that made adventure games so popular in the first place - great writing, fantastic characters and an interesting setting. The adventure game is alive and well.
The dual character system has another great advantage. At any point in the game, you can switch over and start playing the story of the other character in the game. If you're stuck at any point on either Shay or Vella's puzzles, you can switch and play as the other person for a while to take a break. But the fact that the story is as yet incomplete shows in the fact that the two never get to interact over the course of Act I. In Tim Schafer's Day of The Tentacle, the three main characters would constantly send each other items through time, causing major changes in one time period to the next.
The artwork, as mentioned before is truly gorgeous. It feels like watching a Pixar adventure play out on the screen. The characters and the scenery seem to have come alive from the pages of a coloring book or a fairy tale. The voice acting is delightful as well, lending even more immersion to the world of Broken Age. Double Fine have roped in big names such as Jack Black, Elijah Wood and Wil Wheaton to lend their voices to some of the characters.
The level design is amazing and each setting has its own peculiar beauty. You will ride rollercoasters with critters, visit floating cities, gape upon sleeping mountains and dine in weird rooms inside spaceships. Each of these locations are meticulously detailed and you won't be alone if you just want to stop and stare for a while. While other adventure games like Grim Fandango persisted with a constant theme throughout the locales, Broken Age decides to do a lot of different things through its story. The gameplay is a simple point-and-click adventure, like the classics of yore. The game features menus that help you perform tasks, and great care has been taken to ensure that they aren't intrusive to the story unfolding on your screen. You might have to fumble around a bit to find the right items in your inventory, but that is a minor nitpick.
Any doubts you might have had about Tim Schafer's Kickstarter game can be safely laid to rest. Broken Age Act I has one of the most gorgeous settings in the history of adventure games. When you combine the stellar visuals with a laidback gameplay style, brilliant writing and fantastic voice acting, you have a game that will make you impatient for the finished product.
Broken Age Act 1 Game Review Score: 9.0 Out Of 10
Section: PC Steam Reviews