Broken Age is a point-and-click adventure game, created by Double Fine Productions available on PlayStation 4, PC, and mobile. It follows the story of two teenagers living in different worlds, each striving to break away from the customs that rule their everyday lives. It was this story idea that drew me into Broken Age in the first place. Thankfully, I am not disappointed by the overall narrative. At its heart it is a coming of age story about learning to be your own person regardless of what others think. Weaved within that idea is another story about two seemingly different worlds colliding and unlikely friendships. The entire game works like a play with an Act 1 and an Act 2 of gameplay. And may I just say the transition between the two acts, completely blindsided me. I had to take a moment, sit back, and think ‘Woah.’
The characters play a big part in my love for the story. The two main characters are Vella, a girl with a big family from a bakery town, and Shay, a boy living under the protective care of his mother on their spaceship. While Vella is to be sacrificed to Mog-Chothra in order to keep her town from facing destruction, Shay lives his days doing the same sort of nothing as his overprotective mother is afraid of letting him out of her sight. This is what I meant when I said two different worlds. It doesn’t get more different than that. One thing I enjoyed about the gameplay is the ability to switch back and forth between these two characters. As I played through the game and became more in tune with their temperament, due to their dialogue options, I grew to care for both of these main characters. Vella for her boldness and Shay for his curiosity. They aren’t your typical characters and in that sense they felt more realistic rather than cliché. Personally, I love Vella the most. She’s the type of badass girl I aspire to be.
In addition to the two main characters there are a plethora of unique and interesting NPCs. Just to name a few there is the talking tree, a ‘blunt’ (in both senses of the word) knife, and Harm’ny Lightbeard, who’s actually played by Jack Black. Even though these are simply NPCs I feet as though I came to understand who they are as people almost as much as the two main characters. They aren’t simply placed in the game to move the story along. They are real people with personalities and motivations, many of which I was able to discern as I played. These side characters are not simply NPCs, as a player you are able to grow to understand them as the main characters do .
As an adventure game it is filled to the brim with puzzles, pushing you to explore the world you are in. Many of these puzzles work in a sort of domino effect, in the sense that they connect to one another. I would say this concept holds true to the adventure game genre. Before you can solve one puzzle you have to solve another, thus gaining what you need to solve the first puzzle. Difficulty wise, I would say overall the puzzles are challenging, but not to the extent that they feel impossible. However, there are a few puzzles that I stumbled over. During those times I found it beneficial to switch to the other character and play as them for a while before going back and attempting the other puzzle again. This gameplay mechanic definitely prompted longer stretches of gameplay from me. Whenever I needed a break from one character I could easily switch to the other and still be making progress within the game.
As a whole, Broken Age is a great addition to the genre of adventure games. Regardless that this is a classic genre, Broken Age still works in today’s world. The point-and-click gameplay brought back nostalgic memories of past adventure games I played as a child. As Tim Schafer’s, Double Fine Productions’ founder, first adventure game in 16 years it definitely lives up to its predecessors.
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It’s actually quite simple. I love writing. I love playing video games. So, why not combine the two? When I’m not focusing on my academics, I’m either writing or playing video games. As a writer and avid reader I love a good story, because of this I tend to lean towards games that have a strong narrative aspect. Currently, I am studying Computer Science and Game Design in North Carolina. My ultimate goal being to one day make a name for myself in the game narrative field.