Broken Age is a classic gameplay point-and-click adventure game. You follow the stories of two characters, Vella and Shay, solving puzzles and learning about their worlds. Vella is being sacrificed to a monster called Chog Mothra and Shay is bored out of his mind, floating endlessly in space.
Jumping between stories
Broken Age is unique in that you can jump between playing Vella or Shay whenever you want. Stuck on a puzzle? Switch to the other character can come back to the puzzle later. This mechanic keeps the game moving but there are events that require both characters to "catch up" to each other in the story to progress.
While the ability to jump between the characters is a nice feature, the rest of the game is classic point-and-click action. If you grew up playing point-and-click games, this will feel very familiar to you. If you're unfamiliar with the genre, you may bore of the slow pace of the game.
Broken Age is a slow game (not just talking about the wait between Acts 1 and 2). You'll want to take your time with Broken Age, enjoying the world and speaking with all the characters. Double Fine did a great job creating a world that feels alive with funny and unique characters.
Over the course of the game, you learn more and more about the customs of each town and the people in it. I loved the voice acting, which helped bring characters to life. The art is also spectacular. I think it's worth playing the game just to see the beautiful art.
Back and forth
However, Broken Age suffers from a few serious problems. The biggest issue I had with the game were some of its puzzles. Some puzzles seemed like busy work while others were so difficult, I had to Google a walkthrough to get past a certain point. I think Broken Age could have benefited from a hint system. I even took out a piece of paper and a pen to solve some of the puzzles.
I like a good challenge but some puzzles were just unintuitive. You'll also find yourself backtracking a lot, especially if you missed a crucial part of a puzzle. This was a particularly bad problem in Shay's storyline as you're constantly going back and forth between the halls of his spaceship. I found myself clicking like mad to speed up the transitions between rooms to get where I needed to go.
Beautiful but frustrating
Broken Age is a beautifully animated and features a clever story. It's only held back by its unrelenting difficulty and slow pace. For some, this isn't a big deal but for those new to the genre, the game can be incredibly frustrating.
Still, Broken Age is worth a look even with its flaws. It's utterly charming and its story is great. It's a little slow but this is a game you should take your time with. Part of Broken Age's charm is its difficulty, making you feel accomplished when you finally solve that particularly hard puzzle.
Oh, and be sure to stick around for the credits! You'll be treated to an epilogue of sorts and your name will appear if you were one of the 87,000 Kickstarter backers.