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,
Size: 2.1 GB
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 Shay’s
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 family’s
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.
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 game’s
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
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 I’d
never have expected this resulting score.
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