Broken Age (Video Game 2014) Poster

(2014 Video Game)

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Quirky monsters
petra_ste19 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Created by Tim Schafer - one of the minds behind classics like Grim Fandango, Monkey Island and Psychonauts - Broken Age is the droll first act of a point-and-click adventure game (the second one yet to be released as I write this). The narrative is split into two separate story lines, with the player able to jump back and forth between them.

In the first, a female teen in a bucolic society has been chosen as a sacrifice to a Lovecraftian monster (yeah... only Schafer could give a funny, light-hearted twist to this kind of scenario) and strives to escape. In the second, the young captain of a spaceship, trapped in a prison of pointless menial tasks, is contacted by a mysterious stranger in a wolf costume (!), who wants him to break out of his routine and take over the ship from the hysterically protective AI.

Presentation is flawless, with a creative, pleasantly cartoony art style and superb voice acting. Writing is fine - Broken Age features memorable characters, intriguing story lines and sharp dialogues.

Unfortunately, the game is not only short (about 4 hours), but also very much on the easy side. Every puzzle is extremely simple: the moment you pick up an object, its use is already obvious or will become so in a matter of minutes. Broken Age looks and reads like a LucasArts classic, but plays like a modern adventure for a "casual" audience - so far, gameplay lacks the craft and inventiveness the other parts display.

Still, writing is good enough to make me eager to play the second part: the ending is nothing short of brilliant.

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