The Broken Age



Genre:   Adventure, point & click, puzzle               

Developer:     Double Fine Productions        

Publisher:   Nordic Games             

Released:    July 2015

Additional screenshots         Walkthrough   





By Oldmariner


The Broken Age


Works on: Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10), Mac OS X (10.7.0+) and Linux (Ubuntu 14.04, Mint 17)


Audio and text: Deutsch, English. Text only: español, français, italiano

Size: 2.1 GB


Minimum system requirements - Windows: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10, Processor 1.8 GHz (Dual Core), 2 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, ATI Radeon 4870 HD, Intel HD 3000, or equivalent card with at least 512 MB VRAM, 2 GB HDD, DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card, mouse, keyboard.

Minimum system requirements - Mac: OS X 10.7 or later, Processor: Intel 2 GHz (Dual Core), ATI Radeon HD 4850, NVIDIA GeForce GT 120, Intel HD 3000, or equivalent card with at least 512 MB VRAM, Memory: 2 GB RAM Hard Drive: 2 GB HD space. Recommended two-button mouse, or Apple mouse with Secondary Button / Secondary Click enabled.

Minimum system requirements - Linux: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Mint 17, Processor: 1.7 GHz Dual Core, Memory: 2 GB RAM, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, ATI Radeon 4870 HD, Intel HD 4000, or equivalent card with at least 512 MB VRAM, Hard Drive: 1500 MB available space, Additional Notes: Must have OpenGL 3 with GLSL version 1.3.

Requires the following packages to be installed: libc6:i386 libasound2:i386 libasound2-data:i386 libasound2-plugins:i386 and dependencies.


   I have to admit I procrastinated for several weeks before settling in for my promised examination of this game. The holidays were arriving and I balked at the list price of what appeared to me to be a silly looking game. I have no issue with cartoon graphics, but in my mind Broken Age begged for a discounted price. The reported story line did not stimulate any interest on my part. Tied to the holidays were a series of birthdays, so I continued to make excuses. Finally I dove into the parallel worlds of Vella and Shay and to my surprise I discovered a strange but compelling story.

   The game was released in two acts: the first was issued on January 28, 2014 and the second was provided on April 28, 2015. With an incomplete ending to Act 1, gamers had a considerable wait to complete their game more than a year later with advent of Act 2. But now you get the full game upon purchase. To my knowledge it is available as a download only on GOG, Humble Bundle and Steam.



   This is a third person point and click adventure game with cartoon style graphics. You locate the main menu by pressing the ESC key during gameplay. It will also show the in-game menu at top of the page. The default game keys are left mouse button for interact, ESC key for pause, right mouse button for inventory and space bar for skip cut scene.

    The main menu is where you will find continue, new game, load game, and options selections. Options include volume controls for voice, music, and background effects. You can turn subtitles on or off, choose full screen, letterbox and so on. The spacebar allows you to skip the cut scenes. Your inventory is found at the bottom of the screen, signified by an arrow.

    You can alternate characters by opening the inventory and clicking on the character icon. There are seven save slots in addition to one auto save slot. Saves can be overwritten in the likely advent of seven saves not being enough.

    I played the GOG DRM-free version and it ran flawlessly on my Windows 7 machine. A glance of the above specs suggest a minimum Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260. I have a GT240. Where that is in the pecking order versus the GTX260 I have no idea. Still the card presented no issues. I almost forgot to mention where saves are located. For Windows 7 the saves are found at C:\Users\User name\Documents \BrokenAge\saves folder.


The Story

    There will be no spoilers here, but for me a review must include what the game is about. As I said in the beginning, this appeared to me as nothing more than a silly cartoon. Often first impressions can be misleading, and I found Broken Age no exception to that rule. I confess it took me quite awhile to decide what was going on with the Shay half of this adventure. I was baffled over what this character is about. At some point I determined this to be a coming of age story about two teenagers. You play two characters in nearly equal parts of each act. Vella, a teen girl lives in a world where your future is predetermined. She wakes one morning to learn her short life will soon be at its end. She won the lottery so to speak. Vella was selected to be a sacrifice for a powerful monster along with three other teen girls. It is an honor to be eaten by the powerful Mog Chothra. Everyone in her family is thrilled by her selection. That is, except Vella, who is less than delighted to have been chosen. As expected, our girl balks at this honor and begins a quest to destroy the monster, hopefully to restore sanity to her world.

    I mentioned confusion in my previous paragraph. It took quite awhile to figure out Shay. He is a teenage boy trapped in a spaceship. Everything is preprogrammed and controlled to a point where the kid is bored with his uneventful life. It goes without saying Vella and Shays lives collide at the end of Act 1. Both are rebelling against the status quo and are searching for meaning in their lives. Their reactions take parallel paths. While Vella rebels against her familys wishes by seeking to destroy the monster, Shay uses his computer skills to thwart a controlling spaceship.

    In Act 1 I was able to play through Vella’s story to its conclusion or should I say interruption? Then I continued by doing the same with Shay. In Act 2 their tasks tend to commingle, and when you get frustrated with one, switch characters. You will discover some tasks are dependent on an action taken by the other.

It is a point-and-click adventure game in the truest form. There are no quick reaction dexterity requirements. There are no timed puzzles, no mazes, and no torn sheets of paper to reassemble. You are faced with logic puzzles, and of course use of inventory items. You accomplish objectives by talking with others and collecting things, doing tasks to help other people in order to have them do something for you. Ill do you a favor if you––, fill in the blank.

   Broken Age is game director Tim Schafer's first return to the genre since 1998's Grim Fandango. With that said, this example of a puzzle should come as no surprise. Consider one of my favorite puzzles offered in Act 1. Vella must extract sap to accomplish a task. I said no spoilers and I offer this vague outline as an example of the games flavor. Her need finds Vella trying to extract sap from a talking tree. The girl approaches a tree in the forest with tap in hand. The tree objects, calling Vella a tree-killing psychopath. Vella responds by showing the tree a hand carved wooden stool. She relates how the wood was cut up and fashioned into furniture. The terrified tree promptly retches, expelling a measure of sap. Yes many of the puzzles are real head scratchers.



   Broken Age provides attractive cartoon backgrounds with excellent voice acting to host a oddly blended story. It is a story merging a space opera with a fairy tale. Some of the puzzles are mind benders and more than one character presents (to be kind) as lacking a full deck. It is a delightful fun game offering wry humor and whacky puzzles. Coupled with the mechanics working flawlessly, presenting no issues, I found it an enjoyable game. Upon my first glance Id never have expected this resulting score.


Grade B


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