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Broken Age

BrokenAge mission dinnerThere are two types of people: One likes the point’n’click genre, the other does not. There are two types of people: One knows the work of Tim Schafer, the other does not. And there are two types of people: One already discovered the Broken Age, the other did not.

Because, we shan’t expect everyone to find logic puzzles entertaining. If you do, you certainly played some “clicking adventure” games, namely some point’n’clicks, and if you got into the habit of it, you might meet the Monkey Island series or the Grim Fandango. I admitash on my head, my name should be cursed—I missed this latter one yet. But I know the game popped out of Tim Schafer’s shaggy head, so I will buy it without further questions.

BrokenAge just cloudsOf course, even if you are not about clicking adventures, you can still know Tim. Besides the abovementioned games there are others tagged with his name, for example the Psychonauts, the Brütal Legend (I wrote about this earlier), the somehow unique Costume Quest, and the Stacking. What’s more, his name was enough to bring money to the crowdfounded Broken Age.

Besides all these I could theorize a lot about the common beginning of fantasy and sci-fi genres, named speculative fiction (SF), and about them melting together again in our modern era. But, I more like to write a little about the game itself.

The Broken Age is the newest SF point’n’click adventure game from Tim Schafer.

BrokenAge mog chatraAnd now you should read it again and feel how much this short sentence means. It seems almost natural the developers could scrape the money up on Kickstarter. And it is totally clean-cut why they advertised the game with this. Of course it piqued my attention.

The story is kind of a modern tale with two locations and main heroes in the same time. Vella was born and raised in a little village, where young girls are sacrificed for the monster of the ocean on every 14 years, according to the tradition. At the beginning, Vella is among the sacrificial victims, but as a likely main heroine she does not resign herself to the inevitable, and does what she can to defeat the monster.

In the meantime, an equally young boy named Shay is living the life of bored teens, alone in a spaceship. To find some amusement, he tries to circumvent the virtual hero-school built for him, he breaks rules and argues with the ship’s central computer. You can easily sympathize with him: It is certainly boring to save little knitted bunny puppets stuck into an ice cream mountain a hundredth time. Fortunately (?), Shay is not totally alone, and when he wanders to the closed parts of the ship, he meets a wolf-dressed figure, starts to save alien creatures, and in general, he finds some adventures.

BrokenAge muffinStarting from these basic situations the main characters cut their paths in the forest of stupidity, intriques, beliefs, lies and technology. If this mixed metaphor is not enough, at the end of Act 1 you will recognize the connection between Shay and Vella, and of course they meet, even if just for a moment. In Act 2 you still control them separately, but sometimes you will need information from the environment of one of the main heroes to solve logic puzzles with the other.

For me, this damaged the consistency a bit. As I see, Vella, the village girl has no great electricity skills, but she is able to rewire a robot, and anyway, she is pretty able to stand her ground in a spaceship. Of course, you should have no bigger problems.

BrokenAge you thereAnd you would not have, because the game shows exceptional qualities. The fully hand-drawn graphics sometimes gives you a feeling of watching colored pencil pictures. The pastel shades give it style, and naturally, the character design is finely uniform. The music supports the atmosphere perfectly. About that atmosphere: Although there are no time limit for the tasks, or if there is, the puzzle can be repeated, but sometimes I found myself worrying for the characters or solving the actual problem as fast as I can. Oh, and of course, the story is lovely, charming, cute. Enjoyable, even if it is not novel on the whole.

Maybe, we should complain about the shortness of the game, because the world of Vella and Shay gives deep immersion, and at the end you will get the “more-more-more” feeling. You have to awallow it now, but I hope we don’t have to wait another seventeen years for the next Schafer-game.

Thanks, Tim, it was almost perfect.

Garcius

Title: Broken AgeBroken Age box
Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Developer: Double Fine Productions
Homepage: http://www.brokenagegame.com
Style: point’n’click, adventure

What I liked:
graphics
music
atmosphere
story

What I didn’t like:
short
small inconsistencies

5_45

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