Game Talk: Broken Age
 CW: Misogyny

Broken Age is a point-and-click adventure game and one of Kickstarter’s greatest gaming hits. In Broken Age you get to play as two different characters with very different, yet intertwined, narratives. Though you have to choose either Vella or Shay as your starting character, you can switch freely between their narratives. If you’re momentarily stuck in one narrative, you’ll be able to switch to the other. There are other points in the game where you’ll have to rely on switching between characters to solve puzzles too. (Sadly, it’s not implemented as well as it could have been.)

That said, the puzzles in the second half of the game… require King’s Quest 5 jumps of logic. Okay, fine, they’re not as bad as the “Make sure you get this random seeming item for no reason other than that you can and hold onto it for the rest of the game because if you do anything with it you end up in an unwinnable scenario with no kind of hint or warning whatsoever.” But they’re definitely “Hey, you know what we taught you about how this game works? Yeah, forget that. You need to do things entirely differently now.” Old school adventure game logic would’ve worked fine, if the first act had relied on it too.

Narratively, too, Act 2 tries to tie everything together and address some of the more misogynistic elements (Vella’s narrative starts off with a bunch of girls getting sacrificed to a sea monster because Reasons) and the ending is hardly satisfying given the narrative we were giving. It barely uses its worldbuilding or the character’s discoveries.

That said, the game itself is visually absolutely gorgeous. It just… doesn’t have the kind of coherence I would have wanted to see in a narrative and some of the puzzles in the second act just… don’t work well in the narrative. (Say what you want about games like Monkey Island but their puzzles were internally consistent with the game world.) I had fun playing, but ultimately the game was disappointing. 


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