By Jeff Bond on January 20, 2014 at 9:53pm
After many delays and going far over budget, the first chapter of Double Fine’s Kickstarter game "Broken Age" finally arrived. Did the title live up to its promise to bring back point-and-click adventure game genre? Let’s find out.
To start, your character is given the choice between two different story lines. One is based on Vella, a girl slated to be sacrificed in order to protect her home from a vicious monster. The other is based on Shay, a boy who has who wants to break free of a life of being stuck on a spaceship, parented by the on-board computer.
In terms of gameplay, everything seems in order and should adapt well to the tablet versions of the game when they are released. Mousing over interactable elements creates an appropriate cursor change, you are able to skip cut scenes if you desire, and inventory is easy to access. The puzzles aren't too difficult, but they definitely require some critical thinking and probably a little backtracking to grab something you may have missed.
Controls are simple, but "Broken Age" could stand to give you a little more instruction on accessing and using items in your inventory at the start. Once you find the button to bring up the inventory, which is tucked away, you have to putz around and figure out that you need to drag and drop items from your inventory, not just click to use them. From then on, everything acts as you would expect, so the growing pains are really quite short lived.
The story is well written and includes plenty of Tim Schafer humor. It progresses nicely, and the pacing goes well with the missions at hand. What really sells it, though, is the voice acting. With names such as Elijah Wood and Jack Black providing their talent, it really brings the characters to life.
Finally, the graphics are well done. It’s clearly a stylized game, and they're appropriate for the game. There are some instances where you really notice the little details they put in to things like the lighting to make it feel appropriately dimensional instead of flat. On the flip side, there are occasionally areas where things clip during an animation and a particularly noticeable blurry edge around some of the supporting characters' eyes.
Despite the delays, the game is worth the wait. It’s not groundbreaking, but then again, it’s not mean to be. It's a shame it's not a complete game and ended up being split into chunks. "Broken Age's" backers, myself included, eagerly await "Part 2" to finish out the story.