Proving that good things come to those who wait, after one year and six months Broken Age has returned with the second half of its story. Picking up exactly where it left off with the first act’s aggravating cliffhanger, the tale sees the roles of Vella and Shay reversed. Each is utterly perplexed by the world about them, lacking the few answers gleaned by their opposite and as before both parts need to be played out to have the full story …
The game really is point-and-click adventuring through and through, from the gradual methodical pacing to the occasionally utterly insane puzzles. If you’re not a fan, this one is hardly going to win you over, yet for those already in love with the genre this is one of the best examples of strengths to date. Divided once again between riddle solving logical quizzes and the more practical item focused or timing puzzles, the characters here now switch roles with Vella stuck trying to keep a badly damaged vessel running. The boundless creativity behind these puzzles is ever present and just as soon as you think you’ve nailed the logic of one task, the game will throw a curve ball at you. This allows it to retain boundless energy and keep you totally engaged until the end. Even the timing puzzles, so often the bane of almost any game, prove to be surprisingly enjoyable here.
Equally, the story itself remains strong from the outset thanks to the introduction of new characters and some surprise revelations when it comes to the identity of certain others. Between this and several new locations which completely alter the word in which the game is set, despite the long wait it’s easy to get back into Act 2’s ongoing saga.
If there is one weakness to be cited in Broken Age, it’s that for all its strengths it can seem to be looping itself. A few mechanics and puzzles are lifted from the first part and despite some interesting narrative twists, this leads to a surprisingly slow start. In addition to this, the rapid pacing in which several key plot elements are quickly tied up is oddly rushed. Satisfying to resolve and gradually see the world unfolding to be sure, but it almost seems that Double Fine was just trying to finish this as fast as possible before moving on to other ideas.
At the end of the day, Broken Age is everything it was promised to be: A revisiting of the glory days of LucasArts, Grim Fandango and Monkey Island. If you were unlucky enough to miss that golden age of point and clicks, this is truly a must buy release.
BROKEN AGE – ACT 2 / DEVELOPER: DOUBLE FINE / PUBLISHER: DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION / PLATFORM: ANDROID, iOD, LINUX, OS X, PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW