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Games : Recommended
Release Date: January 28th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

Broken Age: Act I

Overview -

Formerly known as 'Double Fine Adventure' on Kickstarter, after $3.3 million worth in backer support and two well-documented years of development, 'Broken Age' aims to bring players back to the glory days of point-and-click. And who better to do it than Tim Schafer, the comic mastermind behind such classics as 'Psychonauts' and 'Grim Fandango.' Few games have garnered as much attention and expectation before the first line of code written, and no game is in a better position to prove Kickstarter's worth as a tool for developers seeking refuge from an overbearing publisher's control. That it's about two young people simply trying to define themselves in the shadow of preset fate is either coincidence or just another friendly wink from Schafer to his fans.

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
January 28th, 2014

Video Review


If you ever felt too old for a storybook but you wanted to read one anyway, play 'Broken Age' instead. Not just pleasing to the eye, the paintbrush aesthetic does a great job of blending Vella and Shay's wildly diverse landscapes, Vella in particular traveling high and low in a world you wouldn't believe was connected if it didn't sell itself as a child's fantasy. The character design, in particular, does an excellent job of presenting both archetypes and stereotypes in a way that feels fresh. You won't be rolling your eyes as much as widening them at the sight of these many odd people.

Sometimes the animation work feels a little rudimentary, which for a game of this nature isn't altogether unexpected. In choice moments when some sort of visual effect was needed however, the moment's often fell short leaving underwhelming sense to some of the visuals.

Audio Review


Elijah Wood as Shay and Masasa Moyo as Vella fill their respective roles perfectly, as does the supporting cast, which is as much a credit to the casting director as it is to the individual actors. The script doesn't really ask much from its key players. The game never strikes the most dramatic tone, oftentimes opting for a laid back approach in contrast to the slightly darker themes. You're never blown away by a performance, but that's just a result of Shafer's style.

The music is similarly fulfilling in that it's rarely the centerpiece of a scene, rather holding up that scene in a passive sense. It all works out very well without overstepping, a dignified but inessential piece of the overall puzzle.

The scenes you explore and characters you discover will keep you delighted. 'Broken Age' is charismatic, colorful and, above all, decidedly unique. Double Fine is unafraid to break with the current trends that lean away from this kind of tale and this kind of game. I can't say anybody who hates point-and-click adventures will suddenly find joy in the kind of puzzles requiring your attention, but that's really not the point anyway. Vella and Shay are well-designed characters looking for their own answers in well-written worlds. It's their answers, and not the puzzles', which propel the player forward.

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