|Dev: Double Fine|
|Pub: Double Fine|
|Release: January 28, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
Although its presentation and story are fantastic, Broken Age lacks a bit when it comes to its puzzle-based gameplay. Interacting with the world is quite simplistic. On one hand, this makes the game easy to pick up, but on the other, it limits the ways in which the creators are able to challenge players. That lack of challenge is compounded by the simplified inventory system, which is set up so that the player only has a few items at a time, and items are discarded when they have been used for the necessary puzzle. Without a wealth of ways to interact with the world or combine objects, the answer to each character's problems is usually too obvious.
It's easy to understand why the game was set up this way—it's meant to be a modernization of the genre that eliminates frustration, red herring items, and overly obtuse puzzles. Unfortunately, the part of the game we're getting first goes too far in terms of streamlining the puzzles and environment. There are a few minor head-scratchers in Vella's adventure, but in general, the puzzles can be solved near-instantly by anybody with a passing familiarity with adventure gaming. Part 2 is supposed to be more challenging, and I hope it also brings us more ways to play with the beautiful world beyond the game's critical path.
Despite its lack of challenge, Broken Age is absolutely worth playing in order to explore its world, meet its wonderful characters and become hooked by the mystery presented by its story. I might even suggest playing Part 1 now and being forced to wait for the second half of the game to come out in the spring. It gives us time to ponder the mystery, come up with theories, discuss them with fellow fans, and get excited over the kind of mystery that's rare in this day of Let's Plays and Internet FAQs. It may not be the perfect game, but Broken Age is something special that any gamer with a taste for the fantastic won't want to miss.
Date: January 28, 2014