Adventures in Broken Age
I jumped on the Kickstarter bandwagon at the same time as most other people, with the news that Tim & Co. at Double Fine were going to head back to the classic Lucasarts formula of laughs and puzzles with their Double Fine Adventure.
As someone who grew up with Sam & Max, Ben Throttle and Guybrush Threepwood this was like mana from the heavens. The only adventure games that were still released in recent years tended to be made by Eastern European studios or one of the many German gaming companies and unfortunately most of them were as far removed from my memories of adventure gaming as is possible.
So when Tim launched his Kickstarter I immediately threw some money in at the promise of laughs, puzzles and maybe even a few rubber chickens with a pulley in the middle. The wait since then has been almost intolerable due to my anticipation with the only thing tiding me over being the wonderful behind the scenes documentaries from Two Player Productions.
Thankfully though the day did dawn when Double Fine threw the switch and the millions of backers who had contributed to the making the game could finally jump into the wacky and unique world that Double Fine had spent so much time slaving over.
There was only one catch, they were splitting the game into two acts in order to make enough money with the first act to make sure that they could release the rest of the game. Most people agreed with the approach Double Fine took but there were some murmurs of discontent. Personally, I didn’t mind the wait and would rather see Double Fine release a better game even if that meant waiting a tiny bit longer.
As for the first Act of the game? It’s turned out to be all I could have asked for and more. The humour is great and it still makes me want to try out every dialogue choice even when I know the answer to a puzzle. That’s always a sure sign of a well written game in my opinion and something that I see as extremely important to any adventure game. The artwork is fantastic and I cannot believe how smoothly and well animated it is. Every character, every background and every screen of the game simply oozes with charm and comes together as a cohesive whole rather than a series of art drawn by different people. I take my hat off to the fine folks at Double Fine for the amount of sweat, tears and blood it must have taken them to get this game looking so good and even more importantly, so unique.
The puzzles are for the most part easy to follow and deduce and stay away from being too obtuse. Adventure game veterans might find them rather too easy but I’d rather have easy puzzles than get frustrated by puzzles that are nonsensical and too convoluted for their own good. After all, that’s one of the main reasons that adventure gaming died (I’m looking at you Gabriel Knight 3).
The characters are excellently voiced and well fleshed out and the game ends at a perfect point. I managed to guess its twist pretty early on but I think that’s missing the point with Broken Age. It’s a game that’s meant to be experienced from the point of view of the characters and the journey they take throughout the course of the game.
Take Broken Age as it is and you’ll find yourself whisked away on an adventure that does all the adventure games of yore proud and at the same time makes adventure gaming something worth experiencing in this age of gruff military shooters and micro-transaction heavy free-to-play games.
You can buy Broken Age direct from Double Fine’s store.