What do you get when a writer and designer of classic point and click adventures asks fans of the genre to help develop a new adventure for the modern age? The outcome is in fact; Broken Age. Written by Tim Schafar, of Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango fame, this title has a lot to live up to from his previous works but is it indeed, a broken formula?
Full of observational humour and one-liners; voiced by the likes of Elijah Wood, Jack Black and even Wil Wheaton, with a whimsical storyline to accompany them, Broken Age tells the story of two teenagers from very different locations – Shay, who is confined to his daily routine aboard his space ship by an over-protective computer that calls herself “Mother” and just wants to break free from the norm with a real adventure. Then you have Vella, who arrives back at her village, where all the villages have voted for her to be sacrificed by an unusual monster which leaves her with no choice but to leave and seek new tradition.
Before you start the game you can choose between the two protagonists Shay or Vella and thus you begin their journey. It’s important to point out that during anytime of your play-through, you can freely switch between the two characters so if one puzzle is frustrating you and you feel like you need to take a breather, it’s good to switch to the other character to take a break from the puzzle or even the setting – as both characters’ story provide a different ‘feel’ considering that they’re polar opposite settings, although both are on a similar journey.
The controls are nice and simple, as you’d expect from a game of this genre. Pushing down A is your main interact button, while pressing Y will bring up your inventory and you can simply press the shoulder buttons to switch between the items, making it less of a chore than that found in other adventure games like this, where you have to move your cursor manually to each item in your inventory in order to interact with it. This shaves off valuable time and keeps your patience when you have that ‘given-up’ attitude where you just grab every item from your inventory and interact with everything you see hoping to solve the puzzle aimlessly.
The story is where this title shines, and rightly so. Playing as Shay, immediately gives off the Day of the Tentacle vibes, and the narrative between the characters lives up to previous work of Schafar’s, providing a comical storyline with silly humour and clever wit. An abundance of pop culture references are always a good thing, especially when you hear Elijah Wood reply: “Make it so” to a talking computer mainframe after sending your ship to another solar system.
Broken Age has taken three years to arrive on Xbox One, having previously being released starting in 2014 as a two-act story, which seems like a long time considering it has already been on other platforms for quite some time. Having said that, it’s better late than never to enjoy a title such as this one.
Broken Age is available to download from the Xbox Store, priced at £15.99.
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Broken Age is a welcoming addition to the point and click genre, featuring voices from big celeb names. A coming-of-age story set worlds apart with witty narrative and memorable characters.