Version Reviewed: 1.2.2
App Reviewed on: iPad 2
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In this new age of game design, projects have found countless ways in which to spring to life. In the case of Broken Age, Double Fine’s first uber-successful Kickstarter venture, the masses spoke with their wallets loud and clear, showing an undying support for the long-languishing adventure game genre. So, does the first half of this quest live up to the title’s impressive budget and hype, or will the unfinished storyline leave players craving more?
One fantastic aspect of adventure titles are their emphasis on building a cohesive and compelling narrative. Broken Age tells the seemingly disparate story lines of Shay and Vella. In a neat move, typical of Double Fine’s outside the box thinking, the plot can be consumed any number of ways, allowing the player to switch back and forth between characters at will. Though both Shay and Vella exist in two seemingly different worlds, as one might expect, their stories eventually converge. Ultimately this ends up fleshing out a much larger universe than would be achievable through a single throughline.
Without getting too deep into the plot and ruining the many surprises in store for the player, it is safe to say that playing through the two mini story lines one-by-one is probably not the way to go. Though the nods are subtle at first, as things progress the worlds begin to bleed into one another. The problem is, if the player isn’t consuming the stories in relative unison, it is very possible for this crossover to be missed entirely until the big reveal at the end of this half of Broken Age’s campaign.
As alluded to earlier, the title’s relatively massive budget has afforded the development team the ability to provide a level production values that are unprecedented in the history of the genre. The sharp and well-crafted dialog, as well as the solid voice acting from some of the biggest names in Hollywood, more than meets expectations. Additionally, the amazing art style and effective use of background music to set a tone for scenes help elevate the experience to an even higher level. Simply put, the extra money was put to fantastic use.
The problem with only telling half of a story is the potential gap in-between when the media can consumed. It is hard to shake the feeling that a game centering around two complexly intertwining stories may be best experienced all at once, as opposed to the current model that only delivers half of the game now, and a conclusion at a later undetermined date. This is further compounded by the title’s girthy price tag. Make no mistake, the premium cost is more than justified. It‘s just hard to encourage that kind of spending when you are only getting half of the game. Those willing to take the plunge most certainly not will not regret their decision, but thrifty shoppers may be better off waiting until a full version releases.