Broken Age Act II

Broken Age is a special game”, said a wise man (me, actually) about “Act 1” of the game. “Act 2”? Also special, though a wee bit more in a short-bus kind of way.

Don’t get me wrong: “Act 2” is fantastic in so many, nay, most ways, and is only really let down by some truly odd puzzles. Remember how baffling the switch from action to RTS was in Brütal Legend? Equally baffling here is the change from simple but fun puzzles to banging your head against a Hexipal’s wiring. I mean, come on… I know there are hints, but good god does the flow of the game take a hit from obstacles that really do nothing for the game.

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At the time of writing we only have three screenshots. Whoops!

Part of the frustration here is that the rest of the game, and this act, is so very good. I have seen complaints, many for whatever reason are aimed at Broken Age not being a comedy game. The reason for that is simple: It is not a comedy game. It is an adventure, not just in the game-genre sense, but also as a story-genre. It is an adventure that consistently is funny, without throwing out laughs at every corner. It is a coming of age story told in a strange world that is as colorful as it is desaturated. A living storybook in many ways.

And again: This is a funny game, one which goes somewhat meta by poking fun at the expectations for “Act 2”, and at adventure games in general. The characters are all interesting, and the interactions you can have with them are nigh limitless. I mean, seriously, you can use the vast majority of inventory with the inhabitants of the world and get proper responses. The “I can’t use that with him” of the early 90's is clearly long gone.

I love the universe created here, and while this might be a game created by an older, wiser Tim Schafer, one with a sensibility now clearly colored by his daughter, you can easily trace a direct line between this and his earlier games. In classic Tim style, you have one of those rare games where you wonder what lies right outside the end of the screen. More so than straight comedy, creating worlds and characters is what Tim does best, and I don’t care what the naysayers say—this universe is fantastic.

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We’ll get more soon. GOD!

Many have noted the ending here is brief, but for me, that does not meant it’s short. It is one that stuck with me, one that leaves openings for many interpretations. Exactly what it all “means” is up to the individual to decide, and I don’t see the problem with that. Brief doesn’t mean much more than just that—it’s the length it is for a reason, not because it is rushed or whatever.

I mean, really. What a great act and what a great game. Everything here is memorable, even the ¬¬ puzzles. Going through the universe, interacting with it and its characters… It’s fun and thought provoking. The end credits end with a dedication to Tim’s parents, which seems apt. Go hug your mom and dad today. Tim would want you to.

A review by the Remster who blames Mojo’s downtime for the lateness of this review.