Broken Age: A Modern Game from a Classic Genre
By Tahlia Merrill Kirk
There’s a genre of computer games that is beloved by fans, but never seems to get much press. The point-and-click adventure game doesn’t tend to boast cutting edge graphics or a fancy multiplayer mode, but don’t let that fool you into thinking these games can’t be high quality. The most famous point-and-clicks are known for their humorous plots, complex puzzles, and sharp dialogue. Many of the famous ones were made in the 80s or early 90s, so are definitely old school by modern standards, but still have a loyal following.
Enter Broken Age, the latest release by Tim Schafer, creator of LucasArt’s point-and-click classics such as Grim Fandango and Monkey Island. Originally a Kickstarter project, Double Fine Adventure surpassed their $400,000 goal by raising a staggering $3 million. The extra funds were used for hand-painted animation, an original soundtrack, and an all-star cast. Here’s the description from the game’s official website (http://www.brokenagegame.com ):
“Broken Age is a timeless coming-of-age story of barfing trees and talking spoons. Vella Tartine and Shay Volta are two teenagers in strangely similar situations, but radically different worlds. The player can freely switch between the characters and their individual stories, helping them take control of their own lives, and dealing with the unexpected adventures that follow.”
I was a backer of the project back in 2012 and so got to play through the game earlier than most. Now they have completed the game and opened purchasing to the public. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Broken Age is a lovingly crafted work of art that is immensely entertaining. The orchestral score alone is worthy of downloading separately onto your iPod. Plus, it’s fun picking out the celebrities from the voice acting cast, which includes Elijah Wood (the male protagonist), Jack Black (a hippie cult leader), Wil Wheaton (a lumberjack), and perhaps most amusingly, Grey DeLisle (Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender), who voices a feisty grandmother.
Everything about this game is charming and quirky. The puzzles can be a bit obtuse at times, but since there’s no way to die, there’s also no worry about losing your progress if you mess up a puzzle. You can tell bad jokes to the talking tree for hours until you hit upon the right combination! (groans). Seriously, though, if you’re already a fan of the genre, you probably bought this game as soon as you heard about it. For those new to the genre (or even those who have never touched a computer game in their life) this is a perfect gateway game–it’s incredibly accessible and easy to understand. In fact, I might just buy it for my non-gamer mom and see what she makes of it…
You can buy the game through its official website: http://www.brokenagegame.com/