Broken Age is a notable success story in gaming history.
The project helped to catapult crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to its now mainstream success in February 2012 as it smashed through the $1-million mark within 24 hours, and went on the raise over $3-million.
Originally known as “Double Fine Adventure” the game project is lead by industry legend Tim Schafer, and it also marked his return to development on a point-and-click adventure game since 1998’s cult classic grim Fandango.
Broken Age’s Kickstarter success is credited with proving the viability of crowd-funding for game projects, and inspired a wave of veteran developers to revive their classic works in new guises – projects which mainstream publishers were not interested in touching.
The additional funds raised beyond the Kickstarter goal were used to improve production values, musical score, and voice acting.
Broken Age tells the story of Vella Tartine and Shay Volta, two teenagers in strangely similar situations but radically different worlds. The player can freely switch between their stories, helping them take control of their own lives and facing the unexpected adventures that follow.
It’s been a two year journey for double fine to reach this point – the game has now been split into two parts. Tim Schafer realised that at the current rate of development they wouldn’t be able to deliver the full game until 2015. Double Fine is planning to use proceeds from the sale of first to complete development of part two. Backers of the game will receive part 2, the full product when it is completed, as promised.
Broken Age: Act 1 launched on 28 January 2014, distributed digitally for Linux, OS X, and Windows, with Ouya, Android, and iOS version coming later.
Backers of the project (including a number of review websites) have had access since 14 January. So what have the critics said?
Over on Metacritic the PC version has secured an average of 81/100 based on 42 critics, while on GameRankings is has 81.57% based on 28 reviews.
Below is a selection of review opinion from reputable websites for Broken Age: Act 1.
I haven’t felt this surge of nostalgia and excitement about a game in a long time, and I truly think Broken Age will be looked back fondly as one of the greats. That being said, the first Act is only a few short hours and ended on a nail-biting cliffhanger with no word on how long we’ll be waiting for the rest of the game. In some ways I feel cheated, but in the end it’s the heart of the game that matters – and that certainly isn’t broken.
As that premium-grade nostalgia trip though, it does a fine job. Like a reunion concert of a band you once loved, or a candy shop selling a particular brand of candy that brings to mind childhood summers of sun and sea and all that other cliched crap, Broken Age is a well deserved chance to remember the old days and realize that they’re still closer than they might sometimes feel—even if the second part is a little further away than intended.
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. I’m eager to see what Act II has in store for us all.
Apart from the ending of course, which I’m thinking about a lot. Broken Age: Act 1 is a wonderful piece of work, well worth the time and money put into it, an excellent piece of videogame fiction, but it just needs some work being an actual videogame. Let’s hope Act 2 maintains the quality but ups the difficulty.
Broken Age: Act 1 is all about the slow build. Slow isn’t boring, however, and a wonderful job is done of carefully constructing the pace while keeping the audience amused. It’s a strong start that concludes in a way that makes me desperate for more. It might not be the explosive debut that years of waiting and buckets of cash could lead one to expect, but it’s a beautiful little adventure game, and I think there are few among us who it won’t appeal to. Make a point of checking it out!