Broken Age: Act 1

What do you get when the mastermind of point and click adventures returns to the genre after 16 years? The answer is Broken Age.

I think the only point and click game I’ve played by Tim Schafer was ‘Day of the Tentacle’, and that was probably 15-20 years ago. And since then, I haven’t played many true point and click adventure games. So needless to say I was excited by the prospect of going back to the genre.

Double Fine’s Broken Age is a two branched story, one branch follows Vella, a young woman who lives in the town of Sugar Bunting. Vella is chosen as a sacrifice to the beast Mog Chothra during the ‘Maidens Feast’. Vella thinks this is pretty ridiculous, and, for obvious reasons, doesnt want to be ‘sacrificed’ and would rather live. She argues that if everyone banded together they could fight Mog Chothra, and defeat him, then no more sacrifices would be needed. Weirdly, pretty much everyone doesn’t like this idea, and are more concerned with looking appetizing enough to be selected.

During the feast, Vella manages to escape on a big ol’ bird. I won’t delve more in the her story as there would be nothing left for you to enjoy if I did that. But rest assured it will mostly revolve around trying to defeat Mog Chothra.

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Vella, and a surprising Lumberjack (hint – WHHHEEEAAATON)

Alongside Vellas story, you have Shay, a young man living on a spaceship. Each day Shay is tasked with performing ‘missions’ given out by the ships motherly computer. I use the term missions very loosely, they are basically juvenile games for him to take part in. They have no real purpose, and the objectives are very easy to carry out. It seems the ship is molly coddling him. But why?

Bored by his mundane existence onboard the Bossa Nostra. He decides to try sabotaging the missions, in order to fail them, thus enabling you to break out of the boring routine, and actually experience some real missions. This is when he meets Marek, who is a wolf, or a fox. No I think he’s a wolf. Lets say wolf! Marek likes to operate at night when the rest of the ship sleeps. He asks for Shay to meet him, and offers him some ‘real’ missions.

These is definitely more to Marek though, and I don’t trust him. It’s his shifty eyes! I’m sure hes got an ulterior motive for seeking Shays help…. DUN DUN DUUUUNN!

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Shay, living out his mundane life

So far I’ve been playing for 2 or 3 hours, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a charming game, with great art style and weird and wacky people and creatures. I’m not sure whos side of the story I’m enjoying more, possibly Vella, just because she has met a lot more people which have been very entertaining, whilst Shay is obviously restricted to the confines of his ship, and therefore doesn’t have as many interactions. The voice acting has been solid throughout, but what would you expect with such a cast!

The puzzles are pretty simplistic, but still make you think just enough to keep it interesting. I haven’t managed to get stumped by any, and I don’t really see myself having this problem later on. But really, the puzzles aren’t why you should be playing this. You should be playing this because its a visual feast, with a very unique style. It’s a great story with interesting characters. And most importantly it’s fun.

I’m really interested to see where the story will go, as I believe that both Vella and Shay will eventually cross paths, although how this will happen I don’t know. Will Shay show up and help Vella defeat Mog Chothra as one of his ‘missions’? Who knows! And I’m guessing we won’t find out for a while, as we still have Act 2 to come out. Is there an Act 3 as well?

Anyway. Broken Age is great, go and play it!

– Will

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