And if you get hung up on a few vague puzzles, the outstanding (and god damn funny) writing will keep you clicking along. I searched every part of a stage for puzzle-solving items--but I preferred conversing with the numerous characters just to be certain I'd heard every single scrap of dialogue possible. Humor is something games rarely get right, but Double Fine makes it look effortless.
Every character, from the leads on down to the least important members of the supporting cast, is worth talking to, and their homes feel lived in. If only those curious settings weren’t so cramped. Most locations are only a few screens wide, and Broken Age requires you to backtrack and scour every corner for clues, so you’re ultimately very aware of how few places you have to explore. There’s variety and substance to every level, I just wish they weren’t so limited in size and number.
Broken Age’s closed-in world doesn’t cover a lot of real estate, but the art and music design do a great job of filling it out. The the colorful brushstrokes and storybook look bestows the game with an ageless feel that’s versatile enough to work in both sci-fi and fantasy settings. The same goes for the relaxed orchestral score, bringing additional weight to the proceedings. Even when the puzzles falter, the world that surrounds them always kept me engaged.
As the first act of a larger adventure, Broken Age is a great four hours that go by fast and end on a satisfying cliffhanger. Broken Age ends up being a love letter to the past that still has something for players outside its intended audience. The gameplay and puzzles aren’t good enough to prove that point ’n click deserves to be a major genre again, but it does show that Tim Schafer can still make an adventure that’ll appeal to gamers that weren’t old enough to read when his first games came out.