Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Broken Age: Act One Review (PC) (2014)

Double Fine's Broken Age was the first to allude to me the wondrous internet project proposition funding site, known as KickStarter. In 2012 it became the largest crowd-funded video game of all time. Double Fine asked for $400,000 to make a proper point-click adventure game. Fans second the notion of Double Fine head honcho Tim Schafer behind the reigns of a genre he is known for and as such, Double Fine received $3.45 Million. Broken Age: Act One is the first half of the project and was well worth every dollar.

When you choose to start the game as either Vella; leaning up against an Oak asleep. Or as Shay, asleep in his space bunker. You will straight away notice how aesthetically please Broken Age is; the art is stunning to say the least. So stunning, like a cartoon I wish I had as a kid that when my Girlfriend walked in to me playing it, it wasn't until I moved the mouse to clock on something she proclaimed; "Oh you're playing a game."

Vella and Shay are really different from a glance but they are much like kindred spirits, there both struggling for the same thing and that's change.  

Vella cannot understand why it is simple nature that The Maidens Feast takes place. A feast for a giant beast known as Mog Chothra. Girls from villages all around are dressed up and are supposed to be honored to be sacrificed to the beast, but not Vella. Vella postulates to simple fight back. Why would everyone cheer on and simple allow this monstrous act?

Shay has no monsters to worry about - or to fight - as he spends his days carrying out fake missions aboard his space ship. Nothing is exciting and everything is repetitious and tedious in repetitive nature. Governed by the ships A.I known as Mum, not a single sharp object would be left out, nothing to hurt her little Shay. But why is he secluded to this place? Where he cannot leave and lives without friends.

Charming but with a lot of dark undertones (which I wasn't expecting.) Broken Age manages to mix together a story of two people that is just brilliant writing and full of wondrous characters. Elijah Wood (Shay) and Masasa Moyo (Vella) carry the story with a child-like wonder. More Double Fine like characters bring the humor and magical wonder.  Harm'ny Lightbeard, (Jack Black) the founder of an occult where dropping a letter in your name for more lightness is considered normal. Curtis The Lumber Jack (Will Wheaton) who is to scared to actually do anything resembling his name. Marek (David Kaufman) a mysterious wolf figure on Shays ship who sounds straight out of a Noir New York cop movie. Broken Age has fantastic characters and each funny, amusing, interesting and with great voice work.

Playing Broken Age is simple point and click adventure game territory. If you have never experienced the genre before I wouldn't fret, the puzzles are rather simplistic. Even if you manage to get yourself puzzled at something you  have the ability to quickly switch over to whomever you're not playing as. It's a smart tool to use instead of rage-quitting or reaching for that walk-through search on Google.

You will pick up items and dragging the mouse to the bottom of the screen brings up your inventory. Drag items together to combine or drag onto people or object in the world to interact. Simple stuff. It's just a pity the U.I is so clunky to use. Accidentally bringing up the inventory when you just wanted to click on something at the bottom of the screen become quite annoying. Along with some non-recognition upon clicking on an item.

Broken Age is a draw-dropping beautifully charming - sometimes dark - but always brilliant adventure title from Double Fine. Tim Schafer has crafted a wonderfully mystical tale with charming characters brought to life with top notch voice acting. The pit-falls of clunk UI and simplistic puzzles will hopefully be addressed in some part in the second act. Even so, there nothing to wither this great experience.

+ Slam F12 like a man-man. This game is stunning. 
+ Charming, sometimes dark, but always brilliant writing in a world with wondrous characters
+ Perfect Cliffhanger
- UI Clunky
- Puzzles fairly simplistic 

Overall: 9.0

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