- + Elijah Wood voices Shay, and he’s brilliant
- + Really funny script
- + Solving puzzles is satisfying
- - Some people may give up in anger on how to proceed
Want to look beyond the score? Read the full written review below…
*Broken Age was provided to Start Replay on PS4 by Double Fine
All of my point-and-click experiences have remained firmly in the hands of Double Fine, and I’m very happy about that fact. Having recently played the critically acclaimed Grim Fandango, my hopes were high for Tim Schafer’s latest creation. Of course, I say latest, but the first part of this crowd-funded title actually released over a year ago, at the beginning of 2014. Since I had no intention to venture onto a PC for my gaming fix, I couldn’t be happier to see Broken Age arrive on consoles.
I’m not going to spoil any of the story, aside to say that it’s a brilliantly charming, humorous and intelligent adventure. Split in half and featuring two separate storylines, Broken Age follows the footsteps of two lonely souls, Shay and Vella. Throughout the game, if you find yourself stuck or simply wanting a change, you’re able to switch between both stories on the go.
Each of their adventures feature a wildly different set of locations, particularly as Shay’s is set in space and Vella’s is located on a planet of some sort. They both have their own struggles in life, but everything is quite fantastical, don’t expect these journeys to lead you into a grounded reality. This is a world where large monsters each cake-covered women in ceremonies, and robots in the guise of a moon and sun take care of you on a spaceship.
I’m going to presume that anyone reading this understands what a “point-and-click” adventure is, but for those who are quite fresh to the genre, I’ll give you a quick rundown on what you’re objective is.
Whatever you’re looking to interact with, you simply point and click on the item or location with the on-screen cursor. It’s up to you, via a combination of intelligence and sometimes blind luck, to collect items from your surroundings and solve the puzzle of how they might aid you. Interacting with characters will also, more often than not, come up with a set of dialogue options for you to explore.
It’s as easy and hovering your cursor over an item and clicking a button to see what happens. You may need to combine items together in order to make the best use of them, but you won’t know unless you try. There’s plenty of trial and error, but it’s when you succeed in pushing forward and solving puzzles, where the satisfaction really kicks in. For instance, you might locate a towel at the beginning of a segment, it won’t have any relevance for a while, but you’ll constantly be trying to use it on anything you come across. Sooner or later, that towel might be the one item that changes the playing field.
In the world of Broken Age, everything melds together in a cartoonish and almost childish manner. Every piece of scenery and character look like they’ve been torn straight for a child’s bedtime book, and present a quirky, yet beautiful style wherever you venture. The contrast between Shay’s and Vella’s environments is a nice balance, especially as Shay’s surroundings offer a darker blue hue, and Vella’s, as she’s a girl, encompass a much lighter and more heartfelt collection of colours. I sometimes felt more inclined to complete more of Shay’s journey, probably because it struck a tone with my childhood. I wouldn’t be surprised if girls are more drawn to Vella.
There’s not much more I can say about Broken Age without spoiling things, so I’m going to stop here and simply say this: BUY IT. Double Fine’s latest isn’t just a humorous journey, filled with charming characters and a witty script, it’s also a heartfelt adventure that will teach you to go beyond the normal constructs of your day-to-day life and do something not many people get a chance to…go against the rules and go their own way.