Broken Age - First Impressions

Don't make Vella angry!

Considering it might take awhile before certain games receive a review (since I like to give the game every chance for a good score - I'm kind of forgiving in that way) I've decided that I will start posting "First Impressions" articles on a regular basis. This isn't the first time I've done so as evidenced here, here, here, here and here - but hopefully they'll start to become a more frequent occurrence. The added benefit of doing these things is that I can also keep tabs on what I like and don't like about the game early on so there's at least a record of it somewhere :).

Okay, so this particular "First Impressions" article is on Broken Age - or at least the first act of Broken Age. Unfortunately Double Fine somehow didn't get enough money from their Kickstarter project, even though they received more than $3 million, way above their asking price of $400,000. Anyway, this game is sort of special to me because it was the first game that introduced me to the world of Kickstarter and since then I've never turned back, having backed in excess of 20 projects (I know there are those out there who are even more tragic than me, but I think the amount of projects I've backed is bad enough).

What I like

  • Music: The music in the game is fantastic. It adds a sense of mystery and adventure which is perfect. Peter McConnell, a veteran composer who used to work at Lucasarts, does a great job of it with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (yes, you read right - an Australian orchestra performed the soundtrack. Aussie pride!). I'm not regretting having backed the tier that includes the soundtrack :).
  • Voice acting: Double Fine went all out with the voice acting hiring professional voice actors and even some famous screen actors such as Jack Black, Wil Wheaton and Elijah Wood to name a few.
  • Graphics: The art direction is great. While it might seem a bit basic to some I'm a real sucker for the painted look to games.
  • Story so far: The game happens to be a weird mix of fantasy, sci-fi and comedy - but as all stories by Tim Schafer, it surprisingly works.
  • User Interface: The UI isn't anything special but at least it's a proper point 'n' click interface, not this console port crap where you have to use the keyboard to move your character or hold a key down in order to achieve a result instead of a simple mouse click :).

What I don't like

  • Conversation skipping: Each conversation is treated as a cut-scene so there's no way to speed up the conversation, just listen to it entirely, or don't listen to it at all. I preferred how you could use the "full stop" method from earlier adventure games to skip lines of dialogue, not skipping the conversation in its entirety.
  • No reason for switching characters: It still remains to be seen if there is any real reason for giving you freedom to control two characters. In the old Lucasarts adventure Day of the Tentacle, for example, there was a purpose: you had to use characters in the past to influence events in the future - and also transport technology from the future into the past. So far, there doesn't seem to be any point to cycle between characters, but perhaps I just haven't played enough of Act 1 yet.


Broken Age seems to be a promising game. I'm looking forward to completing the first Act and to hopefully playing the second one too :).