on 01.17.2014Broken Age Part 1 Review
[font='Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Arial, sans-serif]Broken Age Part 1 is able to capture a time in gaming that was all but forgotten about. The genre has transformed and the majority of point-and-click adventure games you see now are mobile or web games. Double Fine, lead by Tim Schafer, successfully takes their audience on a retro journey that isn't terribly risky but comes off as the, "soul food," of gaming.[/font]
[font='Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Arial, sans-serif]The player is given the option of playing through two story lines as two different protagonists. The female protagonist, Vella, challenges her elders and community who pressure her into a ritual which will cost her her life. The male protagonist, Shay (voiced by Elijah Wood), must deal with an AI who believes she is his mother.[/font]
[font='Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Arial, sans-serif]Vella lives in a town of bakers while Shay lives on a spaceship. The difference in settings offers opportunities for dramatically different art and music which Double Fine delivers on. The low-lit spaceship with slow tracks sets a much different pace than the upbeat songs and popping visuals of Vella's town and the locations she travels.[/font]
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[font='Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Arial, sans-serif]Vella's adventure is much more lengthy and challenging than Shay's and feels more along the lines of classic adventure games. Shay remains in and around the spaceship while Vella travels to about three/four areas depending on your interpretation. It's advisable to play through Shay's adventure first to get warmed up for Vella's quest.[/font]
[font='Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Arial, sans-serif]Each puzzle feels unique and like The Secret of Monkey Island before it, some solutions to problems are not as streamlined as you think they should be. Some item combinations seem absurd and missed items can lead to lengthy backtracking. Some solutions may be odd but that alone figuring them out all the more satisfying.[/font]
[font='Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Arial, sans-serif]Double Fine has gone back and obviously learned how to improve HUD and control elements that were a burden in past adventures games. There is no overarching inventory or command HUD that takes away from the visuals of the game. When you need to use an item you scroll your cursor to the bottom-left corner of the screen then your inventory slides up. You can then grab and move the item to whatever you would like you use it on or with. This saves the player time, helps them see more of the world and was an incredibly smart design choice.[/font]
[font='Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Arial, sans-serif]Another design choice that adventure fans can salute is a feature that is almost fast-travelling. Should you be on the right side of the scene and need to exit on the left, you can double-tap on the left which will automatically put the character on the next screen. If you need to backtrack, this can save countless minutes of watching your character slowly walk around previously explored areas.[/font]
[font='Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Arial, sans-serif]Broken Age is a game that embodies the, "Shut up and take my money," meme. Gamers should be excited that it exists and that we have an opportunity to experience a genre that has gone ignored in the past decade or two. The game clocks in at about two to four hours depending on your previous experience with adventure games or use of guides.[/font]
[font='Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Arial, sans-serif]It may not be perfect, but it's beautiful and entertaining.[/font]
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