Friday, September 26, 2014

Broken Age - Review

I always thought that I started gaming while playing the platforming genre like Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog being one of my favorite series of all time. As I thought about it for a minute, I remember I used to play a certain type of game even earlier than that. It involved using the mouse to click on parts of the environment to move your character, interact with it and solve puzzles. I never knew the name of the genre until a few years later when it peaked my curiosity enough to Google it. The genre was appropriately called 'Point and Click adventure games'.

So why it was so hard for me to pinpoint the genre? Well, gaming between now and then exploded in a ton of different genres, which further splintered into a variety of subgenres. Between all this chaotic explosion of genres, one got caught in the crossfire and badly wounded to the point it almost got killed, yes you know what genre I am talking about.

After more than a decade after that incident, the folks at Double Fine used their powers of necromancy to Kickstart the Heart of the genre back to life. They had to tap into the power of hundreds and thousands of souls to make it happen. Ok, I am very dramatic here but it kinda works doesn't it! The crowd funded Kickstarter campaign was a huge success, not only they greatly exceeded the funds to make their original vision of the game possible, but they kept on breaking all kinds of Kickstarter records in the process. The additional capital went further into making the game we all deserved but never asked for...or something like that.

So how is the game? Double Fine crafted a beautiful imaginative world with colorful characters while some carrying surprisingly muted intentions. It tells a story about a boy and a girl from two entirely different environments, yet facing the exact same problem: being captive in one's fate, as they both try to defy the fate placed upon themselves.

The world looks hand-drawn and reminds me of the story books I used to gross over as a child with the smallest of details carrying the biggest impressions. What is brilliant is how Double Fine lays down such a mature tale through the light hearted visuals and very simplistic and pleasing audio cues.

As someone who played a lot of adventure games when he was a kid, but sadly gone out of touch with it - because of lack of such games out in the market. I got stuck in a couple of  puzzles, some of them took more than hour for me to figure it out!  I took about 6 hours or so to finish the first act. Your milage may vary depending on how good you are at solving the puzzles.

If I had a gripe with this game, it is how much you are limited in solving the puzzles: I wish the game was a bit more open to clever to players out there. At times I felt I had the tools to handle a situation in an alternate way, but the game never really responded to such ideas. I know the game is playing it to it's well documented traditions, but I wish the game explored a bit further out the boundaries of this genre like this without taking away it's heart.

For the asking price of 25$, it might put off a lot of people off considering the short ride they are getting. The ride may be short, but it is a much more memorable. They could have easily went the road most other games take by stretching the length with filler content, but they didn't. Not a single time in the game I felt it was wasted, it is even more true for games of this class as any sort of filler content will distract it further from it's puzzle solving elements. So what are you waiting for? Hop in the Double Fine express for a beautiful journey that you won't be forgetting anytime soon!

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