Browsing though the App Store the other day, I came across an app game that was recommended by the editors, and something about the art style of the little icon caught my attention.
The app game was Broken Age, a point and click adventure game made by Tim Schafer and his production company Double Fine. It was his first graphic adventure since he made Grim Fandango in 1998. You might know that game? I haven’t played it yet, but you can be sure I will check it out knowing after Broken Age.
The game is about two teenagers; Vella, who is to be sacrificed to protect her home village Sugar Bunting from a giant monster, and Shay, who appears to be the only passenger on a spacecraft monitored by an overly motherly computer. Two adventures, and both totally different lives. Vella is living in the Badlands, a land that is terrorized by Mogs, giant creatures that are appeased by the sacrifice of young girls at the “Maiden’s Feasts”. Although she is told she should be honored to be chosen, Vella decides to escape so that she can kill the Mogs, ending this terrible tradition.
Meanwhile Shay seems to be the only passenger on the spaceship Bossa Nostra, an “incubator vessel”. The ship’s computer’s daytime artificial intelligence (AI) acts as a mother to Shay, and AI tries to keep the boy occupied with infantile missions. The nighttime computer tells Shay that he is part of ‘project Dandelion’, an effort by Shays destroyed home planet to leave a survivor.
It’s on one of these missions that he finds another being on the ship, Marek, a bit of a shady creature wearing a wolf costume. He tempts Shay to do some real missions for him, claiming that they are at war, and that there a victims to be saved. They manage to do this without the computer knowing it, until of course, everything unravels.
What’s interesting, and something that you see happen more and more, is that this project was made possible by a crowd funding campaign. Not wanting to rely on traditional publishers they asked their community to help create a classic style adventure game.
The first goal was to raise $400.000, but within 24 hours that goal was surpassed. In the end, they raised $ 3,3 million! With this larger budget, they were able to bring the game to more platforms, add several other spoken languages aside from English, and have famous actors do the voice acting.
The voice is Shay is spoken by Elijah Wood, the voice of Vella by Masasa Moyo. And the list of famous names has Wil Wheaton on it, doing the voice of Curtis the Lumberjack. I’ve played a fair bit of the game, and I really am enchanted by it.
The story is told with a nice dose of humor, no bloodshed or horrific scenes. The part where Vella finds herself in Meriloft, a sort of cloud city, with the caretakers of the nests of giant birds, was really fun and full of humor.
The puzzles aren’t too difficult, you can interact with everyone, giving you a handful of questions to ask or phrases to say. Of course, clicking on everything that seems out of the ordinary is adviced. The game is available on several platforms: you can get it for the PC, in the App Store and on Android, and on the Playstation 4 as well as on the Vita. I decided to go for the iOS version as it was cheapest there (€9,95), and I’m glad I did: the big screens make it well worth playing, the colorful and vibrant colors in 2D are a feast for your eyes