‘Broken Age: Act 1’ Review Roundup: Old School, New Style

By | 3 years ago 

The developers at Double Fine proved that the demand for a classic adventure game was still high, bringing in over $3 million through Kickstarter to launch development on the product now known as Broken Age. Following two young characters – Shay and Vella – as they seek to gain their own independence in drastically different situations, the game’s first half has now been released to Kickstarter backers.

The public won’t be able to enjoy the game for themselves until January 28, when (despite some alternative funding methods being considered) Broken Age: Act 1 goes on sale through Steam for $29.99. The boost in funds will be used to complete Act 2, which will come at no extra charge for those who took the plunge for the first half. Just how man consumers choose to take that leap remains to be seen, but the early reviews are in.

Calling on an an accomplished voice cast, a truly stunning and inspired art style, and no shortage of nostalgia for the golden age of point-and-click adventure games, it seems no critic can take issue with the appearance and presentation. But exactly how much players will get out of the gameplay is somewhat divisive, as reviewers seem somewhat divided on the need for difficulty or evolution of the genre.

Polygon (Justin McElroy):

“The new Double Fine adventure surpasses its predecessors in its lush presentation, which creates the illusion of a world I’d be happy to move to, or at least vacation in… Broken Age may be unfinished, but it’s also delightful, beautiful, utterly charming and you really should play it right this second.”

Score: 9/10

Eurogamer (Dan Whitehead):

“Pleasant but undemanding, gorgeous but lacking in depth – fans will be forgiven for expecting something a little more chewy, a little more experimental, from a developer who made his name by turning adventure games upside down. Here’s hoping Act 2 builds some gameplay muscle to go with the supermodel looks.”

Score: 7/10

Broken Age Screenshot - Bedroom Wake Up

IGN (Marty Sliva):

“Broken Age is a great reminder of why I fell in love with adventure games in the first place, and that the genre’s strengths lie in its fertile ground for storytelling and worldbuilding rather than mechanical tweaks.”

Score: 9.5/10


“Double Fine’s adventure is confident and charming, the studio feeling its way to a comfortable mid-point between the desires of adventure-game fans and its own motivation to move the genre forward — even if only by a small increment.”

Score: 8/10

Game Informer (Jeff Cork):

“Broken Age is the best venue I’ve seen for Double Fine’s twisted sensibilities in a long time. They’ve crafted two unique worlds, ­filling them both with just enough silliness to be fun without overwhelming the characters and their ultimately touching journeys.”

Score: 8.5/10

Broken Age Release Date Vella Trailer

Gamespot (Maxwell McGee):

“While this game has you juggling two entirely separate sets of puzzles–one for Vella and one for Shay–the puzzles themselves feel basic and their solutions are straightforward. The complexity of these puzzles does ramp up slowly as you progress further in the game, but it gets cut short when you reach Broken Age’s early conclusion.”

Score: 7/10

EGM (Josh Harmon):

“With talent like Elijah Wood, Jennifer Hale, Jack Black, and far too many more names to mention, every line lands the way it should. The jokes become funnier, the banter becomes wittier, and every scene becomes that much more enjoyable to watch.”

Score: 8.5/10

PC Gamer (Richard Cobbett):

“It’s happy to be traditional. Comfortable. It’s the kind of game that warrants words like “nice” and “lovely” in completely genuine, non-ironic ways. It’s about sinking happily into a bed of genre tropes made by a master of the craft, and being wrapped up snug and warm in gorgeous artwork, clever writing, and imaginative design that reminds you why you loved the genre in the first place.”

Score: 8.6/10

Broken Age Voice Cast Header

The Escapist (Jim Sterling):

“Over the course of its near-four hour running time, the plot builds up to a subtle, but beautifully designed, crescendo, with an ending that may very well be one of the finest episode hooks I’ve seen in a game.”

Score: 4/5

What do you make of the game’s critical reception? Have the reviews matched your expectations for Broken Age‘s first half? Share your thoughts in the comments. And if you’re still unsure, be sure to check out our impressions of the first hour of Broken Age: Act 1.

Broken Age: Act 1 will be available  January 28, 2014 for $29.99 on Steam.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.